The road has not been easy for broadcasters over the last thirty years. They have seen disruption change their industry almost beyond recognition. Their viewers have moved out of the living room, into bedrooms, onto trains and planes, and beyond. Non-traditional competitors like Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu have changed the game in more ways than one.
A lot has been said about the evolving media landscape and how broadcasters must look to transform their distribution models. This has become a necessity for broadcasters who want to keep pace with their mammoth, digital-first, non-traditional counterparts. However, this is only half the battle.
Content is still where the killer value lies. You can get as many people as you like to see your content, but if it doesn’t match their expectations they will find something better. Many television critics have claimed we are living through a golden age of programming, including blockbuster shows like Game of Thrones, True Detective, Breaking Bad, to name a few. There are a number of factors that have contributed to this golden age of content, which in part has grown from a better understanding of emerging viewing habits and needs.
For content to land with today’s diverse audiences, there is ultimately one commodity that broadcasters should value above all else – data.
Data analytics and the death of the traditional ‘pilot’
In years gone past, traditional television networks used ratings to decide which shows to renew and which shows to axe – an approximate figure at best. Meanwhile, new shows were given the green light based on tradition and the intuition of industry executives. The old method was an incredibly imprecise science.
What we have today is an industry re-born and fuelled by data analytics.
As of February 2017, Netflix had over 98.7 million users. The data Netflix harvests and utilises from those users plays a huge part in how it selects and commissions future content for its users. Netflix uses big data analytics to understand which shows land well with its global audience and how and when people access its service.
This huge bank of data translates into actionable insights, and has been key in deciding which content producers Netflix partners with. It has been a key part of some of its biggest success stories, including shows like Orange is the New Black, House of Cards and The Crown.
The outcome is a complete revolution in the way content is commissioned in today’s content-rich industry. Amazon Prime took this one step further in 2016, when it released four Amazon Original Series pilots and invited its users to view and vote for the pilot it most wanted to be commissioned for a full series.
This leads us to an exciting new age for television. But, while content can be the jewel in a broadcaster’s crown, how it is distributed is now a huge part of the value chain as well. In part two of this blog post, I’ll talk about how broadcasters are finding new ways to bring their killer content to global audiences.
Read my previous blog on 4K technology and new viewing experiences.