International TV Drama report 2017
Hi, what I’m here to talk about today are the current trends and the future of TV drama. We have five topics to go through. I’ll start with 1: Globalization, 2: the changes in Consumer Behavior 3: the technical changes, 4: How all of this applies to my own country, Sweden, and ultimately 5 A look into the close future of TV drama I’ll be talking about the facts we have, the situation we find ourselves in and how to best prepare for the close future. To understand the troubles and changes in the industry, I only have to look back at my own past I remember trying to follow up and watching Lost but After the first season, instead of waiting for TV4 here in sweden to pick up the next seasons I started downloading them instead because who wants to wait when everything is available online? This went on and soon the “sitting in front of the TV with the family” type of thing was reserved solely for live events and TV dinners. As you can probably conclude this is very telling for the international landscape that industry has to adapt to as technology has brought down the walls of traditional distribution. We are all heard the sayings ‘Peak TV’ and ‘the Golden age of television’ Well, whatever kind of stamp you want to put on it right now, we’ve never seen this much volume in TV series, and we’ve never reach this high of a quality. All we can say is that we clearly at a crossroads So let’s move on to the first topic about production volume and its changes Looking at this graph. We clearly see an increase in the production volume of TV series We see that the cable and the basic cable channels have increased the production While interestingly enough the premium cable ones have stayed at the same level of volume The most interest in graph here though is the one with online so let’s take a closer look at it back in 2009 the amount of original productions from online only distributors was a mere, one 2010, four 2016, 93 and looking at 2017, it’s predicted that we’ll probably rise above 130 original productions by online only distributors. Well looking at this change for these years we see an increase in 400%. so the most important part of all of this is looking at the growth of online and compare it to where the traditional media stand Looking at this we see that they have all fallen whilst online has grown. The total amount of volume has increased 8% What this means is; the Growth of online is outpacing the fall of traditional media In other words, we have truly entered a digital age So basically we have seen an increase in volume and an increase in quality So let’s take a look at this from a global perspective Most people living in the western world will claim that we have the most attractive TV series based on quality alone, but the latest statistics prove that this is not the case. Looking at 78 countries we can see that, on the mean, 70% of their content is produced locally with 30% of their content being bought in from other countries. Out of these 30% we see that 25% is bought from Turkey and further down the list to find the United States at 7% With the rest of the world outside of the countries listed here are at 19% This points to an increase in the number of countries producing high volume and high quality drama that can stand head-to-head with the American productions. Looking at some of the most talked about topics right now around the globe, one of the hottest ones seems to be about localized content. Listening to the Producers who are in the know it seems that the key to success is no longer to create hits that look to be global successes, but rather to stay with authentic voices who have authority in the subject matter and make productions locally that are big hits so they can then travel outside of your own country This ends up creating original productions that are thrilling for the viewer to watch instead of the traditional “CIA agent goes chasing a girl” or “a missing woman in the forest” Just looking at Netflix around 50% of their European produced originals were watched outside of Europe this again proves that you should aim for localization to hit big on a global scale Another important Factor to consider is that most big European productions are co-productions. So here are five key factors to consider before entering one. 1: have as few partners as possible.
We all want more money but make sure not to make EURO-pudding a thing again. More cooks don’t make the stew any better. 2:Make sure to defend the original creative vision of the series It’s the one thing that will make sure that your series become a globalized success 3: Be extremely clear with who has the final say in creative matters. This is very very important as international projects often end up having everyone having their own opinion and trying to form the idea to their own country don’t be afraid to enforce those rules when the time comes. 4:Only have organic partners where it makes sense for the story to travel across borders. Don’t try to force a story where there isn’t one. 5: Make sure that you have a very sharp and experienced executive producer that takes the role of bridging the gap between The financers and the producers. You want the producers on the field to focus on the work that they’re doing and you want the executive To focus on keeping everything together across the countries Everyone should be able to focus on their work So to sum up globalization. We have three takeaways 1: See if you can find potential co producers in all kinds of countries don’t just look at the UK or the US, But rather look at Japan or look at turkey.
Wherever the story takes place You can also find a way to make a series of work. The market is there, we just need the story 2: Try to make niche original series. The important thing these days is to make something that is worth talking about There are so many CIA-agent stories so many missing girls in woods, try to make something new that makes people talk and Make it locally and then make it available internationally 3: Don’t make the same mistake that HBO made in nordic regions when it comes to Game of Thrones Don’t wait for the audience to already start watching your content before you open up ways for them to pay you They want to pay you for the content, make it available. This is a globalized landscape. If you don’t make it available for them to pay for it they want to watch it, and they’ll get their hands on it one way or another. On that extremely obvious yet overlooked fact, let’s move on to talk about the changes in Consumer Behavior. The relation between consumer changes and globalization is something that’s very obvious for someone that’s growing up with the internet. Various social medias like Reddit, Facebook & Twitter make things travel instantaneously. The problem occurs when this media isn’t available for consumers to watch. What they’ll do then is to pirate it because no one wants to wait We want to watch things now, and we want to watch things in high quality So if it’s not available people will get their hands on it one way or another. Basically, in this new digitalized age, the power has shifted to the consumer and as most people who get a taste of power: They want more. 70% of American Consumers binge-watch series these days and looking at the demographics we can see that 14% of people who binge-watch are 35+ and 37% of people that binge watch are under 35 What this says is that with these younger people growing and becoming financially responsible and buying their own subscriptions This is going to become an even larger factor So binge-watching is something that SVOD and OTT services are looking at when buying and distributing series. Looking at the Under-18s or so-called “Generation Z” what they do is that they watch most of their content on YouTube. now looking at YouTube and comparing it to the other kind of distributors like Netflix or whatever else YouTube is one of the strongest competitors Why? Because not only do they have an immense amount of binge-able content it is high production quality it is various kinds of content and It has a social media baked right into the service itself. Another thing that a lot of people forget is that YouTube not only has people uploading stuff, but also YouTube RED. So with this social media aspect and YouTube entering this original production area, we can see YouTube as one of the biggest competitors for the younger people. How does this all relate to mindlessly watching in TV series whilst browsing your smartphone? Looking at the statistics We can see that having about three to five episodes to watch at the same time or Binge Is the optimal amount if you have more than that chances are you’ll not engage in the series and if you have less than that you’ll want more So to keep the consumers on their toes and wanting more content and discussing it online after the episodes have ended increasing the views for your series, a good strategy would be to bundle release the series. Looking at for example The Handmaid’s Tale, they released three of the first episodes at once and looking at Gomorrah in Italy they released two episodes at a time. What this does is that you keep the consumer interested, that they’ll keep discussing it online They’ll keep watching it will keep their hunger for the series because sometimes if you release all episode at once they consume it all and that’s the end of it. What you want is people talking about your series or writing about your series to keep interest alive and spread the series on a global scale Well looking at the demographical changes we see a great shift coming up. What these younger generations are doing, are that they’re taking control of their own subscriptions and their own economies at younger ages What they do is that they buy like for example a Netflix subscription or an HBO one or why not both? Combine it with something else so basically they’re spending around the same amount of money But they’re tailoring their package to their own needs. Another thing that’s interesting is looking at how happy these consumers are well 39% say that they’re not getting their money’s worth something that’s in stark contrast to what the distributors and the producers are saying But if you look at the people who I’m talking about,
the people who make their own packages They are the happiest consumers So make sure that your service is niche, small not too expensive and maybe you’ll get to be one of these packages that all these youngsters choose. So what you can do as a company in this rapidly changing environment is to keep on your toes and adapt to these changes instead of investing all your time into one philosophy but there are a couple of things that we can take away from this. The most important thing these days is the watercooler factor and getting people to talk about your series in real life so to compare for example, you just look at The Leftovers, The Americans and Fargo and compare them to say, Vikings, Ballers & Black sails.Those three might not have the same kind of reviews online but more people are watching them. So another thing that we can think about is the day after viewing numbers. These aren’t relevant anymore They’re too easily manipulated by marketing. If you really want to know if your content or your series is really good Look at the number of people who complete your series. The completion index. If, for example, everyone who watches the first episode completes the series, well, this gives you an indication of two things: The first pilot episode was probably really good and the series was good. If you have high viewing numbers for the first episode and then dwindling ones for each week Or rapidly falling one after the first episode which then keeps on the same number of views throughout the rest of the season This gives you an indication that maybe the marketing worked, but there was something missing in the first episode So try to change the way you view ratings and look at the larger scale. Amazon for example Doesn’t even look at the day-after numbers when they first broadcast or rather make a series available online. They wait a week, and then they start watching the numbers. The completion Index is more important than the viewing numbers. Honestly sometimes you just have to take a risk. Look at Breaking Bad, The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones Sometimes the initial views aren’t representative of how fast or how big the series will become. So trust your gut instinct. To conclude: All of these changes when it comes to production, distribution or consumer behavior are all driven by technology and the people behind the technology of making everything happen, so let’s talk about them for a bit. Engineers and programmers are more important than ever before and looking at the online-only distributors We see that the number of people who work at these positions are more than the people who work in the “creative” division creating the series. In this high-tech age the ease of access to content is, I would claim, more important than the content itself For example; My mom. She can easily handle the Netflix app on our TV, but she has difficulty scanning documents from her printer from 2005 to her laptop. My friend on the other hand is a tech-savvy guy. He tried using HBO Nordic but he found the next episode playlists, finding new episodes, all of this, to be too difficult to handle. So he canceled the subscription even though he liked the content. This isn’t some kind of symptom of a lazier consumer but rather a smarter consumer. I mean if we have the ease of access writing our emails, watching regular TV or browsing our picture albums, then why shouldn’t the ease of access to our entertainment be as easy as our access to our work in our phones? If we take a look at the smartphone capabilities and they’ve grown for the last couple of years we see that the screens is our phones are of higher quality than The screens at home, we have headphones that we plug in that are better than the 5.1 surround sound speakers we have at home we have Soon-to-be 5G and we have even more mobile battery capabilities So what this does is that it pushes the consumer to use their smartphone more as a central entertainment hub than their laptop or perhaps even their smart TV:s. according to Ericsson consumerlab TV and media report from 2016 we see that the number of hours that we spend on traditional TV viewing has gone down 2.5 hours since 4 years ago. Looking at the mobile screen views we see that they have increased with 4 hours per week. So overall this means that we’re spending 1.5 hours more watching content than we used to do but now we watch it on our mobile phones. in the same report it’s stated that 51% all video consumed are watched through smartphones This increase in number of views is not linear to the number of new smartphone users, proving that it’s more than a mere correlation. So we’ve gone through production, globalization, consumers and technology, so let’s see how all of this affects us here in Sweden. Not to get repetitive, but TV series seem to be dominating not just the industries but also at the home of consumers. Ampere Analysis recently conveyed a study in the US, UK, Spain* and Sweden they asked people what kind of media they love to consume. 28% answered sports 45% said traditional TV shows 53% said movies and 65% claimed that they love watching TV series. In Sweden we have three big OTT services. We have ViaPlay, SVT Play and CMore. Out of these three the obviously biggest one is SVT Play. When looking at other ones ViaPlay seems to be the most ambitious one with around 45 original productions in development. I would like to claim that neither of these have really understood the Swedish consumer. You have to, again, realize that we’re working on a globalized platform If someone in sweden wants to subscribe to ViaPlay or CMore they’re comparing them, not to each other as swedish alternatives, but to Netflix to Amazon to HBO, so I consider this to be an experiment where only one can win and I think the Swedish consumer only has enough place for one Swedish OTT service in their wallet outside of SVT Play as it’s free. Both CMore and ViaPlay want to satisfy their new consumers and make more content, but if they do, and if SVT hooks on and does this as well, we’ll have a couple of consequences on our hands. We have these ambitious channels and distributors that want to make more content but we don’t have the talent to support it and especially not the script talent so how can we solve this? Well we used to have factories or so-called factories like ‘Rederiet’ where younger talent had the space to develop? But now we that don’t we have to create these opportunities for these young talents We have far too many projects being under-developed and under-produced and I believe a solution to this is adopting the American show-runner/writers room model a smart move would be to move towards this other model so that we can have more people writing and getting the experience that they need. If we don’t take care of the young ambitious people coming up in this business someone else will. If we don’t make sure that we can make them grow, give them opportunities and give them work they’ll find ways through either YouTube or leaving the country, So if we don’t take care of this we’re in for a long-term decline in the quality that we have here in Sweden and This may sound harsh but we’re behind the rest of the world when it comes to production volume and the way we handle young people Now in order to save ourselves from this we have to look to the future. So let’s do that. Speculating about the future is always a difficult thing to do but here are four key takeaways from this entire presentation Which I believe will keep on growing and becoming even stronger factors. Technology and content will converge with talks already spreading about Apple maybe buying Disney and going into original production in what could be the next iteration of itunes for the OTT services I believe user experiences and access to content will become more important than the content itself. More and more technology giants are starting to go into distribution, the access to and development of TV series so therefore they will also play a bigger role in the content. As more and more people start using mobiles as their main access to content, internet service providers will play a much larger role. With this big new technology shift coming now that we’re seeing where ISPs are starting to invest in 5G I also believe that they can start investing in partnerships with production companies or distributors what these ISPs then can do is that they can give you unlimited access to certain online streaming services In order to sway you towards subscribing to them rather than the competitors. Another factor that we have to consider is that in Asia we’ve already seen for a while that ISPs go in and produce their original content So maybe, just maybe, they will start doing that in Europe and America as well. I believe we’ll see a greater number of OTT-services popping up which will mean that more and more Services will start to consume the same cake: The consumers wallet. Remember we talked about the consumer wanting to minimize the number of services they have, instead investing in quality services So what I believe will happen is that a couple of these key large high-quality OTT-services will establish themselves as giants in this new industry. A lot of these small packages or services will start to fall off or organizing their own bigger umbrella organizations Just this year alone we’ll see quality productions coming out of Turkey, Japan, Brazil and these countries are used to extremely high production volumes so now that they’re also bringing in high production quality We’ll see them competing with the Hollywood productions and UK productions head-to-head Traditionally the problem in these countries hasn’t been quality in story or quality in character but rather budget related issues. But now that we see more countries going into co-productions and the market globalizing these countries are also getting the funds to support their original stories and their original productions. We’ll soon see the fall of the traditional countries which have been the strongest countries when it comes to series We’ll see more and more foreign language content coming across the globe for all of us to see and this is just a good thing as this brings more content and more original productions for all of us to enjoy. Thank you so much for listening, I hope this has been an entertaining and informative presentation about the current state of television I’m feeling hopeful for what’s to come and I believe the future is really bright for all of us if we’re open to change. Hope to see you soon