Our industry is in a period of constant change with digital certainly having an impact. Traditional TV channels are fighting to stay relevant and compete with the huge amount of original programming (with multiple episodes) being produced by the digital players. There is definitely an audience shift, with more on-demand viewing versus scheduled content and an evolutive migration from linear to multi-screen viewing. However, linear continues to remain resilient.

Young audiences are still attached to linear channels, but consume digital content too, often at the same time; meanwhile, 55+ consumers continue to remain loyal to linear TV. In fact, they continue to watch TV in the same way they did in the 90’s. And this demographic remains the biggest consumers of traditional TV. So linear TV is not dying. It is declining, but it is changing and adapting to the multiplatform world. However, it is being seriously challenged!

Producers/distributors want to create hits to enable the traditional broadcaster to differentiate itself from digital aggregators as consumer habits whange. Formats like The Voice, American Ninja, talk shows (à la Ellen Degeneres or Oprah), sporting events and so on have been, and will always be, successful on traditional TV. This type of programming allows for true ‘event TV‘ moments that consumers don’t want to miss out on. And they continue to invest in the online/digital space in order to support these brands, as they should do, and must compete to keep up. They need their content to work across all platforms if they’re to keep up with changing consumer habits.

In Canada, funding is linked to linear and digital platforms. This is just one of many reasons why traditional TV is still a necessity.

Content providers and right holders have the opportunity to be successful if they work closely with distributors. They must have a vision for their content and a clear strategy that covers all platforms. It’s about windowing and working together in order to maximise exposure and making it available and readily accessible everywhere. Distributors of sporting rights are in an advantageous position, as they’re able to negotiate with both the broadcaster and the aggregator, due to the high value of that format. Live action and scripted drama rights holders are currently experiencing a golden era due to high demand for these genres. However, distributors are now finding that, if you have a key brand or an original title, its possible to have a first run on digital and experience success there alone. Less popular brands can monetise their content by adopting a windowing strategy with both traditional broadcasters and the digital platforms.

In short, in order for linear TV to remain relevant in this ever-changing landscape, its important to have those strong brands that live on linear but can be used everywhere. However, it’s important to have a strategy for multi-platform distribution, to meet ever-more demanding consumer habits.

The business models haven’t changed, but the strategies have. If all platforms work together in this changing landscape, together they can experience success.


This is the latest in a series of posts from MIPCOM 2017’s MIPBlog Ambassadors, a group of industry experts coordinated by consultant Debbie Macdonald, who’ll be sharing their insight here in the run-up to MIPCOM this October. Stay tuned for more!

Image © Getty Images/saknakorn

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