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Autumn 2016 : TV content questions and analyses reality

04/10/2016

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Autumn 2016 : TV content questions and analyses reality
Alliances and the quest for powerful content are driving the industry
 
For Frédéric Vaulpré, Vice-President of Eurodata TV Worldwide, “With more screen options and the growth of digital, new players have emerged in content distribution. In order to exist and consolidate in the face of this plethora of choice, they have formed alliances, striking deals on distribution and content”. This particular phenomenon was seen earlier this year in the film world when beIN MEDIA GROUP acquired Miramax and when Comcast bought DreamWorks. Distributors are also on a quest for the exclusive rights to the best series, as illustrated by the deals between Sky UK and Showtime, and between AT&T and HBO. Lastly, media groups are investing even more heavily in sports, with rights attaining record amounts, for example, the rights to Chinese Super League football increasing 20-fold. A safe bet in terms of audience, there is now an ever broader choice of sport on offer: leagues are developing their own OTT platforms with Germany's Perform Group launching a multiscreen OTT sports service. Some competitions are even broadcast on Twitter and Facebook. Live sports rally the fans during big tournaments, as shown by the record audiences in several countries for the recent Euro 2016 championship.
 
TV viewing on different screens - a new growth area
 
New players are also promoting new ways to watch TV: de-linearised and on alternative screens. They are implementing strategies to maximise audiences by using all possible channels. From January-August 2016, the TV viewing time in 14 major countries was 3 hours 58 minutes. Time-shifted viewing, which is measured in 26 countries, accounted for approximately 7% of TV viewing, a stable share over the previous three years.

Live and time-shifted streaming as a means of viewing TV is a growth area.
In the Netherlands for example  in the first eight months of 2016, the average streaming audience was 9% higher than for the same period in 2015 despite streaming still only representing 1.5% of the overall TV audience.

Programme scheduling on all screens is becoming key
 
Broadcasters are now playing with windowing: in Germany, the comedy-drama Familie Braun (The Braun Family) was previewed on YouTube and then on ZDF's on-demand service, before being broadcast on the channel. This heightened awareness (2.5 million views on YouTube) without eroding the TV audience (ZDF's market share of 14-29 year old viewers increased 3.5-fold for episode one). The first episode of the strongly anticipated French series, Au-delà des Murs (Beyond the Walls) was available a fortnight prior to its 22/09/2016 launch on Arte, and this was upon completion of an escape game found on the channel's website. There was no shortage of viewers with a 67% boost in the youth audience (15-34 year olds) at when launched on ARTE.
 
Reality: Reflection or escape?
 

In terms of content, creativity is called for in the bid to capture a volatile and sought-after audience, in particular younger viewers and two ways exist: the screens being used and the content shown. New technologies are providing ways for immersion. The documentary series Art Stories, (in development at Terranoa) blends the traditional style of architecture programmes with virtual reality modules that allow you to take a 360-degree tour of historical sites such as the Château de Fontainebleau.
Unfiltered subjects and direction make us face reality. Adapted from a Dutch format and coming to ITV this autumn, the factual programme Bully Project features secret filming of the day-to-day lives of youngsters who are victims of bullying. Another way of depicting the real world is to explode stereotypes. Dit is Normaal, a YouTube channel created by a Dutch duo, had over 7 million views of their video entitled "The Holy Quran Experiment", running counter to the clichés in the tense aftermath of the Paris attacks.

At the same time, being confronted with reality that can induce anxiety, content is also experimenting with the frontiers of time and space – revisiting the past or present and imagining or predicting the future in order to escape the present.
In France, Dead Landes is a fantasy series produced by Endemol Shine and France 4's Nouvelles Ecritures, pondering an end-of-the-world apocalypse. It deliberately mimics live reporting filmed using a shoulder camera, which generates a fuller immersion into the events. Brazil's 3% is due to premiere on Netflix this autumn, is set in a future where society is divided into chaos and progress, and in which the most disadvantaged must undergo a selection process with just a 3% chance of improving their lot in life.
An escape from reality to hide away in our own bubble is the goal of entertainment shows and Feel Good TV, offers us some distance from the distressing reality. New formats rely on an already successful recipe, with some new ingredients added: South Korea's Babel 250 attempts to create a universal language understood by everyone in the world.

Sahar Baghery, Head of Global Research and Content Strategy at Eurodata TV Worldwide, resumed: “In the harsh world in which we live, programming is at each extremity of the spectrum either a hard reality or an “imaginary bubble” environment  in which where we can invent - and believe in -  a world that, if not better, is at least less frightening and up side down” .

Frederic Vaulpré concluded: "The crucial objective of TV industry is to enhance a unique user experience and the industry has three ways to do this : firstly by developing 4-screen audience measurement  - already operational in France - which will give us the real audience ratings and offer analytics. Secondly through qualitative and premium content with innovative story lines and thirdly through continued innovation in distribution ».

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