traditional broadcasters
05 December 2017

Traditional broadcasters bounce back


With new online streaming services such as Netflix becoming increasingly popular, is there any hope for traditional broadcasters?

The likes of Netflix and Amazon Prime have been snapping at the heels of traditional broadcasters for years and, according to Ofcom’s latest report, the online streaming services may finally be on the verge of overtaking the national terrestrial networks for good. Young adults are watching a third less broadcast TV on traditional sets than they were in 2010 because of the shift to digital viewing. So, does this mean the end for traditional broadcasters?

Well, maybe not. The annual festive battle for the attention (and gift buying) of British consumers commenced this month and advertisers spent a record-breaking £6bn on Christmas adverts. John Lewis have come to pride themselves on their famously tear-jerking Christmas ads, and spent £7 million on this year’s Christmas ‘Moz’ campaign that is sure to bring a tear to the eyes of their finance team.

The 1% year-on-year boost in TV ad spending certainly isn’t slowing, and is one of the few areas where profits haven’t slowed in the wake of Britain’s vote to leave the EU. Amazon themselves are acknowledging the need for TV advertising on traditional networks over the festive season by partaking and spending more than £20 million on commercials in November and December of last year. So, demand for traditional broadcasters must still exist.

There is also talk of the BBC allowing viewers access to their program archives in the new year. It would allow users access to their back catalogue of programmes which, as is often in the case of the BBC, have become more than just a television series, but a British institution (Dr Who, Dad’s Army and the like). This would give them something over Netflix. In that same vain, they are even in the process of restoring old episodes of Doctor Who, piecing it together with new footage and animation – something that’s sure to bring a smile to the faces of Who fans around the world.

Netflix is still feeding off the content produced by traditional broadcasters, with last year’s most popular shows (Peaky Blinders, Sherlock Holmes, Line of Duty) created on the BBC. They are investing huge amounts of money in original content to compete, but many programmes and presenters/actors are loyal to the BBC (see Mary Berry when Bake Off moved to Channel 4).

The point remains that both services have their positives and negatives, but traditional broadcasters still haven’t died quite yet. I would predict that in the future, both platforms will identify the opportunity in the other and perhaps partner – as Fox Sports and Facebook did for the UEFA Champion’s League – to work together to deliver the ultimate broadcasting service for viewers.