The Top Challenges Faced By Broadcasters In The Digital Age

By Covatic

As a broadcaster in the Digital Age, how completely have you ‘tuned in’ to what your audience really wants – and how have you adjusted your offerings to better provide for these demands?

Most broadcasters are fully aware that the times really-are-a-changin’ in their industry – but many have been rather slow to react to these changes. Some are still stuck in the mind set of just five years ago - when broadcasters were still able to dictate schedules to their audiences.

Since 2012, the average consumer globally has increased their viewing on mobile devices by 4 hours a week, while their fixed screen viewing has declined by 2.5 hours a week.

Source: Ericsson: TV and Media 2016

It’s not that people are viewing less TV and video - they spend 1.5 hours longer watching it than they did 4 years ago. It’s how they’re watching it that’s changed.

So it’s not surprising that there is a strong appetite amongst broadcasters to ‘catch up’ to their audiences and to start meeting the considerable challenges that changing viewer demands present.

This series of posts will help to answer some of the main questions you have about becoming a broadcaster of choice in the Digital Age.

You will learn more about the key challenges, your options for meeting these challenges (from both within the industry and from without), and receive access to useful resources to find out more about what you want to know.

What’s changed in broadcasting?

The traditional broadcasting model is ‘by appointment’, where a central provider curates content to be distributed and dictates the schedule, based on the general target audience.

Broadcasting by definition is a one-to-many model, where viewers play a purely passive role. A whole ecosystem of hardware and workflows grew up over the years to feed this once-successful and all-dominant model.

But in the last 5-10 years, things have rapidly changed. And the pace of change has caught many broadcasters on the hop.

Digital video, video-on-demand (VOD) and TV Everywhere (TVE) services have exploded onto a multitude of platforms and devices.

These services give viewers ultimate control over where, when, and how they watch content. In just a few short years, the traditional models seem outdated and are now struggling to keep up with technology, user expectation, and web-scale content delivery.

Suddenly, the vehicle used by a viewer, along with the source broadcaster, are secondary to the actual content on offer.

Together with major on-demand services, user-generated content and piracy are changing the face of video entertainment. Over 500 million YouTube channels compete with other social networks against traditional formats; users are becoming increasingly frustrated at the challenge of finding relevant content – and are turning to services like Netflix.

By sticking with the old mind set of ‘by appointment’, broadcasters risk losing their audience totally and forever.

Key topics covered in this series

How do you maintain relevance as a brand and retain and grow your audience in the Digital Age?

The BBC was partly answering that question in its 2017 Annual Plan released recently. You can read our take on that here.

Being aware of the challenges and what you can do about them is the first step to meeting changing demands head on. In these posts, you will find many of the most pressing questions answered in relation to broadcasting challenges, including:

  • How do you bridge the widening gap in viewing habits?
  • How can you maintain advertising revenue while catering to changing viewing habits?
  • How do you balance the need for personalisation with user privacy and data security concerns?
  • How can you capitalise on the trend for increased mobile viewing?
  • ow can you use data and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to make more informed decisions with commissions and scheduling?

The challenges facing the broadcasting industry are NOT unique, of course. Everywhere you look, technology is replacing old systems. Take the challenges that Uber is presenting to the transportation industry, for instance; or the challenges faced by travel agents when customers can book everything themselves online.

User independence and the expansion of choice is almost everywhere. So what can broadcasting learn from solutions applied by traditional players in these other industries? And, just as importantly, what should they NOT be doing?

By following this series of posts, you can hopefully become much clearer on the way forward for broadcasters in the Digital Age.

Broadcast Challenges