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The future of broadcast: Watch this space!

Modern Times Group’s Danish CEO Kim Poder has appealed to existing broadcast networks to keep a close eye on fast-changing patterns of video consumption and adapt to the new ways in which audiences want to consume video.

Speaking to a packed audience at the opening IBC Keynote session ‘Fans, Friends and the Future of Broadcasting’ yesterday (14 September) Poder said: “It’s important to remember there are a lot of competitors coming in, so don’t be a fat cat and sit on your hands – change your business models and adapt to new audiences.”

Poder advised broadcasters to pay particular attention to millennial viewers, who are watching more on mobile and social platforms and investing less time with traditional broadcast platforms.

Social networks such as Facebook are becoming much more video-oriented and represent a new opportunity, according to Poder.

Facebook product director Daniel Danker, also speaking at the opening Keynote address, reported that video is “exploding” on Facebook and now makes up 50 per cent of all the company’s mobile data traffic. “We expect it to grow to 75 per cent in the next five years,” he said.

Facebook launched original video platform Watch two weeks ago in the US, enabling users to find serialised video content on the platform, and has commissioned publishers to create content for the platform.

“Watch will allow publishers to create groups that connect them with their audience – enabling them to engage with their community between episodes – particularly through the comments section.”

Danker said that genres such as reality TV, live sports and comedy are going to be significant on Facebook.

He also listed some of the experimental new content that Facebook is trailing on the platform, including; Humans of New York, a weekly series based on a photo-blog by Brandon Stanton; Hala Madrid, a behind-the-scenes series about Spanish football team Real Madrid; Returning the Favor – a series based on ordinary Americans who do good work; and live sports such as Major League Baseball.

“Any producer can find a loyal audience on Watch,” said Danker.

Danker confirmed that Facebook will expand the Watch platform to international territories allowing more broadcasters “to discover communities of passionate fans”.

“It’s a new platform which allows broadcasters to make something bespoke for the Facebook audience.”MTG’s Poder said that his company was trialling over 500 hours of ESL sports content on Facebook.

“For us it’s a significant new way to reach audiences. If you leave out Facebook and YouTube, you need to have a good answer as to why you are doing that.”