What do television broadcasters think… while we are watching Netflix? The battle between television broadcasters for audience records.
The success of the series Money Heist in Spain is just another example of a reality that is becoming increasingly tangible: a product created and issued by great audiovisual operators, which does not assume a real dimension until digital players take a chance on it. Of course, it is not the only case of this phenomenon as other legendary series, such as Game of Thrones, The Crown or The Wire, were issued in prime time without the attention and love that they reached later. Regarding the communication and marketing areas this situation has two readings: on the one side, it shows the high capability of digital content providers to make a legend from a television product that already existed and had not a notorious place in our lives. On the other side, it shows that big television broadcasters battle for the audience… while we are watching Netflix.
The result of a research from the Ofcom (Office of Communications of the UK) of 2017 shows that the UK’s Tv landscape is changing. Although television broadcasters keep the highest audience share, digital content providers are gaining ground. A 67 % of people say they watch programmes on demand to avoid adverts. The subscription to on-demand and streaming services is extremely high in the age group from 16 to 24 although it is also increasing in all other age groups. These changes have also led to a loss of income for television broadcasters.
'The subscription to on-demand and streaming services is extremely high in the age group from 16 to 24’.
Overlap between programmes
It is normal to see how the two main television broadcasters still battle for the audience as they are losing viewers in favour of the digital content providers in such a way that BCC and Channel 4 are even overlapping their television programmes to gain audience. For example, the case of Channel 4 that scheduled the return of The Great British Bake Off in the same time slot as The Big Family Cooking Showdown of the BBC.
In the case of Spain, we are also seeing counterprogramming between Telecinco and Antena 3, where they change or overlap time slots, or postpone programmes, as in the case of the Spanish series Cathedral of the Sea which was overlapped by a reality show from Telecinco. Not even through this ‘unfair’ competition are these broadcasters gaining audience. It seems as nobody in their offices has understood that we are increasingly watching Netflix, HBO or Amazon, among other digital content providers, while they are occupied battling.
Recently I happened to meet my neighbour in the lift that told me that he was outraged by a failure in the television signal since more than 24 hours. The truth is that was ashamed to recognize that I did not even notice the problem. In that moment I started thinking when was the last time that I saw television in the traditional way and I realized that it was a long time ago. I normally read the news in the digital press instead of in the television news, the sport events in streaming in digital operators, fiction in Netflix or HBO… no hint of traditional television at home.
Intelligent audience, intelligent advertising
The truth is that this makes difficult for the different brands to connect with users. Different brands have supported the production of audiovisual products without knowing the success that this product would reach later. These are in any case strange since these platforms are financially based in the payments from the users to watch the content provided to ensure fluency and good experience for the user. In all this there is no place for advertisement.
It is probable that we are witnessing the outbreak of this model of television and these changes can lead us to consolidate some businesses at the expense of others in the future (it is difficult to imagine a future where HBO, Amazon, Netflix, Sky and Disney production are profitable) as well as to advertising models approaching the purchasing of television programs. But what is really evident is that a model based on counter-programming, the 6 minutes of advertisements to see just the final minute of a programme and the taxes to digital actors is not going to work fundamentally because the audience turn their back on this model. If they have still hope that our generation that was born consuming on-demand content, it is even clearer that the model is not going to work. The future that comes cannot be counter-programmed.