Mid November in future years will become a time of dread for those involved in the traditional broadcast space. Why? It’s when Ofcom publish their “Children and Parents: Media Use and Attitudes” report. The above link will take you to the report headlines and the full report.
Why dread? The latest report finally confirmed what many people, including myself, have been saying for some time, young people are abandoning TV in pursuit of other delights online. For the first time ever the internet has overtaken TV as the top media pastime for children in the UK. Whilst young people’s consumption of TV remains high, the worry for traditional broadcasters is that the content they are viewing on the big screen in the living room is also being cannibalised by the new kids on the block, the Netflixes, Amazon Primes and YouTube.
Whilst adults remain as gatekeepers for content, the choices available to their offspring have exploded beyond the EPG and thanks to the Smart TV these digital first individuals know how to navigate beyond these traditional boundries. I have first hand experience of this from my 8 and 4 year old daughters who “binge view” on new discoveries (in a controlled and rationed way of course), recent favourites include Dinosaur King an animated series from 2008 and Mia and Me a European mix of live action and animated fairies and unicorns. Both of these come via Netflix, so although the content comes via the internet it is counted as TV viewing.
The other headline news, and the most important for broadcaster, is the fact they’re watching fewer “programmes” and more “UGC” User Generated Content, game walkthroughs, Vloggers, toy unboxing and other kids plating with toys….
So what does this mean for traditional broadcasters? How do they occupy these new spaces? Should they? Should this mean an increased diversion from TV production budgets in to these areas?
The challenge this poses for the Welsh language and Wales is even greater. The vast majority of this UGC content being viewed in Wales is in English and from beyond Offas Dyke. With more and more young people preferring this type of content and the pressures on PSB budgets tightening annually how do we ensure content of this type is created in sufficient volume to make an impact in Wales in both Welsh and English.
When discussing the future of “broadcast” in Wales this must be made a priority. Times are a changing at rate never experienced before.
Huw Marshall is the former Head of Digital at S4C and now works as media consultant and digital strategist.