From Duopoly to Micropoly
The TV market is going right through an industrial revolution.
In Spain, it comes from an unsustainable model, a duopoly, and it is aiming towards another unsustainable model, the “Micropoly”. Something like a ferocious competitiveness in a hyper fragmented market.
We come from a TV duopoly which has severely harmed the entire market. It appears that no one in the Department went to the trouble of going over their notes when licences were handed out and fusions were permitted. When two players dominate a market of thirty, the quality of the offer diminishes. A duopoly does not have to invest in better contents, all it has to do is recycle and unify commercials. It makes it impossible to compete, because the rest cannot invest where they understand to be no payback. The result: a traditional TV which is becoming a container of obsolete formats, with anachronical experiences and an audience on the run.
More than speaking of trash TV, it would be better to talk about bad contents that cannot connect with the present audience. That which demands experiences different from the XX century ones. José Mota does not move masses like Rubius. In “Sálvame”, they ignore what Salseo o LULZ are, although they have educated generations of trolls. In “Teledeporte”, Twitch Gameplays are never mentioned. If TV is moving away from the 15-35 target, where are brands going to invest?
It is easier to deny the facts. One simple example is to be found in TV ratings measurement. A new formula has been created to measure “invited viewers”, those who are supposed to be sitting on the other sofa watching TV with you. Well, in a multiscreen and fragmentated society, oh surprise, now there are more invited viewers in your lounge. Magic. Just as when the music industry changed the definition of “Gold Record” by removing several zeros and trying, unsuccessfully, to maintain the status of the prize.
But things get more complicated when, added to the traditional TV market, an alternative better TV market surges from one day to the next. Between the magical year 2007 when YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and the first IPhone converged and today, over a decade has past. Yes, just like that. Who would have believed this.
This market opening is a stimulus for the industry. If Movistar has invested in two super productions as “La Peste” and “La Zona” it is due to closely suffering the pressure of competence. If “La Casa de Papel” has been a worldwide success, more than due to A3, it has been due to Netflix. A global, competitive, and innovative market favours the industry, and forces to invest in quality, to risk, to launch, to play on long terms, to invent business models.
However, there are more players in this new market. New individual media called Youtubers or Influencers. When you buy your next car, you will hesitate between reading a review in a motor magazine or in the YouTube canal of a mechanic. And as if that wasn’t enough, now even the written media make videos, programs and contents as if they were television. And without forgetting radio, which also broadcasts video programs.
But this revolution is even wider. Brands, those commercials which used to sustain TVs, are now also TVs. From clients to competitors. The You Tube Canal of Playstation Spain, has gathered more than 1 M faithful subscribers. 30-50K organic viewers are obtained per video, more than many in prime time pay canals. Programs, series, live shows or contests that rob minutes of TV consuming. What will happen when Nike, BMW or the other 500 advertisers from Infoadex come on board?
What is clear is that we are facing a hyper fragmentated market. There are so many channels for so many devices, that we can offer unique and niche experiences. There are so many offers, that only those who offer true value actually stand out. We must stop prioritising audience quantity and learn to value quality, working with very faithful micro audiences.
A model difficult to sustain through the classic sales advertising, and which is forcing to create new business models, related to, for example, Branded Content. Fox or National Geographic are only two examples of channels which are innovating in this field.
Producers, distributors and brands are destined to get together and reinvent TV. The Duopoly and the rest of the television market, are on time to take benefit from their vantage position and to lead this transformation.
It will be necessary to risk in order to win.
Just like buying Boomerang and selling Waikiki.