The success of the paid-television and streaming services are contributing to the ever-growing audience fragmentation. The focus has tended to be on entertainment, but … What will happen when they want to compete with news programmes too?
Will Netflix also compete with the TV news?
News: the last bastion of the generalist channels
It’s been a long time coming, but catch up TV service and video on demand are being consolidated in Spain. 39.1% of Spanish households have paid-television and 5.3% subscribe to streaming services such as Netflix, HBO or Amazon Prime Video, according to the “ICT in Spanish households 2017” report.
Altogether, the payment platforms already add up to 7.5% of the television audience, although the current measurement systems do not collect most of the consumption which is done by computer and mobile devices, etc. In any case, this boom is one of the reasons that explains why audiences of free-to-air channels are at record historical lows.
That said, there is a genre in which the generalist television seems (for now at least) to be unbeatable: the News. Of the 20 most watched shows on an ordinary day, seven are news programmes. The habit of watching the news at midday or at night is still very ingrained in our society, even amongst viewers who are used to consuming subscription-based TV.
This is a challenge for streaming platforms who also want to compete with these channels.
From documentaries to news
Although the focus of streaming platforms and paid channels has been entertainment content (such as movies and series), they have begun to turn their sights towards informative contents. For example, since 2015, HBO has been broadcasting an award-winning evening news program in the United States, produced by the VICE news channel.
The VICE nightly newscast for HBO has won 4 Emmy awards for scoops like this interview with Tim Cook, Apple CEO.
Netflix, which has already produced several successful documentaries, has been studying for a long time its entry in the news. Amazon Prime Video, the third major competitor in this sector, has joined a partnership with Mediapro to produce its first documentary in Spain: Six Dreams.
This will inevitably have a knock on effect to the traditional way of spreading news and brand messages? The times in which families gathered around television are gone, so it is necessary to adapt strategies and public relations campaigns.
How should PR agencies adapt to the new media
These are some aspects that brands and agencies should consider:
- The big media are no longer the only influential ones: the universe of the media is growing, so the opportunities are getting more diverse. Appearing on the evening news is really difficult and extremely expensive, so keep in mind that there are possibilities in other channels.
- Traditional advertising does not work anymore: paid-TV and streaming services users reject even the spots on their own platforms. To reach them, we must forget about the ads and entertain other formats such as sponsorship, product placement, branded content or content marketing.
- There is a tailor-made media to each audience: audience fragmentation brings a strategic advantage: more specialized channels and programs are becoming increasingly available. With a good knowledge of the current media landscape, it is possible to reach hyper-segmented audiences and achieve better results for less money.
- Emerging formats are more receptive: new platform programs producers are more open to collaborations with small and medium brands than larger television channels. This creates many options to organize relatively affordable actions that could give media relevance to the brand.
- Conventional measurement does not work: it is necessary to adapt the measurement systems to the new reality of the media landscape in order to measure the results of the new platforms and formats actions. Much of the modern media consumption is not reflected in the quantitative measurement that we are used to.
A few weeks ago, the News Director of La Sexta channel while presenting the new season, assured that “there is no Netflix that can explain the ‘procés’, there is no Amazon to explain what happened in the attacks in Barcelona and Paris and there is no HBO that can tell our citizens what happens to their electricity bill”.
However, judging by the speed of these platforms to get into the news, they may soon be eating those words, maybe soon instead of turning on the television to inform ourselves… we will access our payment subscription on the mobile.