The way we access content is fundamentally changing. Shorter-form content continues to grow apace and, at the same time, viewing is fragmenting across myriad devices and screens. Helping drive this change has been the emergence of a new generation of distribution platforms that blend professional video, user generated content and social media.
YouTube and Facebook, which between them boast 19 billion daily views worldwide, offer huge online platforms to video content producers but television is also entering the market.
Sky’s new TV service Sky Q includes an online video section, bringing together content from many digital creators, including Barcroft Media, Red Bull Media House and GoPro. And youth brand Vice recently announced that its first European linear TV channel, Viceland, would launch in September.
MCNs are big business, with the leaders among them like Vice, Maker Studios, Red Bull and Fullscreen proving adept at reaching young people, often reaching hundreds of millions of viewers globally.
Having traditionally built their audiences for online stars like PewDiePie and Zoella principally through YouTube, MCNs are increasingly branching out to find new audience on other platforms, including Facebook, as well as more traditional outlets like theatrical-release films and TV channels.
Navi Lamba, Digital Commission Exec for E4, commented: “It’s been so brilliant harnessing all the creativity the lockdown has inspired in our indie partners.
“We’ve commissioned across a number of genres and a mixture of animation and live action, hearing the stories of real people across the country and those of well-known faces in comedy, music and TV and all are tailored to work best for our young audiences.”
Trust isn’t scientific, it’s instinctive, it comes from the gut, not from the brain,” Martin Lewis told the Cambridge audience, and he should know. The founder of MoneySavingExpert.com, consumer business warrior and the man who sued Facebook and won is also the most trusted man in Britain, according to Google.
Video-sharing platform TikTok was the word on everyone’s lips leaving the second session, “Exploring Gen Z”. Many had not heard of the Chinese-owned social media sensation, but were keen to find out more in order to reach the elusive next generation of viewers. Many market researchers describe Generation Z as those born after 1997.
Defined by session chair Rob Chapman as the generation “for whom 9/11 wasn’t a coming of age event”, Gen Z were instead shaped by the recession of the last decade.
There’s a long-standing TV industry conception that online original content is too low in quality, too niche and too difficult to make profitable. But that view is starting to look obsolete thanks to inventive digital-first companies such as Barcroft Studios, Little Dot Studios and others. Successful business models for premium online content are emerging as both profits and awards start to roll in.
At roughly the same time the Prime Minister faced three consecutive defeats over Brexit in the House of Commons, across the road in Portcullis House another important discussion was taking place – an RTS All-Party Parliamentary Group debate on “The future of TV journalism in an age of fake news and disinformation”.
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.