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Factual Television
in the year 2020…
Leila Monks
Australian International
Documentary Conference
March 2014
1. How are we watching?
2. What are we watching?
3. Other factors affecting our industry?
Factual TV 2020
How are we watching?
• Media consumption via TV has dropped
• Mobile media consumption has increased (thank you
Steve Jobs)
Australia (Think TV)
Time spent watching TV
Technology in the home
Prediction 1:
Mobile or digital delivery will be premier way of
consuming content.
Factual TV 2020
• How we consume media evolves
from a “sit back” to a “lean forward
culture
• Viewer essentially searches for the
content ...
• YouTube: audience relationship is 1:1 as opposed to
TV which is 1: however many thousands or
millions
• Audience engagem...
Prediction 2:
Only strongest traditional broadcaster brands will
survive alongside celebrity, producer owned and
consumer ...
• What do you get when you combine video on demand (vod) platforms like
Netflix and social media sites like twitter?
• Hyp...
• Netflix is now turning it’s eye to factual and is planning on
commissioning original programming in this space
• Accordi...
Prediction 3:
VOD platforms will be the premier delivery
platforms for content and eclipse TV as the major
documentary com...
What are we watching?
• Trend for factual TV in US towards
“reality TV”, character based
programming and scripted shows
• ...
• “Reality TV” is essentially extension of the observational documentary genre –
this is not something to be scared of
• I...
Prediction 4:
Factual TV and documentaries will continue to
reign strong in 2020 with the genre as a whole
becoming even m...
Other Factors?
• Full commissions are becoming rarer and rarer
• Some international markets are booming whilst
others are ...
Prediction 5:
International co-productions will feature heavily in
the programming of the future with new major co-
produc...
Factual TV 2020
• Change is over estimated in the short term but under estimated in the long
term
• Viewers won’t suddenly...
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Predictions for the Future of Factual TV in the Year 2020

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Leila Monks' predictions on the future of factual TV and documentaries in the year 2020 as presented at the Australian International Documentary Conference 2014 in Adelaide, Australia.

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Predictions for the Future of Factual TV in the Year 2020

  1. 1. Factual Television in the year 2020… Leila Monks Australian International Documentary Conference March 2014
  2. 2. 1. How are we watching? 2. What are we watching? 3. Other factors affecting our industry? Factual TV 2020
  3. 3. How are we watching? • Media consumption via TV has dropped • Mobile media consumption has increased (thank you Steve Jobs)
  4. 4. Australia (Think TV) Time spent watching TV Technology in the home
  5. 5. Prediction 1: Mobile or digital delivery will be premier way of consuming content. Factual TV 2020
  6. 6. • How we consume media evolves from a “sit back” to a “lean forward culture • Viewer essentially searches for the content they want to view effectively cutting out the editorial role of the broadcaster • In this sea of available digital content only the strongest traditional broadcaster brands will survive • BBC 1 – strong brand proposition, ahead of competitors with iplayer – reserving its spot now in the digital media landscape of the future • Personal brands will also play a role • Jamie Oliver good example – his Food Tube channel has over 700,000 subscribers • Owning a “vertical” on YouTube and building a community of subscribers • Content going straight from producer to consumer • Zig Zag launching “All Time Magic” channel on YouTube to own the magic space
  7. 7. • YouTube: audience relationship is 1:1 as opposed to TV which is 1: however many thousands or millions • Audience engagement is key to success and building communities around content • Launching a YT channel takes investment but can be done at relatively low cost and is also great way to test out new talent/formats • Dynamic environment and potential new revenue stream • Red Bull great example of consumer brand owning a “vertical” on YouTube and investing heavily in content • Synonymous with adrenalin fuelled programming • Felix Baumgartner space jump sponsored by Red Bull live streamed on YouTube to 8 million viewers worldwide and also aired on Discovery • Huge success for Red Bull and YouTube
  8. 8. Prediction 2: Only strongest traditional broadcaster brands will survive alongside celebrity, producer owned and consumer brands that will all fund, produce and distribute their own content. Factual TV 2020
  9. 9. • What do you get when you combine video on demand (vod) platforms like Netflix and social media sites like twitter? • Hyped up scripted series that EVERYONE is watching e.g.. Breaking Bad • VOD means you no longer need to worry about missing an episode of your favourite drama series and viewers “binge view” to catch up with their friends and join the debate on twitter, Facebook etc. • Subscription based VOD is a viable business model • Netflix outbid AMC, HBO, Showtime and other US nets to secure premiere rights to House of Cards – Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos ran the numbers and they indicated that Kevin Spacey would be a hit on the platform – and they weren’t wrong • Another edge VOD has over TV – accurate data on their viewers and who is watching what – content can be specifically targeted • TV used to be the poor cousin of cinema – not anymore with A-listers queuing up to be in the next cult drama
  10. 10. • Netflix is now turning it’s eye to factual and is planning on commissioning original programming in this space • According to some sources Netflix made $200 million out of Australia last year – unofficially! • So there is an audience there hungry for this content and this method of delivery • Channel Nine is set to launch it’s stand alone VOD service any day now • This will offer Australian viewers a package of content for Australian $15 dollars a month • Could this be the Australian Netflix?
  11. 11. Prediction 3: VOD platforms will be the premier delivery platforms for content and eclipse TV as the major documentary commissioners. Commissioning decisions will be based on data. The cult/hype factor of documentary will rise to the same current level as scripted projects. Factual TV 2020
  12. 12. What are we watching? • Trend for factual TV in US towards “reality TV”, character based programming and scripted shows • Lots more hybrid type concepts also being produced for example Raw TV’s “The Imposter” and Channel 4’s “Gogglebox” • Does this mean the death of documentaries as we know them?
  13. 13. • “Reality TV” is essentially extension of the observational documentary genre – this is not something to be scared of • It’s great that “reality TV” and character based shows are maintaining audience interest in this genre - what is the point of making something unless it is watched by a decent number of people? • Creativity in the genre is a good thing – producers need to embrace this • Documentary will always rate and compared to scripted is cheap to produce – one of Seven Network’s highest rated shows was “The Man with the Biggest Testicles” (what that tells us about humanity I will leave up to you) • Character based shows become derivative after a while and the viewers will tire • However good stories, well told –will always bring in audiences
  14. 14. Prediction 4: Factual TV and documentaries will continue to reign strong in 2020 with the genre as a whole becoming even more creative Factual TV 2020
  15. 15. Other Factors? • Full commissions are becoming rarer and rarer • Some international markets are booming whilst others are in decline • International co-productions are a great way to raise financing for shows that may otherwise not get funded • Traditional co-pro territories: UK, North America, France, Germany, Australia • New co-pro territories: China and Brazil • Producers must have international outlook or work with someone who does • Group M Entertainment is the content arm of major advertising agency Group M in the UK • Investors in content with over 15 shows currently in production • Shows airing on Channel 5 and Channel 4 • Provide 100% of the budget in return for a share of the IP
  16. 16. Prediction 5: International co-productions will feature heavily in the programming of the future with new major co- production territories of China and Brazil More advertising agencies will invest in content arms and provide a significant amount of funding for factual TV and documentaries Factual TV 2020
  17. 17. Factual TV 2020 • Change is over estimated in the short term but under estimated in the long term • Viewers won’t suddenly stop watching TV next week or even next year • But companies need to think about future proofing themselves now – will they exist in the digital landscape of 2020? • BBC3 has been axed – that’s prediction 2 manifesting already • It’s important to build partnerships with the right people to ensure your company will thrive into 2020 and beyond • The future for the factual genre is bright – very bright – and it’s the most creative and forward thinking producers who will capitalise on the never ending appetite for factual content • Commissioning Editors – best start looking for another job now • (joke) • Hope to see you all in 2020!

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