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RTS London reflect on this year's RTS Cambridge Convention

Reed Hastings and Kirsty Wark (Credit: RTS/Richard Kendal)

The late-September event was hosted by the University of Westminster, and chaired by media producer and consultant Aradhna Tayal. It featured Bloomberg media reporter Joe Mayes, London Centre Chair Phil Barnes and James Cordell, a London committee member and first-time attendee at the convention.

The panel noted that one of the key themes throughout was the rise of streaming and whether the already established subscription video on demand (SVoD) companies – with more set to enter the market – will dominate the UK broadcast industry.

RTS Cambridge Convention Review

The biennial RTS Cambridge Convention is where the big cheeses of the tv industry go to gnaw over the big issues facing it. This year the theme is 'Content, Consumers and Everything in Between', so there's plenty to digest!

If you were unable to get to King's College, Cambridge for 18th-20th September, here is your chance to get the lowdown. We've asked our expert panel to take their VIP Passes and come back with all the issues, the highlights, and the buzz!

BritBox: Traditional media's answer to US streaming giants

Queen Victoria (Jenna Coleman) in Victoria (Credit: ITV)

It seems only a few short years ago that the BBC and ITV were thought of as the titans of British media. But all of us in the UK’s traditional media solar system are getting smaller and smaller in the Apple, Amazon and Netflix universe.” Thus said Lord Hall, Director-General of the BBC, in March, as he unveiled the corporation’s plans for its new financial year.

“We need to find new ways to adapt to the changing needs of our audiences, and we need to be able to do it in real time to keep pace with our global competitors,” he continued.

Hulu ups the ante

The Looming Tower (Credit: Hulu)

Sometimes, a single show can change the way a broadcaster or a platform is perceived. For the US streaming service Hulu, The Handmaid’s Tale – based on Margaret Atwood’s dystopian novel – has been one such show.

The 10-part series was made for Hulu by MGM Television (Hulu does not have in-house production capabilities) and quickly became water-cooler viewing on both sides of the Atlantic. It went on to win multiple awards, including a Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Drama Series and a brace of Golden Globes.

Is targeted advertising the future of TV?

That was one of the main conclusions from an RTS early evening event, Is targeted advertising the future of TV?

A capacity crowd heard how the arrival of streaming services headed by Netflix and Amazon Prime plus the challenge from Facebook and Google are changing the dynamics of TV advertising. 

Catch-up TV and the traditional broadcasters' own on-demand offerings are also driving change.  

All this is posing problems for audience measurement, the bedrock of TV advertising for more than half a century.

Does BritBox have the capability to survive the TV market?

If BritBox, BBC Worldwide’s international subscription video-­on-demand (SVoD) service, is to stand any chance of converting US consumers, it will need a major marketing push. Despite a plan to launch by the end of March, the joint venture between the BBC, ITV and AMC Networks that promises to deliver “best of British” content, it appears that even key industry players are unaware of its existence.

Andy Murray charity match draws big Facebook Live audience

The match, which was also broadcast live on Sky Sports in the UK and Ireland, was produced in partnership with software company and live-streaming specialists Grabyo in order to reach out to Murray's global audience.

Matty Gentry, of the Wimbledon champion's management firm 77 Group, said: "We are interested in driving innovation around the event and Andy’s social media channels, and viewed this as a good platform to do that.”

BARB to collect digital streaming figures

Radges on BBC iPlayer

The number of people watching on-demand and live-streamed content through online TV Player apps is to be recorded for the first time.

The Broadcasters’ Audience Research Board (BARB), which already provides viewing figures for UK television audiences, will start producing a beta version of its TV Player Report in September.

The report is the first set of BARB data to focus on viewing that takes place on computer devices including laptops, tablets and smartphones.