Advanced Television

Survey: Pandemic accelerates broadcasters’ digital migration plans

February 18, 2021

The global pandemic had major impacts on the TV industry in 2020, according to content consultancy 3Vision’s annual trends survey. Lockdowns changed audience consumption habits and caused disruption in broadcasting, production and advertising. Covid-19 has been a great accelerator of change in the TV business.

Ninety-eight per cent of respondents agreed that the pandemic has been an accelerator for change and has had an irreversible impact on broadcaster plans for digital migration. “Free TV groups are pushing diversification,” notes Jack Davison, EVP at 3Vision. “It’s critical for those broadcasters to come out of Covid maximising the money that they can extract from the advertising market and that means diversifying, and that means increasing what they do in digital”.

Sixty-eight per cent of executives believe Free TV will prioritise their AVoD activities in 2021 with more content set to be released exclusively on broadcaster’s OTT platforms. Data from 3Vision’s Show Tracker (a unique tool which tracks the distribution of scripted shows across global markets) indicates that broadcasters in Australia and the UK have led the way in 2020 with a number of AVoD premieres, with an expectation of further activity in other key markets.

In the pay-TV environment there is likely to be increased focus on third-party OTT service integration. Discussing this year’s findings on 3Vision’s Inside Content podcast, Davison highlighted how pay-TV operators such as Sky, Canal+ and Deutsche Telekom have incorporated streaming services such as Netflix, Discovery+, Disney and Amazon into their ecosystem. “People are appreciating the synergies between pay-TV and OTT SVoD services,” advises Davison. “The latter need help with distribution in an increasingly competitive market, to acquire and hold onto subs. And pay-TV operators who are under pressure to innovate, need to offer more choice and deliver to customers what they want”.

Eighty-eight per cent of respondents say content owners will get more involved with FAST (Free Ad-supported Streaming TV) services this year.  FAST channels are curated and delivered OTT with a linear TV like feel and appearance and varying levels of functionality. Davison comments “I think there is no question that content owners will get more involved with FAST channels. What’s interesting is if the licensing model will change. There is a belief that this is going to shift from a non-exclusive approach into some exclusive models, something that is likely to be required to win in an increasingly competitive space and to really start moving the needle.

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