At our BVOD 20/20: What’s Now & Next event in Sydney, for the first time, all four Australian free to air commercial broadcasters (Nine Entertainment, Seven West Media, Network Ten and Special Broadcasting Service) co-presented to a room of over a hundred agency executives and demand partners about BVOD (broadcast video on demand). They focused on four key areas: content strategy, audience, effectiveness and the future of TV. Their overall insights and roadmaps are consistent and aligned — providing addressable audiences at scale for advertisers to achieve reach with optimal efficiency and returns.
BVOD is defined as professionally produced broadcast quality programming delivered to audiences via an internet connection, and Australians are consuming BVOD content across all the local networks at a rapid growth rate. According to a 2018 ThinkTV study, growth in viewership of this format is evident with a 75% year-over-year increase of BVOD minutes in the first half of the year according to OzTAM VPM.
Connected TV (CTV) is the primary platform where audiences watch BVOD content. A CTV study by IAB indicated a 466% increase in content streams for the month of October 2018 from the month of January 2016, and a 104% increase in streams consumed in 2018 versus 2017. The connected device split based on streams is OTT devices such as Telstra TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, Fetch TV and set top boxes (66%), Smart TVs (29%) and games consoles (3%).
All broadcasters are making significant financial investments to produce and license content to be digitally distributed via box sets or stacking, pre-releases, online exclusives and live streaming in response to audience demand. Live streaming is key area where all broadcasters have witnessed significant audience growth.
The on-demand streaming trend of viewers watching BVOD content is undeniable. Streamers are not just millennials, rather they span all age demographics. All broadcasters’ OTT services have reached a tipping point this year. They are no longer ‘catch-up’ services of linear TV programming but long form content destinations comparable to the overseas subscription services such as Netflix, but with a focus on local programming.
The Australian broadcasters are leading the world with their collaboration with OzTAM to launch a new service – ‘Virtual Australia’ (VOZ) next year in response to the exponential growth in BVOD viewing. It will provide total linear and online television (‘Total TV’) viewing with demographic detail, de-duplicated across connected devices.
TV networks will be able to accurately determine the incremental audience reach from viewing on connected devices. Advertisers can use the service to manage their cross-screen campaigns and overlay datasets on top of VOZ to support further targeting.
BVOD is intrinsically visible. Studies have proven that the screen coverage of advertising is the main driver to capturing the viewers’ attention and consequently sales results for advertisers. This is due to viewers actually being able to remember the advertising they saw for a much longer period compared to seeing them on social platforms like Facebook or YouTube. Even when comparing mobile viewing, Facebook advertising decays 2.5 times faster and YouTube 3 times faster than BVOD.
Future of TV
We’re in the Golden Age of Television. Australians binge watch and search for escapism through the content they watch, resulting in TV series building to cater for this viewing trend. Drama, Reality and Sports are popular genres which resonate with Australians.
Due to the extensive library of professionally produced quality content made available by the local broadcasters, viewers are shifting away from user generated content on social platforms with intrusive advertising. Australians expect a positive and seamless viewing experience which the TV networks are dedicated to provide in these exciting times.