sVOD

Key industry figures discuss what the future holds for linear TV in a world of streaming

Wayne Garvie, Reemah Sakaan and David Lynn (Credit: RTS/Richard Kendal)

Will the future of streaming be defined by SVoD (subscription video-­on-demand) or free, advertising-funded video-on-demand – or can they both prosper? Those were the big questions ad­dres­sed by BritBox launch director Reemah Sakaan and Viacom International Media Networks chief David Lynn.

Speaking on the day that the “best of British” SVoD announced a deal with Channel 5, Sakaan was asked by session chair Wayne Garvie how she was going to “persuade my mum and dad to spend £5.99 a month on BritBox”?

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings on competing with Disney and Apple

Reed Hastings (Credit: RTS/ Richard Kendal)

At this year’s Steve Hewlett Memorial Lecture, former BBC Director-General Mark Thompson recounted a conversation he had had with Netflix CEO Reed Hastings in 2007, during discussions concerning the launch of the iPlayer. According to Thompson, Hastings told him: “I don’t know why you’re bothering, Mark, you’ll never beat my algorithm. Why not just give us all your content instead?”

How traditional broadcasters can tackle the rising threat of streaming services

From left: Julian Bellamy, Howard Devine, Kirsty Wark, Jane Turton and Dan McGolpin (Credit: RTS/Richard Kendal)

The BBC has responded to the rise of subscription video-on-demand services by extending the iPlayer catch-up window from 30 days to one year.

BBC iPlayer chief Dan McGolpin defended the decision: “TV works in seasons… it means that things which are on a yearly cycle, such as The Apprentice, will be there.” He claimed that audiences, months after transmission, can now be “substantial” – some 40% of Killing Eve’s audience came to the thriller after the original catch-up window.

Guest post: Transforming TV by going back to the future

Call it a tale of two industries. For the vast global television sector, this is the best of times and the worst of times. This is a golden age of television.

Cinema-quality programmes such as Game of Thrones draw massive audiences. Events such as the 2018 FIFA World Cup, broadcast in real time to a global viewership of 1.1 billion, prove the medium’s unique power to bring together truly massive live audiences.

Book review: The Battle for Sky

Agatha Raisin (Ashley Jensen), DCI Bill Wong (Matt McCooey) and Charles Fraith (Jason Merrells) in Sky One's Agatha Raisin (Credit: Sky)

Is it just me, or does this account of the relentless march of Sky feel less like a window into the “future of entertainment” and more the TV equivalent of ancient history?

There are glorious deeds and all-conquering heroes. Step forward Jeremy Darroch, and the man who appointed him CEO of Sky, James Murdoch. Not forgetting the tragic fate of doomed and misguided rivals: hold your heads in shame, Setanta and a host of others.

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.

Rick and Morty heads to Channel 4

Rick and Morty (Credit: Adult Swim/Fox/Channel 4)

Kicking off in February, the deal has landed the public broadcaster an array of shows, including an exclusive premiere of the fourth season of the award-winning sci-fi cartoon Rick and Morty on Channel 4.

The premiere will mark the show’s first ever broadcast on free-to-air television in the UK.

Rick and Morty is one of the most anarchic, ingenious and original shows around and the breakthrough animated hit of recent years,” commented Ian Katz, Channel 4 Director of Programmes.

A global shift to home-grown

Netflix commissions from Germany, India and Spain

The old saying “Think global, act local” is the new mantra for the Net­flix-led, global tech platforms as they push for ever greater numbers of subscribers. In recent months, Net­flix, Apple and Amazon have all started to open offices, staffed largely by locally grown TV commissioners, in the UK and other non-US markets. Simultaneously, the tech platforms are ramping up local marketing efforts.

Amazon has also jumped into local sports markets, purchasing major live sports rights for the UK, including a Premier League football package and US Open tennis rights.

Is British TV under threat? BBC plans Netflix-style service

"The UK is sleepwalking towards a serious, long term weakening of its TV production industry," said Hall, in front of a DCMS committee in Westminster on Tuesday November 7th .

Hall proposed the idea of a new, paid-for on-demand service featuring BBC programming, following the closure of the BBC Store after only 18 months.

The appetite for video on demand (VOD) and other third-party platforms is growing in the UK and abroad, in what is a rapidly changing TV market.