The second day of NEM 2018 put the CEE region on the map – at least that is what we can conclude after hearing all the panelists and their data about this part of the world. We also managed to see how content can become something bigger than its original idea, especially when we talk about Deutsche Telekom, National Geographic and the TV series Skam.
The first panel of the day – “Pay TV: Keeping up with… The Digital Content Game” – was opened on a note that the CEE region, although being kind of an unloved area, has shown in the last 12-18 months that it has really grown in terms of Pay TV channels. When asked about the importance of content, Salim Mukaddam, General Manager and Vice President of BBC Worldwide for CEE, stated that “people are platform-agnostic, wherever the content is, they’re going there”. NEM 2018’s focus on locally-produced content was once again confirmed by Katharina Behrends, NBCUniversal’s Managing Director for CEE, who pointed out that Pay TV should be adjusted to local communities.
The importance of production has also been recognized by Sony Pictures Television Network, whose General Manager John Rossiter said the company has gone up from zero to 300 hours of produced content in the last two years. Platforms cooperating with production studios could be the future, he concluded. The power of the digital has once again been confirmed in the case of Viasat’s Epic Drama, a new drama channel launched last December in only six months, which was presented by Emma Jones, Viasat’s VP of Commercial Affairs.
The need for a transition from the traditional approach to content agents has been recognized as a priority by Bartosz Witak, Viacom’s General Manager for CEE Region & Israel. Witak also noted that Nordic countries are leading the way in this regard in outstanding ways – for more than 60% of the audience aged 15-24, non-linear content accounts for over 60% of their consumption. AMC Networks International has also been witnessing a constant rise in SVOD since 2010, confirming it as an important fragment of AMC’s business model. “The current pay TV model is definitely not dead. It is good and will remain important for us, but we have to keep our eyes open (…) because investments which seem to be small for a country like Germany, can be huge in the CEE region”, said AMC’s Levente Málnay, summing up his 20-years’ experience in the region.
“Advertising: When is it Too Much?” was the question posed to advertising experts at the eponymous panel. Srđan Šaper, Founder and CEO of I&F McCann Group, explained that TV is an emotional medium, which is largely due to television ads “that really build the brand because they are seen as the most emotional ones amongst the audience”. He further explained: “When you watch TV, you don’t skip ads, because ads are a part of the comfort zone”, a part of the viewing experience. He concluded that throughout the history of media, new media didn’t close down the old media – TV didn’t replace the radio and the digital world actually improved the effectiveness of the traditional TV.
The importance of television advertising could be seen in metrics presented by Alida Žorž Miketek, Managing Director at AGB Nielsen Audience Measurement Croatia: TV outperforms all the other media in terms of total advertising profit and in terms of ROI. There is a shift from demographic to functional targeting, which was shown on the cooperation between Nielsen and CBS, which have just started using data from Smart TVs to change the way of targeting audience.
Although markets somehow differ on a local scale, Dirk Gerkens, CEO of TV2 Media Group, confirmed that not having advertising wouldn’t generate more audience and that it is mostly social networks that help boost popularity. Guy Bisson, Research Director at Ampere Analysis, concluded that TV industry needs to organize and work quickly on the solutions for advertising, since “there are two main companies controlling 70% of online advertising compared to thousands of different channels, and these companies are making it easy for themselves to introduce changes quickly”.
The panel dedicated to “Little Bosses” dealt with children’s demands in terms of content and its availability. Currently, there are 2000 on-demand platforms for children in the world and around 10.3 billion connective devices in use. Nicholas Walters, CEO of Hopster, SVoD platform for preschool children, pointed out that the most important thing for children apps is that they provide an active and interactive experience for children. “The view that kids can’t navigate through their services comes from those who don’t design for kids”.
Daniel Reszka from Viacom International Media Networks mentioned Nickelodeon, NickJunior and NickTunes as the strongest brands Viacom has and pointed out that they want to let parents know that the content is not only made for entertainment, but also for education. Ferdinand Habsburg, CEO of Da Vinci Media, said that his platform currently has 30 million subscribers within the 6-10-year-old group. He concluded that education is always hard to sell, but that the potential to monetize it is there, and emphasized that operators have to go further in designing better interfaces.
Anette Schaefer, VP of TV Business Europe at Deutsche Telekom, explained that they view the European market as everything apart from Germany. The greatest challenge Deutsche Telekom is currently facing with its 4.3 million subscribers in the region is the ever-changing user behavior. Anette remarked: “As an operator, we are focusing on usability – we’re not Netflix but we’re close and are trying to make it much easier for our customers to reach content that they want when they want it.” Commenting on Deutsche Telekom’s plans for the future, Schaefer mentioned a focus on reaching a female audience and introducing more formats.
The Norwegian web series Skam, which won the hearts of the worldwide audience since it was initially launched in 2015, in spite of Norwegian being spoken by only 0,1% of the world’s population, also found its place at this year’s NEM. “Scandinavia leads the way in streaming and Skam is part of this wave”, its producer Håkon Moslet explained.
Tackling topics that are controversial for both teens and the adult audience, such as coming out, rape, social isolation and growing up in the Western world as a member of a Muslim minority, Skam has gained a strong fan base, thanks to which it functions more as a continuous global live event than a conventional series, creating the narrative out of fans’ comments, texts and Instagram stories and including fan art in the series. NEM conference attendees even had the opportunity to see the first and the third episodes of the series.
How to revamp a 130-year-old brand was a question answered by Christian Brent, SVP of Research & Strategy at National Geographic. NatGeo started in 1888 as an exploration society for people thirsty for adventures and knowledge about our world. Today, it is reaching more than 100 million people on Earth, connecting different cultures and shaping the landscape.
NatGeo also has the strongest digital presence with the biggest organic engagement amongst TV channels, thanks to propagating values that resonate with younger generations and because of its heritage of photography. NatGeo has also been cooperating with some of the strongest A-list names, such as Elon Musk, Leonardo DiCaprio and Will Smith. NatGeo is well-trusted as well – 98% of people trust the information it provides, and 59% of people feel more positive about partnerships if they are directly connected with National Geographic. Brent showed that science, exploration and storytelling can change the world and build a strong community.
The dynamic second day of NEM 2018 also saw a lot of networking opportunities, such as Viacom’s Coffee Break, Irdeto’s Happy Hour with a warm welcome from networking hosts, and a fabulous Wine Tasting with Pickbox in cooperation with Jakovac Wines. The day was concluded with an exclusive and traditional Eutelsat party from one of the most faithful NEM sponsors. For more information about the NEM 2018 agenda, please visit the link.