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International TV Trends: innovation at the heart of strategies and content to develop audiences

17/01/2017

While analysing new international TV trends, Frédéric Vaulpré, Vice-President of Eurodata TV Worldwide, stated, “In a truly globalised audiovisual industry, knowledge of new public usages is highly important for broadcasters. It is being addressed by 4-screen audience measurements and the tracking of innovative content that enhances the user experience, particularly on mobile”. Sahar Baghery, Head of Global Research and Content Strategy at Eurodata TV Worldwide observed, “The key is to create attractive content for an international audience, with two objectives: to develop a premium audience and identify areas for innovation in order to attract a younger audience. Recent international collaborations are a response to these challenges”.

Digital is shaping content and how it is viewed

For Estelle Chandèze, International Research Manager at Eurodata TV Worldwide, "the rise of digital is accompanied by the growth in watching videos on mobile devices, particularly amongst millennials." As a result, new platforms such as Studio +, launched in 2016 by Vivendi, and Blackpills, supported by Xavier Niel, offer mini 10-minute series for mobile viewing. Channels are also developing offers which specifically target young people, such as Funk, the digital platform designed by German channels ARD and ZDF aimed at 14-29 year-olds.

In order to respond to their competitors, television channels are deploying innovative strategies. This is what RAI is doing in Italy. It is offering a more qualitative offer thanks to a bold editorial line, developing international relations and digitising its services. 

Fiction and factual entertainment at the forefront of creations

Creation is key in order to stand out and in 2016, more than 8,350 new TV and SVOD programme concepts were launched in 50 countries. More than half of these new programmes are national creations. Series and factual programmes such as magazines and documentaries are the main source of innovations (40% each), while entertainment programmes have fallen a little by 3 points (20% of launches).

France has become the 3rd biggest exporter of programmes in terms of the number of titles, behind the United States and the United Kingdom. Meanwhile Germany has taken 4th place, entering into one of the top positions. Other countries have also increased their exports in comparison to 2015, including the United Arab Emirates, Ukraine and Brazil.

Content which pushes the boundaries

In terms of content, the trend is to push the existing boundaries, whether this involves giving women or marginalized communities a voice, evoking more troubling themes, changing the landscape or blending genres and times.

 The question of "Empowering" people is central. Firstly, we have the theme of women taking power with the series Pitch, launched on Fox in September 2016, which looks at the first woman to enter into the world of professional baseball. Empowering communities: Kids on the Edge,  broadcast on Channel 4 in the UK, conveys the difficulties of children experiencing a gender identity crisis.

 The dividing line continues to blur between fiction, reality and entertainment. Six Wives with Lucy Worsley is a dramatized historical reconstruction in which the narrator navigates between fiction and reality, comments separately to the camera or even blends into the background among the characters. Another approach mixing temporalities is the Fremantle format, This Time Next Year, broadcast on ITV in the United Kingdom. The show follows people who set themselves challenges to be completed in a year, giving an impression of moving instantly between the past and the future. As a result the audience share among 16-34 year-olds has increased by 12%.

 TV is also pushing its own limits, with programmes that penetrate into people's private lives, playing with voyeurism and troubling themes. Come to Bed is an exclusive format from Small World which is currently being developed in the United States. It follows a fixed camera filming people in bed, at the moment they go to sleep, before switching off the lights.

Finally, fiction is changing and is taking us to hot countries where nature and landscapes feature heavily in the narration. The upcoming Swedish thriller Farang takes us to Thailand. On the other hand, some factual entertainment formats are looking at "finding yourself" and meeting others in faraway countries. Better Late than Never is the American adaptation of the Korean success "Grandpas Over Flowers" which follows four older celebrities on a backpacking adventure through South-East Asia. The format attracted 28% of additional audience share in comparison to average viewing figures for the total individual target. An Italian adaptation has just been announced - the first European version for this format.

This insight reflects the inventive nature of TV content, which is becoming ever more qualitative and surprising in order to conquer a highly demanding audience, mostly millennials, whose habits have evolved alongside digital.

 

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