Saturday, April 28, 2012

The Kids Are Allright

Around eight years ago I was talking to the head of one of Europe's first IPTV VoD services at an event in Italy and he had been amazed by what content was successful on his service. Basically, only two things worked well, and one of those accounted for fifty per cent of all viewing at the time.

The genre was children's programmes.

Of course, if you think about it, it makes sense. Children have no sense of timetable, and their parents live pressurised lives where the ability to sit their offspring quietly in front of screens is a boon.

So, it's not surprising that the Paidcontent blog is reporting that the children's channel Nickleodeon is suffering at the hands of Netflix.

Indeed, the latest viewing figures from the US show the major networks being majorly impacted by on demand and rival viewing services for the first time.

It simply is the thin end of the wedge. Broadcast, scheduled television as we know it is over and will now gradually retreat into a place amongst other curated content.

There is no need for a schedule (or EPG - electronic programme guide) any more. Back in 2004 we have a virtual EPG where you could click on any programme and play it, irrespective of its scheduled time (or you could also look at its as scheduled, of course).

Sports and some mainstream entertainment will remain the final bastion of the schedule. The irony is, as more and more viewers get used to on demand, the cost base of content is likely to shift to them. it's much easier to charge when someone clicks than it is when they sit back and do nothing.

This is going to be a challenge for broadcasters, advertisers, brands and content owners, now that viewers have started to change their behaviour. After all, what price ten minutes of quiet whilst the kids watch Spongebob SquarePants ?