Tell A Vision: 3 takeaways on the future of television

Last Tuesday, the Belgian television companies jointly organized the Tell A Vision congress, sharing their views on the future of television and the challenges ahead. New technologies are changing the watchers’ habits, which is something program makers and advertisers need to take into account. Five interesting speakers shared their knowledge on the matter. Here are my main takeaways.

A TV watcher is connected at any time, anywhere and with any device

Today’s consumers own multiple digital devices on which they can watch video content from an indefinite number of channels. This enables them to consume the content any time they want, anywhere and with any device. Families are no longer watching television together all the time. The father may be watching a football game, the mother prefers a soap and the children are enjoying their favorite show. All at the same time. Dean Donaldson (Global Innovation Consultant at Wink Wiggle Wave) described the consequences, as it is no longer relevant to target households as a whole, but to target each consumer individually on the right device with different adverts. The big challenge for the business is knowing which devices a consumer is using and when they are using them. The opportunity here is to really target and personalize communications and advertising, which will lead to more relevance for consumers.

From fragmentation to an aggregated offer

We are living in a world with an infinite and growing number of video content channels, all providing their own content. Traditional television channels offer their content on menu, they provide watchers with a fixed schedule of programs. New video content players offer a self-service model, where consumers can watch the programs they want when they want it. Furthermore, many brands are starting their own channels sharing video content with their consumers. Four out of ten of the most trending YouTube videos in 2014 were branded. As the number of individual channels increases, the cry for an aggregated offer gets louder. Dean Donaldson says it is inevitable that an aggregated subscription will happen, as it did in the music industry with Spotify.

Television programs need to happen now and in an emotional proximity

The increasing number of video content channels means a challenge for all of the providers and definitely also for the traditional commercial television channels to offer video content that is worth watching within their standard menu. Jan Callebaut (CEO Why5Research) introduced to us 2 key drivers of success in television content that will still be 2020-proof for commercial television channels. In the current setting, where linear television is under pressure, television programs have to happen now. Live events such as big sports events are video content that people will still want to watch when it happens. The concept of now in television content is also related to programs that are actuality-driven (such as news), continuity-driven (such as soaps) and competition-driven (such as game shows and sports). Secondly, television programs should be in an emotional proximity or, in other words, watchers should identify with a program. Allowing participation is an example to support this.

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