”Digitalization is the new normal” was the message of Mipcom this year. The bi-annual television content market attracted almost 12.900 attendees to sunny Cannes this week.
The sentiment among buyers and distributors was that business is healthy and new revenue streams are discovered.
The new distribution platforms, business models and changes in how audiences consume TV content were the main topics of the seminars and key note speeches.
Is content more valuable than distribution, asked Google/YouTube Head of Global Content, Robert Kyncl, and went on to announce YouTube launching 60 new channels in UK, France and Germany. (Currently, the company has content partnerships in the US for 100 channels.)
Building new audiences in the digital ecosystem has been a good business for YouTube. YouTube provides optional, skippable video ads, and according to Kyncl, YouTube is making as much advertising revenue in the US per hour as the entire cable TV business does. Optional advertising means that viewers only watch ads they feel are relevant to them and advertisers pay only for the ads which are watched.
Today, the point of entry into the channel business is relatively low so the amount of content available is staggering. Therefore, the main challenge is marketing: how do people find your stuff?
Distributors launch own apps
Some content owners are testing direct delivery to the consumers via apps. British All3Media has had its app operational for some time but no figures of its success are availabe.
JarTV is another early stage trial where content distributor is testing direct program delivery on an Apple application. The app is sold to customers with basic and premium offerings and additional on screen advertising.
However, the bread and butter of the business remains in the traditional licensing activity for years to come, but more and more new online distribution trials are taking place.
Many content providers voiced concern about not knowing enough about the audience behaviour. Measuring online viewing patterns is a headache for the audience metrics companies. While instant feedback from the audience will allow iterating the contant faster, it still is unclear how to best use the existing data to come up with new business models. At the moment, it is ”try and see” and many content companies suffer from what Tom Thai, Vice President of marketing at Bluefin Labs, called ”digital guilt”. There is a sentiment that something needs to be done in the social media, but companies don’t know what it is they should be doing.
Recommendation key in reaching young audiences
The audiences are increasingly shifting from content-centric viewing to activity-centric behaviour. This means that users don’t passively watch TV, but they want to react to it on several different devices. They really don’t care how it is done technically, they simply want to be able to watch and share content on their own terms.
Recommendation of others is becoming more important for the young viewers. According to David Wertheimer, President of Fox Digital Broadcasting, 25 % of 18-34 year olds tune in to a show for the first time because they heard about it on social media.
He painted a future where there are no channels, but the TV set provides a personalized playlist of programs, added with social activity.
Mipcom is all about buying and selling television content. Here is a pick of the product and company news of Mipcom:
Traditional documentary networks are shifting interest in the scripted content. Arts and Entertainment Network launched Liz and Dick, 10 hour series on the life of Elizabeth Taylor, starring Lindsay Lohan. Another A&E series in dvelopment is Bible, produced by Mark Burnett, tha man behind Survivor and The Deal.
The shift into more entertaining factual content was earlier wittnessed when A&E owned History Network produced popular Ice Road Truckers and Pawn Stars.
Business Angels land in Finland
Finnish Intervisio picked up rights for Angel’s Gate. It is a multiplatform format where entrepreneurs pitch business ideas to a panel of investors. This format originated in Singapore with Channel NewsAsia and is set to go into production next year.
Angry Birds wars in space
Rovio anouced its newest line up of Angry Birds Star Wars. The characters are based on the George Lucas Star Wars franchise and the birds and pigs will take on the personalities of the Star Wars; Red Bird is transformed into Luke Skywalker and the pigs will be Darth Wader and stormtroopers. The new game will be launced on November 8th and it is expected to be one of the biggest game launches of the year.
According to Andrew Stalbow, Executive Vice President of strategic partneships, Rovio is investing heavily on the animated content and looks at animation as a separate revenue stream, not only a marketing tool.
ITV bought Tarinatalo
First day of the Mipcom saw an annoucement of British heavy weight ITV Studios acquairing Finnish production house Tarinatalo. The deal is signaling that Nordic production scene is vibrant and continues to interest international players. Earlier, ITV acquaired Norwegian indie Mediacircus and a Swedish production company known as Silverback. Tarinatalo’s executive producer Jukka Heinonen commented that the deal will give the company a stronger backing, but the business will continue as usual.
ITV Studios is behind such prime time series as Inspector Morse and Mr Selfridge.
Who let the dogs out?
And finally, dogs will get their own channel. DogTV is a pay channel for the canines. The logic of the service is that in the US five million dogs are left alone at home for five hours or more, with 60 % of the Americans leaving TV on for their pets. DogTV concludes there must be demand for a mix of stimulating and relaxing programming, with colours adjusted for the dogs’ eyes.
DogTV had a trial launch in July and since then there have been six thousand uploads of dogs wathing TV on Facebook and YouTube.
In this version of ”social media” humans watch on TV how dogs watch TV.