Cracking TV Audience Trends

Here are tips and ideas on how TV content can reach wider audiences. They were shared by Sahar Baghery, head of global media research and content strategy for Eurodata TV Worldwide / Médiamétrie, and John Peek, director of Tape Consultancy, during the MIPTV conference titled One TV Year in the World: Cracking Audience Trends.

Written by Angela Natividad (MIP Blog)

Sahar Baghery first gave tips on how to be attractive across four screens and highlighted which shows are doing a particularly good job. She gave advice on three aspects: engagement, accessibility, and content.

Focus on engagement

  • Become a coach, as The Voice does across screens.
  • Let users play with their favourite stars. For example, NBA All-Star has reached 32 million ‘Likes’ on Facebook and has 7.5 million subscribers on YouTube.
  • Test immersive technology like virtual reality, as various formats increasingly do.

Focus on accessibility

Cut deals with “unmissable” platforms among Millennials. The poster child here is Snapchat, which has signed exclusive deals with Viacom, NBCUniversal, The Walt Disney Company, and A&E.

NBCU invested $500M in Snapchat’s IPO, “said to be the largest tech offering since Alibaba, valuing the company around $20 billion,” according to Baghery.

66 percent of Snapchat’s users are active monthly. The social network includes its own original programming, like Good Luck America. NBCU also created seven original shows for the platform, including a spin-off of The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. ABC’s The Bachelor after-show is on Snapchat, as is the BBC’s Planet Earth 2. All are optimized for vertical video.

A&E and Snapchat have inked a new content partnership to launch the platform’s first-ever unscripted drama. Vice is also planning to launch originals.

Focus on content

Develop programs—like short formats—adapted to mobile devices. Baghery also advises using ‘innovative content.’

Top performers of 2016

Scripted composed 43% of best-performing genres versus 36% for entertainment and 21% for factual. No surprise there…

But scripted is far more fragmented than it looks at first glance. Local content composes 70% of global totals, with ready-made imports taking up just 30%. Excluding adaptations and remakes, the US only represents 7% of the latter, with shows like The Big Bang Theory and NCIS.

“Now US franchises are leaving room for other territories,” said Baghery. “Turkey ranks the highest for national series, followed by Russia.”

John Peek, director of Tape Consultancy, later made the following observation: “It’s a sign of how the industry’s matured. We’ve always talked about the global village; now you really see that coming together… Markets have matured, the content they’re producing is stronger, production is better, writing is better. As a result, it’s travelling.”

He pointed to how Turkish telenovelas are travelling to South America and, in some cases, replacing existing local content.

What content works in scripted?

Peek pointed to empowerment, especially stories about women. (Call it #fempowerment.) These include the BBC’s Clique, a slick series about brilliant female students looking to make it in a man’s world, and Netflix’s upcoming Girlboss, which tells the romanticized story of charismatic cult figure and founder of NastyGal, Sophia Amoruso.

Another empowerment angle is the fight for justice, à la Orange Is the New Black. Such shows include Lockdown, which premiered in January on South Africa’s Mzansi Magic, and eOne’s Mary Kills People.

What content works in factual?

In factual, topics have often revolved around keywords like society, history, nature or wildlife, which represent about 36% of documentary terms. However, terms like current affairs, politics, relationships and experiments have risen by 53%.

Asked about what this new factual programming demand means—and why we’ve departed from shows like Duck Dynasty—Peek answered this: “Those shows were driven by larger-than-life personalities. They worked really well, but you eventually reach saturation. There’s more of a desire to be authentic, to understand what’s going on.”

Great examples touching on this notion include National Geographic’s Origins: The Journey of Humankind which tackles questions like ‘Where did we come from?’ and ‘How did we rise?’ There’s also Samtaler Fra Swingerklubben on Danish channel DR3, which follows conversations among swinger couples.

On the Edge, selected in the French Touch Formats Showcase at MIPFormats, will soon be presented on Planète. It follows a man who subjects his body to extreme survival challenges. Then there’s Mind Over Money, airing on New Zealand’s TVNZ1. “The program’s aim is to find the answers to common questions about people’s behavior with money,” said Baghery. “The methods are quite unconventional.”

Most popular formats

Top travelling formats include The Voice (14 countries), Your Face Sounds Familiar (12 countries), and Got Talent (10 countries).

The number of dating shows rose by 78%, punctuated by shows like Belgium’s Hotel Römantiek(VIER), a kind of Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (with added challenges!), and Heart Beats from Keshet.

Using immersive technology

The use of technology like augmented reality is also rising, buttressed by shows like TV Norge’s Lost in Time and Kutonen’s Tilt, a game show in which celebrities face off in VR games. On E4’s Game of Clones, people access technology to virtually create their perfect partner and then meet the ‘clones’ they confected.

“TV reflects society,” Peek explained. “There’s a desire to understand different cultures and communities in your own country. People want to understand what’s going on. Maybe we want to come together more than being pushed apart.”

This article was originally published on MIP Trends and is published here as part of an editorial partnership. © [2017] [MIP Trends].  All rights reserved.

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