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Understanding new audience usage “critical” for broadcasters

Eurodata research also investigated individual viewing time, content acquisition and audience emotion

Comprehending the ways in which new audiences consume content is “critical” for broadcasters, according to Eurodata TV Worldwide.

Speaking at a conference in L.A on Friday morning, Eurodata vice president Frédéric Vaulpré said: “In a content industry that is constantly searching for ‘the magic formula’ to turn local productions into big international hits, understanding new audience usage is critical for broadcasters. Four-screen data gives a clearer viewer understanding and adopting multi-screen strategies are proving to be decisive for content success.”

As part of the conference, Eurodata presented its wide-ranging research into various broadcast trends throughout 2017, starting with content.

It said that the industry is on a permanent quest for content that can sustainably maintain broadest audiences possible and, to cope with that demand, TV professionals are increasingly looking overseas.

“In the race to do this, broadcasters are not cutting costs, as we have witnessed by the ever-growing creative programming budgets of the leading market players,” Eurodata said. “Similarly, imports are worth investigating as when local productions weren’t a success, they were instead acquired directly from abroad or adapted.”

Eurodata said around 9,000 new and recurring programmes aired in 2017 across the 48 countries tracked in its research, with 46 per cent of that total being foreign concepts. It pointed to game show The Wall as a prime example, with adaptations being launched in ten major countries within a year of the original US version’s debut.

“Whether you create a hit success or buy the rights to one, being its exclusive broadcaster in a country is key, as we see by the success that Game of Thrones and The Crown brought to their respective broadcasters,” Eurodata noted.

The research noted that individual viewing time (IVT) and new usages work in favour of content: “Adopted to a greater or lesser extent depending on the country, time-shifted/catch-up viewing continues to attract more viewers. In the UK and US, time-shifted/catch-up viewing on TV represented respectively 12 per cent and 14 per cent of IVT in 2017.”

Rather than simply creating traditional “good” content, it has now become about appealing to the viewer’s emotions, ranging from the harrowingly relatable Black Mirror to the nostalgia of Channel 4’s Lego Masters.

“Submerging ourselves in nostalgia unites viewers around happy memories. Lego Masters, which as its name suggests is a showcase for the famous toys created in 1932, is a competition format that won over Channel 4 viewers,” Eurodata said.

John Peek, director of Tape Consultancy concluded: “For audiences, the ever increasing volume of content on offer is creating its own form of complexity: choice! It is perhaps not surprising therefore that the patterns emerging in terms of success, tend to reflect content which resonates directly with viewers on an individual, emotional level: which could be powerful, topical stories, the comfort of a familiar idea with a hint of nostalgia, or a simple need to escape and be entertained.

“Yet as this emerging world of individual choice continues to expand, along with the opportunities to view wherever, and whenever you wish, one clear message resonating from 2017 is that the desire for shared, family and communal viewing experiences remains as strong ever.”