Tell A Vision: The future of radio and television

Redefining TV & radio, a title that triggers the necessary interest for the media landscape in Belgium. This was the general theme of the second annual Tell A Vision congress that took place in Brussels last Wednesday. How can the media prepare themselves for a changing world, where both television and radio need to find their new place? It has come to that moment in time where it is more important than ever for TV and radio to prove their importance, by reinventing themselves and looking into new business models and new partnerships, in order to satisfy the current media consumer who is more connected, a multiscreen watcher, more difficult to reach through traditional media.

Television is facing multiple challenges which they have to act upon, especially given the digital revolution with the introduction of new platforms (Netflix, HBO…) which is resulting in a changing watching behavior, pushing traditional television to come up with innovative ideas. Radio is also entering a new area with the digitalization in Europe and soon in Belgium, giving radio channels plenty of new possibilities.

TV = Total Video

We are faced with a consumer who follows this completely new way of watching television. The new TV consumers have the power; they decide what they want to see and where they want to see it. As Jean-Luc Chetrit (CEO Carat France) also mentioned, we are not confronted with consumers who consume less content; they just watch it in a different way. They multitask, use different screens simultaneously and decide when they want to watch something. So content is still the key driver in the success of television.

According to Guillaume De Posch (Co-Chief Executive Officer RTL Group) the main challenge for content is a matter of keeping the focus on local content or of going in competition with the over-the-top players (Netflix, etc.) in offering big global content. He also emphasizes the power of video by claiming TV no longer stands for television but rather for Total Video. We are shifting from a long-form to short-form need, changing the value chain, making consumers the creators of content and distributing this through social platforms instead of classical media. This is something which has been tested in numerous ways on RTL. And in fact the cost of short-form content is lower than that of classical media. This also bring new possibilities to attract advertisers.

Are we ready for digital radio?

Belgium is preparing itself for the digitalization of radio, following countries such as the UK and Norway. This transformation from FM to DAB+ (Digital Audio Broadcasting) is a trend which was inevitable and also comes as a better solution for the consumers. This gives radio channels new opportunities and possibilities and will expand the radio experience for consumers. Hugo Gauderis (Technology Manager Norkring) explained the technical side and the need for DAB+ in Belgium. The main reason for this transition is simply that the FM network is saturated, so there are no more opportunities to start a new national radio channel. In the UK, digital radio already made its entrance a few years ago and it proved to be a huge success.

Mark Friend (Radio and Music Multiplatform Controller BBC UK) illustrated how the BBC radio channels used this transformation to its own benefit. Instead of figuring out how to outperform new platforms, they plan to go into cooperation with these new players (Spotify, Deezer…) and develop a way for listeners to store their music through their app, the BBC iPlayer. They updated their app with those new features, so listeners can now fit radio into their own daily schedule. BBC has found a great way to integrate their different brands into one platform. They also have an idea in mind to develop a tool that would automatically create a schedule for the listeners with content from the different channels, based on several algorithms. These are great examples of how the digitalization of radio can be used to improve the current listening experience.

The battle for the attention of the Millennials

As mentioned before, media consumption is changing, especially among the younger generation. They use more devices and watch content on multiple screens. They are constantly mobile and on the move, not missing out on anything in the world. The biggest challenge for the media industry is to still reach this new generation. As they are multitasking and so easily distracted, television and radio should search for a way to catch and specially to keep the attention of this younger generation. This is a major challenge to which no clear answer was given at the Tell A Vision congress. Ideas as moving from long-form to short-form are attempts to play upon this generation. Also, the extension of the BBC iPlayer is a great example.

Looking for more insights on how to grab the attention of the next generation? Tune in on the Who’s up NXT story by our co-founder and NextGen expert Joeri Van den Bergh.

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