Live Broadcast is more alive than ever
The classic linear broadcast network looses audience share; people instead watch their thematic channel, download TV shows over the internet and binge-watch entire seasons in one sitting. Both – new distribution mechanism and a different tv consumption go hand in hand and affect how tv is made.
The classic tv channel is doomed to die.
By classic TV channel I mean a channel that is build around a library and some production of non-live formats. We have seen many of such channels mushrooming over the years in the digital TV field. They all had the same mechanism: use a good library of a couple of hundred hours of content, add some new formats and productions, focus on a certain demographic or thematic genre and push it to the cable operator or other platform for a decent CPS fee. If you are a large media company, with a strong brand and access to vast libraries you could own your share of the market and split the income to everyone’s satisfaction with the parties involved. But this way of creating TV (if you can use the word “create” at all in this context) is a method doomed to die.
The audience is now able to “create” their own channel, choosing from a smorgasboard of content delivery mechanism and libraries. Large VOD offerings give you access to tons of thousands of content for a small monthly fee. The market is fragmented. Individual channels can only old their audience if they focus on a certain genre or theme and offer high quality content. They must establish themselves as the leader of their specific “digital tribe”. Otherwise they will become obsolete.
If you want to attract audiences nowadays and make them come to your channel in substantial numbers, you need to have live events in your broadcast channel. That is one of the single elements that will help you to distinguish yourself from the other TV distribution methods. A VOD service is not live, neither is a pay tv channel working off an old library. Live TV is what television broadcast in is truest, most traditional sense was all about. From the Coronation of Elizabeth II through the Landing on the Moon, via tragic events like 9/11 and Mandela’s funeral – this brought people together. Events like Live Aid, World Soccer Cup Finals, Red Bull Base Jump, etc. in one moment in time the world watches the same. That is the magic and power of live broadcasting, and namely live event broadcasting.
So, as a TV channel that wants to stay in the game longer, you must make sure to build islands of live events into your schedule. Have live events that matter to your audience and that will make them sit in front of the TV at that given moment. Add some social media interaction elements to it and you got the audience’ complete attention. Advertisers and sponsors will follow quickly. Because the side effect of live is that people stay glued to the screen.
We have seen this happening, for instance, with what is called “Slow TV”, where a live broadcast of something even rather boring attracts a large audience. It demonstrates that live is still the best way to broadcast.
Modern television is old-fashioned, but traditional live broadcasting in the original sense is the future and en vogue.