The future of television in the UK

The future of television in the UK

An ever-expanding array of channels, platforms, devices, experiences and choice has created a world where the television viewer is firmly in control. For the industry, such an unprecedented state of flux inevitably creates a mix of risk and opportunity – giving rise to uncertainty and excitement in equal measure.

The UK: a global hit

The UK media sector is well placed to exploit the opportunities that this disruption brings – the creative industry is valued over £7 billion. With top formats such as Strictly Come Dancing and dramas like Downton Abbey, it’s not surprising that UK programming exports to China increased by 90% between 2011-2012.

UK viewers are some of the most digital savvy, too. By the end of 2014, over 40% of the UK population will be using a tablet device at least once a month, and 18.7 million will be watching content via their mobile phone monthly.

Organisations need to be operationally fit to benefit from the wave the UK is currently riding, and it’s time to decide whether you will act or react as the pace of change continues to accelerate.

The changing value chain

Wherever you sit in the media universe, at the heart of everything is content. The phrase “content is king” comes to mind – not just the idea/concept but knowing its worth, where to place it and how to produce it efficiently.

The shift to digital and on-demand distribution models and platforms requires rethinking not just content formats and brands, but also the revenue split between advertising, subscriptions and content sales.

It also requires becoming more agile as external forces continue to push market changes. We have identified the top five forces which you need to have on your radar. The forces are so disruptive that they throw the very notion of “television” into doubt. The reverberations are being felt at every stage of the value chain.

The future is now – five steps to turning today’s vision into tomorrow’s reality

Any organisation looking to succeed in a world of evolving content models will need to equip itself for change, develop new skills and capabilities at the same time as delivering operational excellence and growing the bottom line. Not an easy task. Here are our five steps to preparing for the future of television in the UK, today.

  • Make it personal

    Major generational and behavioural shifts – enabled by technology – have created new consumption patterns as audiences are freed from traditional viewing constraints.

    From a consumer’s point of view, a provider’s ability to deliver a seamless, personalised user experience is a fundamental differentiator. And for providers themselves, it is a way to add value to the audience and ultimately retain viewers. A personalised experience demands a firm grasp of data – so media businesses now need to grow up as data businesses.

    In a multi-device, multi-platform world, we believe that companies need to do three things:

    1 Aggregate data across the enterprise to create a single, unified view of each member of the audience – many achieve this through a single log-in that is uniform across their devices
    2 Democratise the availability of data so that it is no longer housed within the marketing department
    3 Make the data forward-looking and relevant. Reporting needs to be shift from retrospective to future predictions, to do this properly requires separating the wheat from the chaff and focusing on the most meaningful data for your needs
  • Place the audience at the centre

    The audience will look for content on their own terms, so it should be at the centre of the distribution model. Reaching the audience wherever it wants to be found, and via whatever device, requires an optimised and tightly managed digital supply chain. This is vital for providing insight into what content or content rights are held, and how this can content can be distributed to the audience at the point, time and place of need.

    Organisations also need to connect with audiences by engaging them through the idea generation and green light process, thus reducing the development lifecycle.

  • Take a more efficient approach to production and sourcing

    Intensifying competition for content demands a more efficient approach than ever to production and sourcing. Content production is strategic as well as a creative process.

    In our experience, savings of between 15-20% can be made in production through challenging entrenched processes and bringing techniques such as LEAN to content production. This can be re-invested in better, or more on-screen content.

  • Innovate through cross-media content

    When audiences become part of the content, they cease to be passive voyeurs and become active participants. This kind of cross-platform experience is increasingly important in shaping the story arch for content – with companion experiences, synchronous activity and dual screening rising rapidly.

    Exploring ways to engage audiences at different times in the lifecycle can result in greater impact with the audience. In our experience, cross-platform engagement can result in an uplift of at least 25% audience impact.

  • Understand your friends and foes

    The traditional structure of the UK TV industry is in unprecedented flux. New channels, new OTT players and new producers are looking to gain a foothold. All the major US studios are here – and they’re now being joined by a raft of new entrants.

    Within this shifting ecosystem, companies need to take a close and careful look at partnering opportunities as they present themselves. Searching successfully for the right collaborative tie-ups may mean looking beyond the usual suspects.

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