Tv is Dead. Long Live Online Streaming

26th April 2019

written by George Hughes

As recently as 5 years ago, the vast majority of us would have tuned into our favourite show via our TV sets… at home… probably on the sofa. Today, the picture is very different. Almost half of adults aged 22 to 45 are not watching content on traditional TV platforms (AdAge) and 64.8 million people born between 1981 and 1996 will watch streaming videos or downloaded videos on a device at least once a month (Forbes). TV as we know is dead. Long live online streaming! Of course, TV isn’t actually dead. But the way we consume it has changed forever. Many people will still flick the TV on to catch their favourite series as it is released whether that’s X Factor or Silent Witness, but for most of us, on-demand has replaced live viewing as our preferred method of consuming any type of television content. And for Millennials and Generation Z who have come of age in a digital world,  BBC and ITV are increasingly shunned in favour of subscription based services like Netflix or Amazon or user generated content sites like Youtube. 

 

The writing has been on the wall for analogue TV for at least 2 decades and when the analogue signal was switched off in 2017 forcing every individual to access television via a digital box, it wasn’t a great surprise to the industry. The emergence of super-fast broadband that removed the need to have a sky dish or cable TV to access more than 5 channels of television was one of the biggest driving factors behind the shift in the television landscape. That… and the arrival of 3G and cheap mobile data which has allowed video streaming in the palm of your hand.

 

It’s surprising to find that Netflix has actually been around since 1997. It started life as a DVD rental business but began streaming online video in 2007, just 2 years after Youtube was founded. Today Netflix has 139 million paid subscribers worldwide and on Youtube, one billion hours of content are watched every single day. YouTube is ranked as the second-most popular site in the world after Google (Alexa Internet). And, whilst Netflix and Youtube may have paved the way for online video, there are now dozens of different streaming platforms from Disney+ to Apple TV, Now TV to Facebook Watch, TikTok, Instagram TV and Amazon Prime.

 

There’s huge money behind these platforms. Facebook will spend a “measly” $1 billion on video content this year compared to Amazon’s $4 billion spend last year and Netflix’s projected $8 billion spend for 2019 (Media Post). Also this year, Amazon and Netflix have said they will be investing in UK TV production, and will help to promote these shows on both platforms (Video News). However, the question is, will this bring traction to TV broadcasters or, will audiences be tuning into their SVOD (Streaming Video On Demand) services to watch the shows? An Ofcom report released in the summer found that huge investment in original content by digital players has seen subscriptions to SVOD services in the UK overtake subscription to pay-TV services. Ofcom also found that last year that after a period of sustained growth, pay-TV subscription revenues fell in the UK for the first time, falling by 2.7 percent to £6.4 billion. Unsurprisingly as UK consumers turn their back on conventional television viewing in favour of subscription based streaming platforms, they also turn their back on advertising. TV advertising income fell significantly last year, declining seven percent year-on-year in real terms to £3.9 billion (Video News).

 

So what does this mean for brands who have, in the past relied on TV advertising to reach their customers? You guessed it, they’ve started to pump more and more of their budget into online advertising. Last year, digital advertising increased by 9.5% in the UK (emarketer) with video being the fastest growing medium. The exciting thing is that marketers looking to get an edge over their competitors are putting budget behind incredible branded content that is shining a spotlight on their products and services. Volvo, Heineken and Dove are not only running heavy hitting multi-channel campaigns with a hero piece of video content at it’s heart, but many like Patagonia, Red Bull and Nike are becoming publishers in their own right with Youtube channels that include regular, engaging video content that is enjoyed by millions of people.

 

As we, the consumer, become accustomed to subscription TV viewing, the days of sitting through 5 minutes of TV adverts seem like a distant memory. No surprise then, that we actively avoid spending time online in places where we are being hit with constant adverts. With Youtube releasing its own subscription service, it begs the question how long we will have to wait before Facebook, Instagram and other platforms follow suit? Moving forward, brands will have to work harder and harder to get their message seen by their audience and commissioning branded content will be one of the best ways to do that.

If your food or drink brand doesn’t have a great personality, you’ll leave a very bitter taste with your customers and will struggle to connect with the Millennials and Generation Z consumers of today… 

1600 new food and drink products are brought to market each year in the UK (LSEG). That’s a sh*t ton of choice and this abundance means consumers are incredibly discerning about the brands they buy into. In fact, Millennials are said to be the pickiest generation when it comes to food (NYPost) and yet at the same time the most impulsive buyers, with nearly 1 in 5 Millennials admitting to impulse shopping every day (Finder).

With 90% of Millennials spending time online every single day (Google) it’s never been more important for brands to be sending out the right message and connecting with audiences in the digital space. 

The proliferation of social media means that consumers have endless access to information making them a lot more culturally aware. In the last couple of years people’s attitudes to food and drink has radically changed, particularly in western countries Millennials and Generation Z have totally redefined the FMCG industry. In fact, 25% of teens aged 15-17 say they worry about staying healthy and another 49% agree that drinking soda is unhealthy (Mintel). And Millennials are far more attracted to personalisation with 77%  of them thinking that it makes a food brand more attractive (Askatest).

They aren’t just concerned with the consumption of food however, with so many Millennials spending a lot more time on social media and having their lives on display, the image and identity of the food they consume is extremely important and acts as an extension of their own personality (Kantarmedia). Now the phrase “How to Cook This” is the most searched on Youtube and on Instagram there are over 3 million posts containing the hashtag #avocado (Onebrandmagic). Incredibly 1 in 4 Millennials and Gen Z’s share images of food and search for food products online everyday (PSL) and according to a study by Maru/Matchbox, 69 percent of millennials take a photo or a video of their food before eating.

Whether you’re a restaurant, smoothie or chocolate bar, your brands identity on-and-offline is extremely important. Your consumers today are going to resonate more with the brands that seem to share their values and lifestyles, represent what they do or want to represent, are building personal connections through relatable and engaging content, and, are providing them with a more individual experience. Brands like Cadbury show us that you don’t need to be an all plant based and organic product to do this, instead you just need to connect with them, show them your brand’s personality, and resonate with them on an emotional level. Cadbury recently decided to change their brand’s personality from being loud and quirky to being a lot more family-led and down-to-earth. This was specifically to “reconnect with consumers” (The Drum), and their recent adverts have been very down-to-earth and relatable to a large UK audience of different age, gender and status.

Cadbury Inventor – Go Madbury UK

Cadbury – Mum’s Birthday

Cadbury – Coast

Creating video content can be one of the most effective ways to showcase your brand’s personality, especially online, and it’s why a lot of food and drink brands decide to create brand films. A brand film gives the audience an instant deep dive into your brand’s personality, background and story, and it gives the audience something to instantly connect and engage with, making your brand a lot more relatable. It will typically be the first thing a customer sees and will help inspire and formulate a positive first impression.

Ugly Drinks exploded onto the UK market last year with this killer brand film which encompasses their personality very well. They’re bold, they’re disruptive and they have a problem with sugar. Here’s a quote from an interview with the Founder of Ugly Drinks “Our fans love to be seen with the cans, they buy our merch from the website and they stick our stickers everywhere!” (Business Advice).

Ugly Drinks – It’s Time for the Ugly Truth

The personality of your brand is going to be what sets you aside from all the other food and drink businesses out there and it is going to be your greatest asset when building loyal customers. That’s why focusing attention on building a brand personality online through platforms like Instagram, your website and Youtube has become so important. They help you to connect with your customers, spread a message and help you to build a loyal following. Once you achieve that loyal tribe it will be a lot easier for your brand to tackle larger demographics. Brands like McDonalds have always been nailing this part of their marketing and are now providing a personality that is relatable to millions of customers. The reason it works so well for them is because they know who their customers are, they know what their customers want to see from them and they know why their customers buy their products.

In this advert by McDonalds “More in Common” we can see the way they connect with multiple demographics based on multiple personalities and this in turn showcases McDonalds as being inclusive, down-to-earth and enjoyable for everyone.

McDonalds – More in Common

Consumers today want to see the brand behind the product, they want to see your personality and they want you to speak to them as an individual. You can read our other blogs to find out how to connect with your customers online and best spread your brand’s personality through video.
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