Big headlines in chocolate letters on the front page of my favourite Dutch daily newspaper de Volkskrant: THE TV REVOLUTION WILL FINALLY REACH HOLLAND THIS SUMMER. Apparently, I’m no great Media insider. I had no idea what the headlines were referring to. (Originally published on EBUzz)
I assumed it might have something to do with Rupert Murdoch’s move into Dutch TV football. Recently Fox ‘bought’ the top Dutch football league in a 12 year, €1bn deal launching a free-to-air channel aimed at undermining the strong position of Dutch public service broadcaster NOS.But no, it concerned the arrival of Netflix, the American provider of on-demand internet streaming services and connected TV. The article was in no doubt: the winners will be viewers.A special Vison2020 session at the General Assembly in Malta (28/6) focused on the impact of Netflix and the other ‘new kids on the block,’ like Hulu, Google, YouTube, Spotify, Telcos – on Europe’s media landscape.The classic media value chain is evolving into a ‘value network’ with the emergence of new gatekeepers – mainly global players mainly from the USA. Market players are taking up new roles: cable companies now offer video services; search engines like Google invest in content production.Some of the gatekeepers may eventually even dominate the whole chain from production to audience consumption. Roles are blurring. And the role PSM seeks to play in this value chain is still unclear.
Should we compete or cooperate with the new kids – or with our local commercial competitors? Andif we cooperate, should it be in the areas of distribution and/or content production?Or should we focus entirely on our own navigation platforms, creating Electronic Programme Guides(EPGs) or Video-on-Demand (VOD) services?It’s a topic which occupied the minds of the senior echelons of the EBU Community attending the GA, and one which frequently engages the Vision2020 Experts Groups.To set the stage, NRK’s new Director General, Thor Gjermund Eriksen described the new media landscape in Norway to the GA – sharing his experience of coproducing the international drama series Lilyhammer in cooperation with Netflix.VRT’s Dieter Boen – a Member of the Content & Audience Experts Group 1, followed – providing insights into the business model of Stievie, an experimental Over The Top content (OTT) platform for catch-up video, jointly run by VRT and Flemish commercial broadcasters.The lively debate his presentation sparked underlined that these are matters for urgent consideration. PSM want to do more than produce quality content; we want to aggregate and distribute content and reaching audiences using our own platforms.At the same time, a number of participants expressed an open mind to the possibility of collaborating with external stakeholders, according to context, regulations and conditions.Remarkable for me, is the potential this represents to develop complex strategies based on PSM principles and pragmatism. Partnerships can be advantageous: access to global players with experience and expertise from a parallel media world. Partnerships can also be useful to reach audiences on new platforms. Ever heard the expression, ‘compete on content, and cooperate on technology and distribution services?’It’s too soon for definitive conclusions and generalisations. But these are all starting points for experimentation and learning ‘by doing.’ As part of a broader and active approach to innovation, in the search for new directions.
At the Trends Conference in Brussels (31/5) Futurist Alan Moore urged us all to ‘replace fear of change with curiosity’. At the GA, I learned from Dieter Boen to add ‘innovative action’ to the equation. Collaborate with the new kids on the block? It’s child’s play!