Linear TV remains King

    Raffaele Annecchino on how technology is impacting TV content consumption
    Annecchino: OTT can complement linear.
    Annecchino: OTT can complement linear.


    The emergence of new devices and technologies is impacting TV content consumption and consumer engagement in many positive ways for our industry. With more new players in the industry than ever before, content providers need to approach the way that they interact with their audiences in different ways.

    While great story telling will always be at the core, content producers need to embrace this new, multiple platform world as an opportunity to develop unique ways to share content and develop deeper relationships with their audiences.

    To begin, we need to understand just how the TV business has changed over the last few years. We should note here that Linear TV remains the primary window for premium video, based on the global average, and with the average time spent viewing TV per day at 3.19 minutes, a figure that has increased by one minute over the past year.

    Linear TV is showing strong growth in the MENA region, where the national average for TV watching is 6.42 minutes in KSA, which is up 13 minutes from 2014.

    However, TV needs to adapt, with changing consumption patterns, dubbed the ‘rise of every screen’, especially with the explosion of connected devices and the ‘second screening’ practice. Consumers have redefined TV to mean ‘content on their own terms’, with an idea of ‘TV everywhere’ and ‘TV now’ emerging in the industry.

    Half of TV viewers expect to be able to watch content the moment that they decide to instead of waiting, and alternative TV viewing sources such as VOD, subscription VOD and free video sites make content available when and where they want it.

    These new ways of consuming TV are impacting the way that content is being produced. The core business remains creating content that engages, inspires and transports, but this needs to be tailored to the new methods of viewing.

    We are seeing a combination of global content and a local approach, which can be coined ‘Glocal’, meaning that international content is aired along with localized productions. In the MENA region, this is leading to the Arabisation of global shows, such as the Nickelodeon and Nick Jr channels on OSN.

    Humour is another great example of how local content can really engage with specific regional audiences. Brands can be enhanced in a local context with on the ground activities such as road shows, consumer products, recreational parks, apps and games.

    The future of the TV business is exciting, with a mixture of global with localized content being distributed across a growing number of platforms ... We expect mobile consumption to grow steadily in certain regions, namely MENA region, where growing smart phone usage is a key market driver.

    Lastly, we expect to see many new TV brands being developed and being rolled out in new territories, supported by heavy local brand activations and social media activity. It’s an exciting time and I’m happy to be a part of it.

    Raffaele Annecchino is executive VP and managing director of South Europe, Middle East & Africa for Viacom International Media Networks.


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