Is Traditional TV Broadcast Doomed?
Have we reached a point where online video is slowly replacing traditional broadcast television in the Middle East? “Not really sure about that!”, explains Zeina Accawi, managing director of PAZ Marketing.
It’s assuredly clear that online video is growing in popularity, but the [advertising?] industry in general is undergoing a shift. The jump of technology in the region is rushing so quickly that finding the right balance between addressing today’s challenges and planning for the next big thing can be a struggle. Looking forward is what will make broadcasters innovate, prosper and survive by introducing platforms that goes with these changes.
Going back to history, when television was introduced, developments largely consisted of radio shows formatted for television because producers hadn’t yet figured out how to exploit the new medium; then with time, television evolved to make better use of the visual medium. Today, television programming is reformatted for smaller screens, accompanied by marketing campaigns that, in my opinion, do not really complement the main screen experience – and the biggest proof is seen when we skip ads on our phones!
Additionally, television serves as the primary screen, and tablets and mobiles are both secondary. However, that doesn’t mean we are not entering an era where all screens will work flawlessly together, they will just happen to come in a wide range of sizes.
In addition, viewership expectations are a question! Viewers in the Middle East are used to and love being part of an experience, and we don’t see this on tablets or phones. That’s why celebrity Twitter feeds are so popular: it’s the only platform where celebrities actively communicate with their fans, making the experience even more personal, which leads to deeper connections. Story is everything, but a story with a personal connection is unbeatable.
We can’t deny that the increase in viewing on devices other than television is expected to grow. But as marketers we need to be smart and grab the opportunity to better use this platform in the future!
On the other hand, research shows that: “55 percent of people watch two or more hours of online video each week, with more than 11 percent watching 10 or more hours per week. Right now, online video, for most people, is nothing more than an add-on to their traditional television experience. They might watch two or more hours of online video each week, but it doesn’t come anywhere near the daily five hours of traditional television watched by people,” according to Limelight Networks.
Going back to the transition from television to online video, the phenomenon is reliant on three pillars. The first is consumer behavior, the second is the business model and the third is the delivery capabilities.
Consumer behaviour: People want to consume TV content wherever they are and on whatever device.
Business model: Content producers are slowly beginning to shift their business models from being solely dependent on advertising to a model that includes subscriptions.
Delivery capabilities: Speed is important and consumption of high-definition online video is key. So does it work in all countries within the region? Not sure!
Nevertheless, let’s not deny that the tipping point has already happened! People, consumers and businesses are keener on watching content online, be it on their phones, tablets or TV. This demand and format is 100 percent going to see a decline in TV subscribers and make redundant paid television subscriptions.
Is traditional TV threatened by online video? 100 percent. Are we in an acceptance phase? No. Is there desire and demand? YES. Conclusion: We still have few years to go before online video really displaces the traditional television experience in the Middle East!