To be clear the comparaison is unfair. Hulu is serving the much larger US domestic market and might become global as the rest of the Disney+ offering possibly and compete against CBS-Viacom‘s Pluto. Whereas Salto the joint venture between all major French private and public broadcasters is and will only serve the French market.
Last week I attended two of the world largest media & entertainment trade shows: The IFA in Berlin and the IBC in Amsterdam. Even if exhibitors of both shows are part of the same eco system the contrast was striking with regards to their views and strategies on image resolution.
Consumer Electronics manufacturers pushing for customers to replace their TV sets have always been a driving force for change in the broadcast industry. Vendors like Sony and Panasonic that sit on both sides have an even stronger interest to cross leverage their end to end presence. In the past it has led to great successes like HD and 3D that… well did not do that great!
Time optimization or visitor raceIBC as any international trade show is a race both for vendors and visitors. Both parties are trying to recoup the time and financial investment their respective attendance represents. For vendors the number of set meetings is an essential KPI. The temptation is correspondingly high to increase the ROI of the available 39,5 hours.
The recent announcement of a possible imminent deal between Canal+ and Netflix has triggered many discussions on the motivations of such a deal. In a bigger picture Netflix has already signed up numerous agreements with operators including Sky to distribute its service.
What’s in for Canal+
The question is not so much what’s in for Canal+ that in France has been suffering from heavy subscribers’ losses for the past few years, lost significant sports rights, killed its VOD service Canal Play and is looking to reposition itself both in Africa as well as in Europe with investments like the recent M7 acquisition.
Technology investments in the TV4.0 era: How are they impacted by business model modifications? The diagnostic is easy to summarize but most difficult to solve:
- Content costs are skyrocketing
- Linear channel revenue from carriage fees and adds is diminishing
- Revenue from non-linear distribution is still marginal
- In most countries public funding is frozen or diminishing
Consequently, the transformation impacts the way media organizations tend to make technology investments, arbitrate between make, buy or rent and changes the way they interact with technology vendors and service providers.
End of 2018 the news has been dominated by the mega mergers’ announcement among US media companies and the launch of their VOD services.
Over the first few months of 2019 Europe is back in the news with a wave of mergers that if they do not have the magnitude of their US counterpart are signs of the very same consolidation phenomena. The most prominent one is Vodafone / Liberty Global. Recently we have seen the emergence of what could become a German Studio building on the KKR acquisition of Universum, Tele München, i&u Wiedemann & Berg.
Green Book, the Favorite, BlacKkKlansman, Bohemian Rhapsody, the Mule, Vice, a Beautiful Boy, Yuli, Loro, Molly’s game, Operation 12 strong … over the past few months an unusual large number of movies have been biopics or based on true facts. Other years the dominant genre have been science fiction or romantic comedy. Like in the fashion industry the movie one has trends. For those not familiar with the mechanics I strongly advice watching the scene in “Devil’s wears Prada” where Miranda Priestly explains Andy Sacks why she is wearing a blue sweater.
There is a popular believe that everything is available on line. The sheer magnitude of content accessible through the different VOD services (Add, Transaction, Subscription, Free) seems to prove the point but is it the really the case?
To limit the scope, the purpose is not to deep dive in the fascinating topic of regional licensing or windowing but to focus on the reality of viewer consumption and the basic economics of a VOD service.
I wrote quite a few posts on the necessity for European media organization to team up in an OTT landscape that changes the multinational and where scale is a more significant success factor then regionalization. Many initiatives describe themselves as the French, Spanish, German or British Hulu. It is mainly because similarly to Hulu they are joined ventures of existing broadcast media organizations.
Presenting a keynote in front of over 150 reprentatives of the German, Swiss and Austrian public broadcasters during their annual technical network IT conference has been a great experience. The paper on the impact of the business model changes on technology investment in the TV4.0 era triggered a lot of discussions over the two days of the workshop in a Munich. The fact that Bayerischer Rundfunk is rebuilding a significant part of its technical operations to create a tri media production centre just in front of the IRT building was a perfect illustration of the changes in the broadcast media industry.