Disruption, the Young and Licensing – Autumn MIP Findings

Traditional autumn MIP week in Cannes comprised of MIPCOM, TV content market and MIPjunior, childrens’ TV programming event. Here are select key findings from the events.

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Disruption

Television viewing is shifting from linear broadcast to online, but the industry starts taking the benefit of the new delivery channels as well. Boston Consulting Group (BCG) presented at MIPCOM launch session their study findings that in the US, half of the viewing will be non-linear in three years. As some content types such as news and sports are preferably viewed in real time, for other types of content the shift to non-linear will be even more significant. You can download the report here.

According to BCG’s Joachim Stephan, the growth of on-demand viewing increases demand for top-rated hit content (“everybody wants to see it”) and for low-volume long tail (“I will see what is of specific interest to me”). This means a decrease for a big part of TV content in the middle of hits and long tail.

Big studios are still confident. “The best content, delivered in the most efficient and personalised way, will win”, states Ben Sherwood, Disney. However, Marion Edwards, Fox, defenced the so-called old TV: “Old is normally such a derogatory word, but old media is still king of what people think of great tv”.

But the viewing patterns are clearly in a change. In China, three in four smartphone users had watched a movie on their phone in 2015, according to Sarah Baghery, Eurodata TV.

The Young

The youngest demographics are often titled as Generation Z. Some define Gen Z to be those born after mid-90s, others those born in 2000-2010. Kids born 2010 or later can also be called “Gen Alpha”. There are nearly two billion people born after mid-90s in the world.

Emma Worrollo of UK based agency The Pineapple Lounge presented five key themes that are relevant for the Z/Alpha generation content consumption:

  1. Gender is not that important factor than it has used to be. Kids can easily play games where they pick another gender.
  2. Attention span is, obviously, getting shorter. But creating content with good storytelling will make also the young to concentrate. Tech and 360 degree solutions are fine only if they support storytelling.
  3. Kids want families to spend time together. Kids want to consume content together with parents. Targeting content for a narrow age group does not support this.
  4. There is a “tween brand desert”: while in the books there is ample “young adult” offering, on the TV there is less content targeted to tweens, who are left between kids’ and adults’ content.
  5. Advertising is often regarded as dull. Kids learn how to skip advertising they do not like on YouTube and other platforms. Doing ad targeting badly creates for kids a bad image of advertising.

Zack Newmark and Joel Philip of Zoomin Studios talked about “3’ 12’ E” rule for serving Gen Z: you need to hook the user to the content emotionally in three seconds and during 12 seconds you need to provide a rational reason that hooks the user again. After that, that user will stay until eternity (“E”), say Newmark and Philip. Zoomin TV defines itself as a “MPN”, multi-platform network. This differs from already established term MCN (multi-channel network) in that that while MCNs deliver their content on YouTube, MPNs use a multitude of delivery channels in addition to YouTube.

Most innovative case for attracting Gen Z was from Viacom. They had equipped in a New York building a flat full of Turtles interior and listed it on AirBnB. Turtles fans started renting the flat through AirBnB and the marketing stunt generated a huge amount of social media buzz.

Licensing

Now that content marketing has become a buzzword in all industries, for the toy industry content is becoming an integral business element. In order for a toy brand to succeed, there needs to be a story behind it. Mattel tells that it is transforming from a toy-centric American company to a story-centric global company according to company’s Chief Content Officer Catherine Balsam-Schwaber. “Toys and content are more interconnected and beneficial to each other than ever before” she says. ”A child may say that ‘this is a nice toy but I haven’t seen the movie’”.

Spin Master’s Anna Hewitt presented their success story Paw Patrol that is going strongly both on TV and merchandise retail. According to Hewitt, a brand must meet five criteria in order to succeed in licensing:

  1. Creativity
  2. Integrity
  3. Individuality
  4. Commerciality
  5. Longevity

(Longevity means that you constantly need to produce new content to keep the brand fresh.)

Merchandise business is done through retail channel (3D printing is starting to challenge that, though). Retail is often more conservative industry than media: “as seen on TV” works much better for retail business buyers than “as seen on YouTube” even though especially the young lean strongly towards YouTube stars.

PS: VR

And yes, VR was a topic at MIPCOM too. For more VR insight please check out Jari Muikku’s report from New York Media Festival.

Timo Argillander

Timo toimii sijoitusyhtiö IPR.VC:n managing partnerina ja Digital Media Finlandissa neuvonantajana. Timolla on pitkä kokemus strategiatyöstä ja muutoshankkeiden läpivienneistä yrittäjän, ammattijohtajan, konsultin ja sijoittajan rooleissa. Timon erikoisalaa ovat muuttuvien liiketoimintaympäristöjen ansaintamallit ja teknologiamuutosten tulkinta.

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