Innovating media services on PC
TV channels\' quadruple screen strategies
IDATE analyses within its recent study “TV channels’ quadruple-screen strategies” the different strategies to widespread innovating services on the four screens, illustrated by a large body of case studies. Plenty of innovating services are launched every day on the different screens – classic TV, PC, Mobile and connected devices like tablets. This study allows a global overview of the key players’ choices in the main audiovisual markets.
“The decisions made by TV channels appear perfectly consistent with current consumer behaviours.”, comments Florence Le Borgne, director of the TV & Digital Content Business Unit at IDATE. ”PCs are therefore the main media that TV channels are embracing to maintain the relationship with their audiences. Mobile phones remain a second priority in channels’ strategies, while they show little or no interest in the other media devices. This hierarchy between the different media devices reflects the priorities given by the consumers themselves.”
The central role of PCs
Among the alternative media to TV, PCs are undoubtedly the most commonly used by television channels to maintain the relationship with the viewer. Among the main TV channels in mature markets, all have an Internet presence and often provide the more sophisticated content.
Catch-up TV on PC is now widespread on free-to-air channels (only Rai and Fox, among the operators studied, do not offer it). On the other hand, pay-TV operators seem more reluctant to follow this path. Only Canal + and HBO (among the operators surveyed) have developed this type of offer to their subscribers.
Both free-to-air and pay-TV operators have embraced VoD and/or archiving services. Another common feature is the existence of Internet portals integrating multimedia information on programmes and short videos extracted from or complementary of TV broadcasted programmes.
Virtually all the operators surveyed have implemented an offer integrating these three components: dedicated Internet portal, catch-up TV and VoD. Catch-up TV and VoD service access is limited almost exclusively to the country in which the channel is available. Most of the contents on catch-up TV are free or included in the subscription (for pay-TV channels) and are funded by advertising revenue, by the license fee (for some public groups) or from subscriptions. Most often VoD services are available for a fee, for the purchase and/or rental of TV programmes. Portals of TV channels are available without restriction, except for some portals offering longer contents. Some public media groups (such as BBC or RAI) develop additional international portals, distinct from their own national portal.
Casting aside these three "basics of the Web", some trends are beginning to emerge, particularly in connection with the community sphere. Hence, an increasing number of TV channels now manage streams available on video sharing websites. If YouTube cannot be ignored in the implementation of these new services, ITV, on the other hand, has developed a similar service on the Bebo network. Some channels have gone beyond the community rationale by developing their own social network (like RTL with Wer-kennt-wen.de or ProSiebenSat1 with Lokalisten.de or wer-weiss-was.de), their blog platforms (as with Overblog TF1), their non-professional video sharing websites (like maTVidéo - France Television, TuClip.com - Antena 3, Clipfish.de - RTL or WAT - TF1), or by joining virtual worlds (such as M6 and Antena 3 with Habbo Hotel).
Finally, the latest trend being the development of thematic portals, especially dedicated to news, women and sport. These developments are most often based on previously broadcasted content, or rely on the brand of a flagship TV show, topped up with editorial multimedia content. Some websites such as RTL’s Sport.de portal, may also offer live events broadcasts, such as free streaming of Formula 1 races.
Other initiatives targeting PCs are much more scattered and mainly deal with video content delivery: live streaming of part or entire TV shows, broadcasting of live events that have not been scheduled on TV (mainly sports and concerts), or even TV content delivered through the Internet via third-party aggregators or the distribution of original content (mostly from the channel’s own web portal).
Some channels are pushing online games, most often derived from successful programmes, or play a role in activities unrelated to their core business, such as online price comparison services.
Florence Le Borgne
Download the press release here
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