How Can We Maximise the Power of Premium Content in a Post-Lockdown Environment?

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Broadcaster’s premium content had a renaissance over the lockdown as viewers sought information and diversion while brands sought a platform whose brand-safe environment could be relied upon. But there is so much content and so many platforms out there that whether you’re a viewer or a brand, finding the right content and the right platform demands a lot of time and effort. In such a fragmented and crowded market, why should brands take advantage of the premium content offered by broadcasters today given how many choices their audiences have?

One of lockdown’s main findings was that people were watching more TV across all devices. While we were all confined to the four walls of our houses, average daily viewing times skyrocketed worldwide; up 14% year-on-year in the UK to 4h25[1]; peaking at an almighty 5h51[2] in the US, which represented a 9% increase YoY; and France’s increased by 9% year-on-year to 4h53[3]. What is more surprising is that this trend has persisted as lockdown restrictions ease globally –  France, for example, recorded a 12%[4] increase on daily average viewing time throughout August 2020 compared to the same month the year prior. It seems that viewers are not abandoning their source of information and escapism from lockdown.

It is not just linear TV that has had such success, digital players have accelerated their pre-Covid growth too. Broadcasters’ YouTube content, such as Britain’s Got Talent, Le Meilleur Pâtissier and Ninja Warrior Germany, gained 3% of the total video views share over lockdown, resulting in 18%[5] of the audience share. Moreover, it is estimated that we will watch 1h10 of BVOD content per day by 2020, compared to the 44[6] minutes that we watched in 2018. Greater audiences enhance premium content’s power and attraction.

Although BVOD viewing is generally on the rise, the VOD market is so fragmented that premium, brand-safe and most importantly free content stand out in a competitive marketplace. Consumers have little desire to overspend on SVOD services (26%[7] of those who end their subscriptions blame it on financial reasons), as such ad-supported services seem to be preferred; 77%[8] of Brits prefer free ad-supported services than paid-for ad-free options.

Recent technological innovations have also strengthened BVOD’s appeal to advertisers. For ad-supported VOD (AVOD), the sky’s the limit; its revenues rose 10%[9] between 2018 and 2020 and they are expected to reach $53.32 million[10] by 2025, which is double its 2020 revenue. Connected TV (CTV) sets unlock Addressable TV’s capabilities, which are the driving force behind AVOD’s dramatic growth. Therefore, as BVOD viewing increasingly takes place on CTVs (63%[11] of monthly 6play users have CTV sets), advertisers are able to both reach larger audiences and target them more efficiently, based on where they live, what content they consume and many other variables.

The lockdown also boosted CTV’s usage. As the world stopped and life moved to the sofa, so did video consumption. In their pre-pandemic 2021 forecast, e-marketer stipulated that consumers would spend 57 minutes watching online video on smartphones and tablets and 41[12] minutes on CTVs. However, their updated post-lockdown 2021 forecast has inverted these predictions, consumers are now expected to spend 49 minutes digesting online video on smartphones and tablets and 53 minutes on CTVs[13].

Whether it be content on Linear TV or digital platforms, brands value premium content. Premium content has a greater uplift than any other type of video; campaigns aligned with it have 74% more likeability, 20% more engagement from consumers and 30% more memorability[14]. Furthermore, when brands run cross-media campaigns alongside premium content, the brand’s affinity amplifies by 22%[15] compared to campaigns run in isolation.

All of this seems easy in theory. Run a cross-media campaign alongside premium content, job done. However, until recently, there was not a single touchpoint for brands to access exclusive premium content. Yet, as one of a number of recent technological developments, RTL AdConnect created a new ad-buying platform, called VMP connect. It is a one-stop-shop that provides simplified access for advertisers to purchase advertising slots automatically and quickly. It allows brands to manage their investments flexibly, to change their media strategy during a crisis that never ceases to surprise and to align themselves with the assets of their choice, whether that be sporting fixtures or reality TV. However, an ad-buying platform only provides half of the tools that a brand needs to increase its campaign’s ROI. An industry-wide cross-media measurement system would allow advertisers to assess their investments across linear TV, digital platforms and social media, thereby facilitating their decision-making processes.

In a world where deep-fakes are becoming commonplace and the Total Video landscape is becoming increasingly fragmented, brands must look to brand-safe, premium content to increase their campaign’s ROI. Broadcasters’ premium content is their main appeal which leaves only one thing to do: create more!


[1] eMarketer Time Spent with Media Forecast April 2020

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid.

[4] RTLAdConnect Media Partners – All Ind. – August 2020 vs August 2019

[5] Source: Views: Tubular Labs: based on views >1000 views, TOP 5 European countries, full 2019 vs 2018
Viewing time: Tubular Labs standardized audience metrics (Beta), cross-platform (YT/FB), France, Germany, Dec 2019, Based on top 20K influencer, media and brand creators.

[6] Sources Rakuten Advertising – 5,000 consumers across Europe: the UK, France, Germany Spain, Italy and the Netherlands., emarketer (ages 18+ – includes all desktop/laptot, mobile and other nonmobile connected-device time watching video on subscription)

[7] Sources Journal Du Net Rakuten – Qualtrics study on 5000 consumers across UK, France, Germany, Spain, Italy and Netherlands, 2020, Kantar World Panel , Zdnet –  Park Associates, Unruly study

[8] Ibid.

[9] Sources Mediapost

[10] Ibid.

[11] Source: local Media Partners 2019

[12] Source: eMarketer, time spent with Media April 2020 vs April 2019

[13] Ibid.

[14] Sources: Integral Ad Science, May 2018

[15] Source: Think TV, Not All Reach is Equal, 2019 Sales uplift = Did Buy and  Exposed / Did Buy and Not Exposed

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