Content owners must embrace opportunities offered by OTT and online TV services but also ensure that investment in quality content and creativity is safeguarded: this was the key message from ‘Breaking the Bundle: The end of TV as we know it?’
Arnd Benninghoff, deputy CEO of The Modern Times Group stressed the importance of continuing to serve the demographics no longer watching TV by providing niche channels services that fuel their interest.
“What we are recognising is that Millenials are leaving TV with only 14% watching shows in catch up mode. They are migrating to niche channels that fuel their interests such as ESports.”
He added that one ESports channel saw 1.7m users click in to watch the final of a gaming competition. “Esports enthusiasts will tune in (or log on) generally 19 times per month for more than two hours,” he added.
The stars of online channels, he added, have a different relationship with their audience. “If a gamer produces a song it makes the download charts. Fans consider them like friends and follow them.”
MTG has invested in a talent division to form direct relationships with these hugely influential
digital stars who, according to a Variety survey, are more popular among 15-25 year olds than mainstream celebs.
“As broadcasters we need access to digital influencers in order to reach the data of when is best to publish and on what platform. We need to connect these influencers with advertisers and create engaging content,” he added.
Production giant All3Media has similarly invested in YouTube talent through its Little Dot Studios — although Gary Woolf, EVP business and development, Digital Insight added that quality content produced by cable channels needed to be protected in the new OTT landscape.
“Several cable channels have reinvented themselves with top quality content: AMC with Breaking Bad and MadMen but also TNT with Legends and A&E TV with shows like StorageWars.
“Netflix is investing in content now but it was off the back of these hits shows that it made a name for itself. Could such creativity happen in an unbundled world? Does the unbundling of TV make it harder to take risks? We have to safeguard content investment and creativity.”