DESPITE THE GROWTH OF VOD LINEAR TV IS STILL CRUCIAL

Linear TV is still a key source of revenue and profits for broadcasters despite the rise of video-on-demand (VOD) services. This was one of the key topics of  Innovation Day conference.

The Ministry of Industry and Trade (MIT) will continue to support the free-to-air digital terrestrial broadcasting (DTT) platform beyond 2030. Miloš Mastník, general director of Czech Radiocommunications (CRA), said this at Innovation Day conference. The future of DTT to be decided next year at the WRC 2023 conference in Geneva, which will give a hint as to whether DTT broadcasters will be able to use their existing frequency spectrum. CRA CEO Mastnik is confident that DTT broadcasting has a future beyond 2030. This is due to the current economic development, which will create a society-wide interest in maintaining DTT due to its free availability.

DTT broadcasting is still the most widespread form of TV signal reception in the Czech Republic. It is used by 54% of Czech households, and the penetration of DTT platforms has been relatively stable over time. The second strongest is IPTV reception, which has grown to 26% over the last years, on the other hand, the share of households using satellite broadcasting is decreasing (to 17.5%). In the second quarter of this year, the share of cable broadcasting increased to 13% (see chart below for more).

According to the CEO, Czech Radiokomunikace wants to further develop free-to-air DTT, but at the same time it is also seeking to develop other platforms such as HbbTV (currently 1.3 million TVs connected to HbbTV are registered) and OTT. “We are working on a paid content project and discussing the establishment of a national platform,” Miloš Mastník outlined the possibilities of developing paid content in DTT broadcasting.  However, discussions are only at the beginning, he said. Alongside this, the CRAs also have hopes for 5G broadcasting, which they have been testing since this spring and which is expected to bring benefits for TV broadcasting on mobile devices. The 5G testing is expected to expand to even more transmitters. The CRA also want to focus on the development of DAB+ digital radio broadcasting.

According to CRA’s director of regulatory affairs, Marcel Prochazka, linear TV broadcasting is a key source of revenue for broadcasters from a commercial perspective. Video-on-demand services (VOD, Netflix and others) are negatively affected by rising consumer prices, with VOD growth stalling in some Western markets, he said. This is also why some providers are trying to build advertising sales into their models to make the service cheaper for subscribers. “We are seeing an increase in AVOD services that are supported by advertising. They’re being talked about by Disney or Netflix, who are also considering their own linear free-to-air channels that will be ad-supported, which is similar to the kind of TV we know today,” Procházka said. In addition, he said the financial results show that revenues and even operating margins from linear TV broadcasting are still growing, while operating margins for internet VOD services are also negative.

Source: mediaguru.cz

AD SKIPPING RESTRICTIONS RETURNED TWO THIRDS OF GRPS

Media Club is satisfied with the introduction of ad skipping restrictions in the return view of IPTV operators, according to the first month results. According to Prima Group commercial director Vladimír Pořízek, about two first of GRPS ad returns have been made.

Since June, the Prima TV group has restricted the possibilities for skipping ads in the backview of IPTV operators. The introduction was justified by the need to protect advertising space following the growing share of video-on-demand viewership and the increasing popularity of internet TV, which, thanks to its back-viewing functionality, allows the viewer to watch programmes according to his or her time options, as well as skipping broadcast programmes, including ad breaks. Prima said that this trend would further weaken its advertising capacity in the future. After the first month of experience, commercial director Vladimír Pořízek says the restrictions have prevented the outflow of about two-thirds of advertising GRPs, thanks to the Media Club’s representation.

There is a growing concern about the future development of inflation, the impact on the cost of living and consumer behaviour. Are these developments having an impact on TV autumn campaign bookings? Are you registering reduced demand compared to the pre-holiday period?

We are not seeing a drop in demand yet. Commissioning companies learned to live with the fact that despite the restrictions, people had saved up and so the impact of these measures was not felt in sales. Consumer confidence may be down now and people are getting worried, but we are not seeing big changes in the behaviour of the sponsors yet. There are concerns and it looks like the crisis is knocking on the door. Yes, we are all preparing for it. But still, we saw it during the period of covid, when there was no crisis at all. Clients have the money so far and are planning their autumn campaigns. People still have savings and unemployment is still almost zero. The attitude of the government will be important. If it helps people financially and sort out energy prices, it is quite possible, in the most positive scenario, that there will be no major crisis. On the other hand, we do not know what will happen next, when people start receiving new bills or factories really start closing down as a result of the gas shortage, and it is premature to draw a picture for 2023. It depends on a lot of factors. We are working with different scenarios, but at the moment we do not know exactly what will happen from January.

Do you at least have an idea of what the price of TV advertising might look like for 2023, given that advertiser interest is high and advertising space is full?

Demand is strong, ad space is filled, and most importantly, GRPs are dwindling in linear TV, thanks to more competition from VOD services. In addition, our cost of entry is rising. All of these circumstances then translate into our pricing, which is why we plan to increase advertising prices for 2023.

And by how much? ASMEA estimates inflation in TV for this year at 10-15%, with general inflation at 20%…

I believe it will be at a similar level to last year (increases in the range of 11-16%, ed.). However, we are still monitoring market developments and will decide accordingly. Clients have the money so far and are planning their autumn campaigns. We will increase advertising prices for 2023.

When you presented the AdCross cross-platform measurements this spring, you outlined the trends for the next few years, which showed, among other things, that the GRP volume in linear TV broadcasting will decrease. Did you register a reduction in GRPs in the first half of 2022 compared to the first half of last year?

Yes, of course. Moreover, the trend has also intensified due to the fact that in the past years, TV viewership has increased due to the covid, while after the covid measures were lifted, it has declined steeply, and this is reflected in the lower number of linear GRPs. We cannot yet say how the launch of the additional pay video platform Disney+ in June has affected the number of GRPs. We have been helped by the introduction of restrictions on ad skipping in rewind viewing by IPTV operators from June. As a result, an interesting proportion of our GRPs have returned. But the trend is clear: we expect GRPs in linear TV to continue to decline in the future. It’s just a matter of how fast it will be and how it will be reflected in different audience groups. The more VOD services on the market, the more time people will spend on them, which will amplify the decline in linear GRPs. People have learned to pay for VOD services during covid, which is also a new thing, as there has long been scepticism about whether Czechs would be willing to pay for video content on the internet.

In June, you introduced restrictions on skipping adverts in rewatching for IPTV operators. So how many GRPs did you get back in July?

Two-thirds of the GRPs came back. Most operators are able to take advantage of not having to run full length ad spots as on linear TV, but shortened to about 3 minutes during the break. However, not all operators have been able to adapt their systems and implement these measures in this way. Two thirds of the returned GRPs represent over 2 thousand GRPs per month.

The trend is clear: we expect GRPs in linear TV broadcasting to continue to decline in the future. It’s just a matter of how fast it will be and how it will affect different audience groups.

Will there be any more changes to the functionality to limit ad skipping?

The functionalities remain the same for 2023. Our aim is to integrate operators into cross-platform viewership measurement. We are now inserting online advertising with three operators: betterTV (GoNet), Sledovani.tv and Grape. Crossplatform measurement will allow us to better target viewers and deliver better affinity to our clients on their campaigns.

And that should happen when?

We are working hard on the implementation now with BetterTV and Sledovani.tv and hope to deploy crossplatform measurement in the next 3-6 months.

During the last few years, the advertising market has been affected not only by covid, this spring the war in Ukraine has started. Have these events affected the behaviour of advertisers in different segments?

There were two problems during the covid era: some advertisers couldn’t sell and so had nothing to advertise, and the other group that could sell stopped needing advertising because people had nowhere else to spend their money and so their sales skyrocketed. Moreover, people also saved a lot of money during covid and started to spend it as the restrictions loosened up, even though inflation was flying upwards.

When it comes to Ukraine, advertisers did not want to place ads next to war programmes. So we had to withdraw selected programmes from the Prima Zoom channel, where we regularly include war documentaries in the programming schedule. It also affected news websites, which of course covered the war a lot, and not many advertisers wanted to be associated with that. As a group, however, we did not see a decline in overall advertising volume in the first half of the year.

Given the expected trends we’ve talked about, you’re trying to push eGRP sales into the market. What is their current share in the 15-69 target group?

So far, it’s only units of percentages. We are still at the beginning, we have to teach the market to trust eGRPs. We now have data that confirms that with eGRPs we can target younger target groups, women in particular, well and increase the affinity of campaigns.

One last question on the commercial policy for 2023. In the spring you talked about putting some of the advertising space up for auction. Is that still valid?

We will only auction part of the TV advertising space if there is excess demand. We process agency negotiations through special software in which each media agency can see the agreed terms and their parameters. The targets are set there for each client. If there is an excess of demand, it could happen that agreements with the lowest CPP value fall into the auction if they are not concluded in time. Absolutely every client will have the opportunity to close the deal in the standard way, but they must respond in a timely manner. However, if clients or agencies are speculating and there is an excess of demand over supply, it may be that they will overbid. We have already turned down several clients in the past year because their price was extremely low. However, this may not happen at all. In addition, we sell a very small portion of our GRPs in the so-called monthly auction if we are not sold out in a given month.

Zdroj: mediaguru.cz

„YOU CAN EITHER MAKE PEOPLE CRY AND LAUGH, OR YOU CAN’T SUCCEED IN THE TV BUSINESS,“ SAYS CME CHIEF DIDIER STOESSEL

CME Media Group CEO Didier Stoessel is one of the most influential figures in the domestic media business. The former investment banker with experience at HSBC and Merril Lynch is the top executive chosen by the PPF Group two years ago to bring the newly acquired CME Media Group back to the limelight. And Stoessel hasn’t held back at all – he has pulled creative producers and developers on his side („Having good content and a way to deliver it – that’s the name of the game these days“), hired triple the number of studios and is spending hundreds of millions on content production. On top of that, he has “revived” the then-stagnant Voyo, an online video library project, which he has made into one of the distinctive pillars of its strategy and which is now generating hundreds of millions in revenue a year. However, Stoessel still faces a number of challenges: competition in the market („Even though our biggest competition is sleep – that’s six to seven hours a day when you’re not consuming our content“), the economic slowdown or the steady decline in viewership of linear broadcasting. How does one of the most important Television executives in the Czech republic plan to deal with them?

Difficult times are coming to the Czech republic, with inflation climbing to 20 per cent, real wages falling and a recession on the horizon. What does this mean for Nova?

Of course, we are looking around, we know what is happening. Difficult times are coming, and they are not just affecting us, the TV companies, but most other sectors as well. For us, it’s specific in that households have a set entertainment budget and the moment that budget comes under pressure, we feel it.

Can you see in your numbers yet that people are cutting back?

It hasn’t fully manifested itself yet, but it will come as households are exposed to more and more costs. But even though we’re in for tougher times ahead, I don’t believe they’re going to change the overall trend – which is that the proportion of people looking for quality video content is increasing. Yes, there may be a slowdown, a hiccup, and we need to prepare and adapt, but that doesn’t mean we stop doing our job and offering people our content.

Plus, the good news is that in terrestrials, Nova’s broadcasts are free, so the bulk of our content can be watched by most households.

When Netflix presented its latest results, it showed that it had lost a million subscribers. As someone who’s building a similar service in the Czech Republic – does that worry you?

Our positions are different. Netflix is in 70 percent of households in the U.S. market, and it’s clear that if you have that kind of penetration and you’re newly competing with a growing number of other streaming companies, there are going to be fluctuations.

But the situation is different in the Czech republic and Slovakia. The penetration rate of SVOD services here is only around 25 percent, so I don’t think we’re going to see such a dramatic decline. On the other hand, low penetration means a great opportunity and I am convinced that, whether it takes three years or five years, we will eventually catch up with America and Western Europe in this respect.

SVOD: „Subscription Video on Demand“. It is an online video library to which the viewer subscribes and can then watch video content. These are services such as Netflix or Voyo.

AVOD: „Advertising-based video on demand“ or video on demand that is monetised by advertising. The viewer does not pay to watch the online video, but must watch an advertisement to watch it. This is the case, for example, with YouTube.

Linear broadcasting: „Live“ broadcasting as we know it, with programmes following each other organically, with a clear start time. The viewer adapts to the programme.

NON-LINEAR BROADCASTING: On-demand content that the viewer can watch when it suits them – for example, SVOD or AVOD. The programme adapts to the viewer.

Voyo’s SVOD service is a bet on the future for Nova, making it clear that you want to be at one million subscribers in three years. Are online video services like Voyo or Netflix the future of television?

It may be fashionable to think so now, SVOD is in the spotlight and these services are growing like mushrooms after the rain. But SVOD is only one part of the answer. What I’m really interested in is coming up with the ideal mix of channels through which our viewers can watch premium video. I want to create a robust, resilient model, a Nova Content Hub of sorts, where everyone chooses a service according to their preferences: some will watch linear TV, others SVOD, others AVOD, and still others will prefer formats like HbbTV.

My goal is not to focus on a single channel in this ecosystem, but to deliver content on each of them: each of us is different, and each of us watches TV differently – my job is to have all of these channels covered – and to be present in as many homes, tablets and mobile phones as possible.

If we can still focus on Voyo for a little bit longer – the trend around the world today is to introduce “ad-supported SVOD” subscription models. HBO and Hulu offer them, Netflix and others are testing them. Is this an approach that makes sense from your perspective?

The reason Netflix and others are introducing “ad-supported subscriptions” is simple – if you have the aforementioned 70 percent market penetration and you want to capture another 10 to 15 percent of households, you need to introduce a cheaper subscription model through which to lure new customers.

And that’s now happening, although the reintroduction of an ad-supported SVOD service will be interesting to watch in practice. Personally, I’m not at all sure that this ad-supported subscription model will be rolled out in Western markets, especially the premium market in the US. By trying to pick up 10 percent of new subscribers, Netflix could also cannibalize the 20 percent of current subscribers who currently pay full price. Conversely, this model will almost certainly be introduced in Asia, and in India, for example, Netflix could gain tens of millions of potential subscribers from this.

But don’t you foresee a similar model for Voyo?

We don’t. Voyo is in a different situation, it’s a premium product where original content is constantly growing: we currently have 35 scripted projects in development, pre-production or production for Voyo. When I joined CME two years ago, we had three such shows.

Isn’t this programming offensive coming at the expense of linear television?

We’re managing both – we’re developing a number of new shows for linear as well. We’ll unveil the fall programming schedule this week, and I think viewers will be surprised. Again, I’ll compare it to the time when PPF acquired Nova – it was a time that I’ve described before as a sleeping giant, there wasn’t enough development or new ideas.

I said then that my mission was to “reinvent Nova” – and now we are in the middle of that process. Storytelling, the content we produce, is key. In the TV business, you can either make people laugh and cry, or you won’t be successful. It’s that simple. That’s why half of my time is focused on developing new content, we have a strong creative team that perhaps exceeds the capabilities of Czech Television.

In the TV business, you can either make people laugh and cry or you won’t be successful. It’s that simple.

Full article for subscribers on info.cz.

Source: info.cz

VOYO IS DOING FUNDAMENTALLY BETTER THAN WE PLANNED. ORDINACE IS STILL THE DRIVING FORCE, SAYS DANIEL GRUNT OF CME

Daniel Grunt returned to CME a year ago as head of digital activities. His task was to secure one million subscribers for Voyo within five years. How’s it going?

There was no escaping that campaign. In the spring, Nova TV paid for billboards in the Czech Republic and Slovakia to promote its Voyo paid internet video library. No sooner had one campaign ended than another began – this time promoting a particular show, the miniseries Iveta. The three-part dramatic series about the early years of singer Iveta Bartosova’s career has become one of the most successful shows Voyo offers.

Voyo calls similar shows made just for Voyo the Voyo Original. They include the miniseries The Případ Roubal and Guru, the comedy series Národní házená, and the current premiere of Jitřní záře, a gripping story about an alternative family that wants to name a child according to their own rules. Coming up in the fall are Král Šumavy and the comedy novelty Guma.

“All the Voyo Originals are working extremely well for us. But the backbone is still Ordinace v růžové zahradě. The fact that we dared to flip it in the fall of 2021 from a linear broadcast, where it was still doing 900,000 to a million viewers on one broadcast day, helped us. It showed the market that we were serious. The series hasn’t gone down in quality, length or cast, it’s still the same. Rather, it has caught a second wind,” says Daniel Grunt, CME’s Chief Digital Officer.

It’s a testament to the strength of the series Ordinace that, unlike other series, it doesn’t take the usual summer break. Instead, it will launch a new sequel every week.

How to determine success

While Nova keeps track of how many viewers have watched a particular show, the more important metric is the number of subscribers gained. The total number of subscribers comfortably surpassed the 350,000 mark in the spring. The broadcaster will not publish more precise figures, as no video library on the market publishes similar business data. However, subscribers are growing faster than Nova itself expected.

“We are doing fundamentally better than we planned and dreamed. But we are not accelerating production plans because the ones originally announced were ambitious themselves,”

Grunt points out.

CME’s management’s mission is clear: to acquire one million paying users in the Czech and Slovak markets by 2026. So far, it looks like a realistic task. “But there is a huge question mark about what the economy will look like next year or in two years,” reminds the head of CME’s digital activities. Coincidentally, recently published surveys suggest that Czech households will start cutting back on culture, entertainment and other leisure activities.

In addition to how many people have paid for access to Voyo, TV stations are also interested in average viewing time. On average, users now spend 12 hours a week watching shows. Nova commissions various surveys that show Voyo has the highest proportion of users who watch daily or several times a week compared to competing services. Typical users are households of people in their thirties and forties, and Voyo has a greater representation of women compared to linear TV.

Betting on localism

No local service will ever have the budget of the global players. The annual investment by Netflix or Walt Disney in content production is in the tens of billions of dollars. Even if all the TV stations in the Czech market put their production budgets together, they wouldn’t pay the equivalent of one American series. That’s why Voyo highlights local themes, popular local actors and a wide library of domestic cinema. It has about 750 Czech films on offer.

However, the arrival of Disney+, HBO Max and other global apps on the Czech market also presents a complication when buying content from abroad. The biggest hits are jealously guarded by American production studios, who want to have exclusive films and series on their own platforms.

“So we are reaching out a little bit differently than the American film studios. For example, Scandinavian crime films work very well for us. We have quite a lot of interesting series from the UK, from the BBC and ITV. That’s something that works here, so we’ll keep going after interesting European work,”

Grunt hints at a buying strategy.

“In all the countries where CME operates, we want to be the strongest local service of first choice for people who want to watch quality local content. Whether it’s movies, series, or some shows, reality shows, whatever else. That’s the place we want to occupy in the market,” he explains.

“The biggest focus and investment at CME is on Voyo. It is the backbone of the entire digital transformation of CME in all the countries where we operate. Voyo cuts across the structure of TV stations, basically almost all teams. Then it automatically transforms the whole company,” Grunt continues. “Voyo may have been around for 11 years, but it went through waves where it was a priority, then again it wasn’t, it was in a drawer and AVOD – a free archive of shows with video advertising – was being pushed. With the arrival of a new owner, it’s become a key priority for the group again,” he explains.

Voyo has a different position in Slovenia, where they have developed paid content all the time, while they don’t have a free archive with ads at all. “Slovenia is very much a pay-TV market, they monetise all long-form content through Voyo. It’s a small market with two million inhabitants, but they developed Voyo and grew continuously. In all other markets, the Voyo curve was flat for a long time, it didn’t move for maybe ten years,” recalls the director of digital activities.

In the Czech Republic, Voyo’s development has been very fast. “We are still learning. As it grows quickly under our hands, we often forget to realise that we have only been working on it for a little over a year,” concludes Daniel Grunt. CME wants to use the experience gained for other markets.

Source: lupa.cz

PRIMA WILL START AUCTIONING OFF PART OF THE SPACE NEXT YEAR

The Prima Group is trying to counter the expected outflow of advertising GRPs in linear TV and will introduce auction sales for part of its advertising space from 2023, following restrictions on rewind advertising in IPTV. And it is already announcing price increases.

The Prima Group and its media agency Media Club will come up with a novelty in selling advertising space from 2023. Following efforts to cope with the expected outflow of advertising GRPs in linear TV, it will introduce auction sales for part of its advertising space after limiting rewind advertising in IPTV. Clients with the lowest CPP will fall into it, Prima’s commercial director Vladimir Pořízek described in an interview.

At the AdCross tool presentation, you described trends in video content viewership, predicting a decline in linear TV and an increase in video-on-demand (VOD) viewership. Specifically, how do you estimate that linear TV viewership may evolve in 2022 and next year in 2023, and what trends do you expect more specifically for VOD?

According to the numbers, we can see that linear TV viewership grew until 2017, then stagnated for a year and has been declining since 2019, also due to the large number of VOD services on the market. This decline was halted by the covid-19 pandemic, when people stayed at home and watched TV. After people returned to normal life, this decline started to show again. For the number of GRPs available in the market, the situation is even more complicated because the ad-skipping capability of IPTV operators takes away a lot of free space to air ads.

We expect the decline of linear TV to continue in the future. Firstly, the number of VOD services will grow – Disney+, Amazon Prime are due to come to our market this year alone, and there will be a joint service between Discovery+ and Warner Bross. And there will also be a growing trend towards watching TV via IPTV operators with delayed viewing services. In Sweden, for example, linear TV now accounts for only 50% of all video viewing.

How much might the number of TV GRPs decrease this year and next as a result of these changes?

Our expectations are somewhere around 3% in the 15-69 target group and 5% in the 15-54 group per year, but these are rather optimistic expectations. We’ve seen much bigger and faster inventory declines around the world, and that was when there weren’t as many VOD services in the market and there wasn’t as fast internet.

What will this mean for Prima as an important player in the commercial TV market? How will you respond to this?

We have been watching this trend for a long time and preparing for it for no less time. Leaving aside the inevitable price increases, one of the next “steps” is the cross-platform metering we introduced this year. It may not make up for all the lost inventory, but we firmly believe that eGRPs will increase and at least partially limit the decline.

So do you expect to see further increases in TV advertising prices? Since when and by how much?

That will be a reality in a declining market, unfortunately. The only question is how much prices will rise and how these price increases will happen. Many clients are convinced that tenders will always bring the price down. They often hear this from their advisors – media auditors. But this fact may have been true in a market where the media space was not sold out. This year, unfortunately, we had to turn down a few long-term clients who had a low price and listened to their advisors’ voices that they should insist on these, for us, no longer feasible conditions… So they ended up with a competitor, but at a much higher price… More than a third of our inflation this year is driven by the fact that we are limiting clients with low CPP. Then for next year, we are preparing another innovation, and that is making deals involving auction principles in the normal negotiation.

What exactly does this mean? Does it mean that you will sell the space at auction?

Yes, we will, but not all of it. We will be selling most of the space in a similar way as before. We do intend to sell the last remnants of our inventory to the lowest bidding clients by auction.

“Price growth will already be a reality in a declining market. The only question is how much prices will rise and how this price increase will happen.”

So what will it look like?

Our negotiations will be divided into several phases. The first phase is called the “preliminary round”. In this preliminary phase, all our clients can ask us for an offer. If they like the offer and take advantage of it, the deal is already done. In the second phase, the standard negotiation as clients and agencies know it takes place, with the only difference that the deal is closed not only by both parties agreeing on the price, but also another condition must be met. This condition is the profitability for the Media Club or TV group. This second phase is divided into several rounds and only a limited number of deals are concluded in each round. Which deal is concluded and in which round is then determined by the profitability for the TV group, which is determined by both the CPP and the volume. The higher the CPP, the better for Media Club/TV, and of course the higher the guarantee, the better for Media Club/TV. Usually, however, clients want a lower CPP for a higher guarantee. So this balance is a delicate thing. The last stage is then the actual auction, which is where the clients with the lowest CPP will fall. But even this stage is limited by space, so some clients may not be reached at all. This should motivate clients to close their deal in the preliminary stage or increase their CPP in the auction.

Do you really believe this will work?

Of course, it will only work if there is an overhang of client demand over TV supply, which is very difficult to predict these days. Nobody knows what will happen next. Will there be a recession? How quickly? For how long?

But we are counting on all possibilities. If there is no excess demand, we always have the option to sell the space without an auction and accept all clients. But even that would only be a matter of a year. With the decline in GRPs that we expect, the demand must necessarily climb back above the supply within one to two years at most.

“Clients with the lowest CPP will fall into the last phase of the auction. But even this phase is limited by space and so some clients may not be reached at all.”

Which type of video on demand (AVOD, SVOD, TVOD) will develop most dynamically on the Czech market and how will the development of the SVOD market be affected by the arrival of foreign players this year?

I think neither. Until now, we have been fed by advertising, so I hope that it will be the so-called HVOD models, i.e. models where clients pay a certain amount for a premium VOD service, but the amount is much less than the usual amount, because viewers are served a limited amount of advertising in addition to exclusive content. As the number of VOD services increases, so will the willingness of viewers to migrate between services. It’s a trend we’re seeing across platforms. The vast majority of viewers take the opportunity to pay for a service, test it for three months and then perhaps cancel it again. That’s why we see the hybrid model as an appropriate solution for our market. Viewers can minimize the fee and retain multiple services. According to many market surveys, more than 75% of viewers perceive advertising as payment for services and are therefore comfortable with it. Moreover, even Netflix has already announced that it will introduce this service model.

Prima also wants to enter the SVOD field this year. Do you already know whether you will sell advertising as part of your SVOD service and what monetization model will you choose?

I believe in the freedom of choice for users, so I hope we will offer all models of content monetisation. But we haven’t reached a final decision yet.

From June, there should also be an announced plan to limit ad skipping in back-viewing for IPTV operators. Last year, you reported that you lost 30,000 GRPs due to the skipping option. How many GRPs can you “save” with this move?

Our main motivation for having to take this step was to prevent further GRP loss, as the trend of GRPs starting to decline was exponential rather than linear. With the growing share of IPTV operators in the distribution of our channels and the growing share of deferred viewing/back-viewing, we simply wouldn’t have anything to sell in a couple of years. The second question is whether we will add any GRPs. I firmly believe that a smaller portion of our inventory will even come back. But we really don’t expect any big numbers.

Prima is talking about a total video strategy for the coming years. Can you give an indication of what the distribution of Prima’s trading inventory will look like for next year and how the trading will be distributed between linear TV, delayed TV or different types of video-on-demand?

We currently have about 3% of our viewership in online inventory, but we only use about 1% on average for eGRPs. The rest we sell on impression as standard. Deferred viewing is currently around 14% and we expect to see growth there in the future. Given that operators have a choice of how to limit ad rollover – for example, by shortening the ad block or replacing linear advertising with online advertising – it will be difficult to predict whether deferred or online inventory will grow faster. But as I said, the classic linear one is definitely not going to grow.

“Our goal is for the online inventory, that we use for eGRPs, to grow at least 1.5% every year. We would like to have at least 10% of inventory in online within five years.”

How will these changes be reflected in the inventory supply in about five years?

Our goal is for the online inventory we use for eGRPs to grow by at least 1.5% each year. We would like to have at least ten percent of inventory online within five years, where we can better reach users with advertising, adjust frequency and, most importantly, substantially improve the affinity of our clients’ campaigns through targeting.

Vladimír Pořízek, Commercial Director, Prima Group

Vladimír Pořízek worked at Prima Television for almost five years as CFO until 2012, after which he headed the buying association Opera of the Omnicom Media Group. In 2014, he returned to Prima as Chief Operating Officer and was later appointed Commercial Director. Before joining Prima, he was CFO of media agency PHD until 2007.

Source: mediaguru.cz

VOYO WANTS TO BE PART OF THE BIG THREE. WE ARE ALREADY NUMBER TWO IN THE MARKET, SAYS DANIEL GRUNT

Nova TV has already succeeded in beating HBO Max in the number of subscribers to its video service Voyo. It is the second strongest streaming service in the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

However, Disney+ entering the local market on 14 June may shuffle the ranking. According to Daniel Grunt, Chief Digital Officer in CME, which owns the Nova Group, Disney is investing the highest amounts in content production and we cannot rule out that it will dethrone Netflix globally. To find out more, read the continuation of our interview with Daniel Grunt, which follows the first part from last week.

Most TVs already have 4K resolution, some of them even 8K. Do you adjust the picture quality on Voyo accordingly?

Not at the moment. I have tested Voyo on my 4K OLED TV and I do not need any 4K source for the picture to be excellent when…

… when your TV can upscale to 4K in real time.

Exactly. The upscaling in real time on TV will get better and better as the computing capacity of TV chips will improve. That will be sufficient for ordinary viewers but of course not for some connoisseurs who will look for every pixel with a magnifying glass. When I as a common user want to relax watching a film in Full HD resolution, TV will transfer it to 4K and the experience is very good for me. We are not planning 4K resolution now but going forward, we will certainly move the Voyo Originál products to higher image quality and we have to get ready. It will be a change for the entire production chain but we will have to do it at some point.

And what about Nova’s older shows and films and series from times when there was no HD quality?

We are focusing on having everything in Full HD if possible. One of the projects on which our people are working is the improvement of the quality of older titles. Voyo has been on the market for 11 years, it has a big library including a number of old titles in SD or HD ready resolution. So now we are changing hundreds of titles each quarter to improve quality. At some point we will find out that no higher quality is available for some titles and we will just consider whether the title is interesting enough be on offer with lower image quality.

You have said that 60 percent of users watch Voyo via TV. Is that followed by a computer or a mobile device?

Then it is in principle one-to-one for mobile and laptop with mobile and its importance increasing. Logically and practically, I am convinced that watching Voyo on TV will achieve a greater percentage in the long term, mobile will also grow and the importance of laptops will decline. I will be either at home watching on a big screen or if it is occupied by another family member I may switch on the laptop. But outside, I will use my mobile – on the way to school, to work, on vacation, on weekends…

Do you have any idea for how many users Voyo is the first streaming service? You have said that Czech viewers use 1.3 streaming services per household on average. Logically, they have to use some more and some less – and consider whether it is worth paying for the less used ones.

This is exactly the reason why I have said that for us it is extremely important that people are as active as possible in our service. For this reason, one of the metrics we monitor is the amount of time spent watching our shows per week. Because the more time I spend with a service, the more satisfied I am with it and there is no reason to cut it off. But we do not know the percentage of the use of Voyo and other services as we have no way of finding it. We do not know how viewers use other services, we do not know precise numbers of their subscribers.

Do you commission independent surveys through agencies such as Ipsos or GfK?

Of course we do. There are many surveys and they are made from various perspectives and we are trying to make a big picture of the market. But you are asking about a very detailed matter. For example, we ask on a monthly basis about competitors and how users consumer Voyo – whether daily, several times a week, once a week, several times a month, once a month or not at all. Over the past few months, Voyo has seen the highest growth of any service in daily and weekly usage.

To what degree is linear content important within Voyo? I mean Nova Sport and sports broadcasting.

Linear content in general is an interesting complement but it is not an acquisition factor. It is not something to make people pay for Voyo but if they have Voyo they like using it in situations when they are not in front their TV sets. We can see that linear watching of these channels via Voyo is growing on weekends and during holidays. As for sports broadcasting, it is the most attractive from linear channels. Especially combat sports such as MMA, KSW, etc., attractive football matches, NHL and NBA.

Does it mean that for example Eurosport Player is not a competitor to you as it is a purely sporting matter?

Eurosport Player is a very narrow section. It is a very specific offer, a clearly defined target group, so we do not perceive it as a competitor at the moment.

Let us move to another issue, the Czechflix project that was intended to aggregate content of streaming services from all large Czech TV groups. You said at the DIGIMEDIA 2021 conference last year that negotiations with ČT and Prima were ongoing but that it would depend on the conditions for cooperation being advantageous for all parties. Have the discussions progressed somehow?

No, they have not.

And are they still going on?

Let us say that the intensity of the discussions is lower than it used to be.

If Czechflix is established, would you provide it with Nova’s TV content or the original production from Voyo?

It is a question I cannot answer because if there is no model of how the service should look like, what the main benefits for individual participants there will be it is hard to predict. All of the participants should provide their premium production for the service to make sense, which means ideally originals just like Voyo Originál, and another thing that works, i.e. previews of TV series.

How are the Voyo trailers around Televizní noviny (TV News) working out for you? Previously, Nova promoted evening shows on linear channels, now it also promotes selected films or series on Voyo. Do viewers watch what is promoted in the time when it is promoted?

Logically, TV is our strongest communication channel. What we communicate around Televizní noviny and in prime time works the most. We watch the service’s traffic, new signups and entries on Voyo home page at the time the trailers are running and we can see big peaks. It is an immediate effect showing the power of TV. Usually what I communicate most strongly on TV I have on the most premium positions on the home page of the service, so it is hard to tell whether the decisive factor was the trailer on TV or that a user came to Voyo and came across the show.

Is it worth it driving people away from linear broadcasting to Voyo and reducing the ad block rating?

We are not driving out those who want to watch linear TV because they are going to stay with the linear broadcasting. For people who are not sure and consider switching to another channel or paying for another service it is better to go to us rather than to somewhere else. That is why we are doing it. It is better to cannibalise ourselves than being cannibalised by someone else.

350 thousand users is quite a lot, it is a good chunk of money. Is Voyo in the black or are you still in the red?

We are still in the red.

And what is the outlook?

Our plan is really long-term, for five years, which does not end with a million users but with a higher number. There are relating investments, income and we are now above the plans in terms of revenues because we have significantly more subscribers than we planned for this time. Now we have more than 350 thousand users, which is a level we planned for the second half of this year. And I am talking about an adjusted plan because based on last year’s results, we have increased the plan for 2021-2025. The goals for the end of this year are substantially higher than we planned at the beginning of last year. It is still true that in 2025 we should generate profit. I think that if we continue at the same pace as so far we will be profitable.

Which means that at a million users you will be in the black.

Profit depends on the amount of investments in content and we can see now that the more we invest the more subscribers we get. As any digital business, we prefer growth to profit. But we can change it whenever we want. At present, our investments in content are huge. We are talking about billions of crowns so even if the income from Voyo is wonderful, investments in content production are even higher.

Do you think about offering multiple types of subscription? For example Netflix has several levels: the basic rate for a single device and SD resolution, then a version in HD for multiple devices, after that Premium in 4k. HBO Max has come with a reduced introductory price…

We will consider it in the future. Now I think it is too early because both we and the market are in the growing phase. It is much more important to acquire as many people as possible to subscribe to the service and any division into packages makes the message about the product more complicated. For me it is important that the message is as simple as possible in order to educate the market. Working with subscription packages will start to make sense when the market starts to slow down and we need to keep our subscribers or increase income.

Are you worried about inflation and that the prices of everything are going up and people will try to save money? And that entertainment will be the first thing to cut off? It is dispensable.

We will see what will happen. Practically speaking, CZK 159 per month – how many packs of cigarettes is that?

Not everyone smokes.

When I go to the pub with my friends, how many pints will I have for this amount? When I go to the cinema, for CZK 159 I would have to go there alone to watch just one film so if I take my family with me and go to the cinema to watch a single film, I will pay a multiple of what I will pay for Voyo’s library with 17 thousand hours of content and all my family can watch. So there is no problem there in my point of view. But we may need to introduce such comparative communication at some point. But I think that people would stop going to the cinema rather than unsubscribe from Voyo or Netflix.

Every time I go to the newsagent’s, subscription cards for Netflix or Voyo catch my eye. How does this method of subscription work? Is it selling well?

We introduced it during the last year in the autumn season. It was based on a simple consideration that there was still a segment of people, especially older ones, who were not used to paying online. It related much to Ordinace. We offered this subscription method to these people but it is really a minority issue. When I look at the methods of payments for Voyo, 99 percent of people use recurrent payments when the amount is deducted from their credit card.

But the subscription cards make you visible at the newsagent’s.

Exactly. It is visible and we are giving a chance to people who might be discouraged by the online payment using a credit card.

Or it may be an option to give Voyo as a gift.

Yes, this worked very well at Christmas. We sold a large number of annual packages. The Voyo brand got under people’s skin. By the way, this is one of the things that Nova managed to achieve: increase brand awareness. When you look at the market today, we are the largest together with Netflix. When you ask about a streaming service, Netflix is the first what comes to people’s mind. Voyo is second. Then there is a long pause followed by other services with single-digit shares.

We were discussing it in detail at the DIGIMEDIA conference several years ago. At that time you said that you had a large group of people tracking where Voyo’s original content appeared so that you could report it and have it blocked.

We have a team of people who are engaged in it and we are paying about three external agencies that are searching the content for us, reporting it and we then solve it. After the launch of Voyo Origiál there has been an increase and it costs us a lot of money to manage the surveillance. Yes, we are still reporting pirate copies to entities such as Uložto and they are responding with delay, often within days. And when they delete the content it reappears. If we had less activities against pirates I think that Voyo could not work well. Piracy would kill it.

Nova has the same owner as the largest IPTV service in our country, O2 TV. Are you planning any synergies? O2 TV has purchased a lot of interesting sports rights…

Yes, it is true. At the same time, Nova is selling many rights to O2 TV, in principle most of the best football leagues in Europe that run on O2 are bought from Nova. That is why we are talking about it. It is not specific to O2 TV. When we look at all advanced countries, major streaming services cooperate with all operators and large content suppliers of a particular country. So it is quite probable that Voyo will be available via these operators along with the standard offer of linear channels of all pay TV stations, along with Netflix, HBO Max and Disney+. It is a trend, it is where the market is going and we can see it everywhere.

I do not know whether O2 TV still has a video library…

Yes, it has.

Does not it make sense to replace it with Voyo if you have the same owner?

It will make sense if we manage to create an interesting concept to be proposed to users because Voyo has some value. Premium content has some value that is large and it will always be reflected in the price of the package. Be it O2 or other potential partners in future, Voyo must always have its value. With Voyo, we will never go below the cost for which it is available to users separately in the market, for which they can buy it directly. As I said a while ago, in the stage of growth we definitely do not want to provide any substantial price reductions to pander because we would reduce the perceived value of Voyo. And if Voyo has increased so much over the last year it is because people started perceiving its value.

What streaming services are you watching at home and how much time do you spend with them?

If we are talking just about streaming services, I have Voyo, Netflix, HBO Max, Amazon Prime, Europsport Player and in addition I also subscribe to Spotify for the entire family and Xbox Gold for children. And I may be paying for something else that I no longer remember.

Do you manage to watch them?

I make a selection. I am the kind of person who sits down in front of the TV at night and goes through his ritual. I am going through all of the services I am paying for unless I am watching a series. I have come to a stage when I do not watch films at home at all. I switch on TV after 9 or 10 pm and it is late to watch a film. I rather watch two or three episodes of some series that are 50 minutes long and I still have a chance to stop when the episode ends.

But If I am not in the middle of watching a show, I go through all services and quite often end up watching linear TV. I switch on something that is on, I watch from the middle, it is interrupted by ads although I know that if I make four steps and put a blue-ray disk in Xbox I could have the same thing in better quality, from the beginning and with no ads. But I still keep sitting and watching linear broadcasting because all I want is peace of mind. I think that many people will do the same in future. New users who will subscribe to a streaming service will be overwhelmed by it at first, they will watch the best for several months and then they will find out that making a decision what to watch is painful. It will annoy them to search what they have not seen yet or what is new. Even the large size of the library portfolio may be limiting if you have to make a choice.

When using competitive services, do you come across something that is better than on Voyo and that could inspire you?

We get inspired all the time, if only because we started investing significantly more in Voyo and its development last spring. I remember that when I worked at MTG (former fifty-percent owner of Prima, ed.) they had several slogans in their DNA and one of them was “copy with pride”. And it was not meant negatively at all. The point is that often it is better to take inspiration from what works in the market and is established than inventing something nobody else has because it may mean that it does not work. But it is not that we are mindlessly copying everything we like. We think a lot about why they have it this way or that way, why they have selected a particular approach and we think about how to improve it.

How many of the big streaming services do you think can make a living on the Czech market?

The general economic theory is working with the concept of an economy of three or the “Big Three”. If there is a market that has already been developed or mature, three big services can survive in it and along with them maybe some more narrowly focused ones if they keep a sharp eye on their costs. I am convinced that in the Czech market, there can be three services that will be profitable in the long term. And we have to be one of them.

One of them or number one?

We do not need to be the first, we want to be one of the top three services. For me, it is important to have a certain number of people paying us regularly and to be one of the first services that come to people’s mind when they think about signing up to a SVOD service.

Source: televizniweb.cz

VOYO DOES NOT TARGET YOUNG PEOPLE. WE ARE ALL ABOUT FAMILIES, SAYS DANIEL GRUNT

Nova TV’s Voyo video service experienced an exceptionally successful year. At the beginning of 2021, it announced an ambitious plan to attract a million customers within five years. At that time, Nova only had about 60 thousand customers in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. It surpassed its annual goal in the autumn and now the number of users exceeds 350 thousand. By the way, it is more than the global player HBO Max has in the Czech Republic.

How come Voyo attracted so much attention and how does it plan to maintain the high share in the increasingly competitive market? We have asked Daniel Grunt, Chief Digital Officer of CME, which owns Nova and Voyo.

This year marks a turning point for streaming services in the Czech Market. HBO GO changed to HBO Max, in June Disney+ is coming, the merger of Discovery+ and HBO Max is drawing near, and Voyo is expanding its original production. Which of the changes do you find the most interesting for your market?

Probably the most interesting thing is the concentration of developments this year. There are relatively many launches. They will include services that you have not mentioned and that will probably be less visible because we will not be too important for Europe within their strategy. So definitely, the most interesting thing is that the market, which started growing relatively remarkably two years ago, is getting extremely dense. But what is positive is that we are at the beginning of the growth wave and the market may up to double by 2025 or 2026. So there is much to select from.

I take the onset of competitive services positively as they promote the existence of streaming services in general. It will help significantly to educate the market and it may also accelerate penetration of households with the services. I expect the penetration to range between 24 and 26 percent in Czech households this year. That would be five percentage points more than last year. And I definitely think that this year will make households that have some experience with a streaming service subscribe to other services and as a result, they will pay for multiple services.

How many services does an average Czech household use?

We have originally expected that this year it will be 1.3 services per household on average but I think that it may easily be more. When I compare it with markets that are about four years ahead of us, such as the UK or Scandinavian countries, they have 2.5-3 services per household. And they are expected to grow to four. In the US, which has a specific market, it is more than four services per household. I estimate the number to be 2.5-3 services per household in 2025, both in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Much of this will relate to the growth in household penetration of receivers capable of using these services. But it will be quite an interesting area for growth both for us and for global players.

But the number of streaming services that households will be able to afford will depend on the price.

That is true but the price is quite reasonable in my opinion. All prices range between 150 and 200 crowns. It is the basic input price that I find acceptable for Czech and Slovak households. Our target is that penetration of households with VOD services may be over 40% in 2025.

The price is one thing but the time users can devote to streaming services is another. If you have three services plus linear broadcasting, you can hardly watch all of them. In addition, with Voyo you  cannibalise the time viewers can watch Nova and its thematic channels.

Time will be the most precious commodity we will compete for. It is interesting that if I look at video consumption for the last five years, the accumulated time devoted to this activity has been growing strongly all the time. It is not that people replace one way of video consumption with another. At least in our region we can see that linear TV has still be growing a bit but there is a simultaneous rather aggressive onset of another way of consumption, be it AVOD (free online archives), SVOD (pay streaming services) or short videos. It is more about people cutting off their free active time in favour of this more passive entertainment.

Was it caused by Covid-19 when there was nothing much to do? Can it change now?

No doubt Covid has initiated it but in general, the video consumption growth started far before the pandemic. Covid has accelerated the shift as people were not able to meet so much, they were staying at home more. When you look at the figures for linear TV in the post-Covid era, they are not falling, they are still very much up, and that does not apply just to older viewers but also to younger people who spend around an hour and a half a day in front of the TV. I think that this is enough, it is still the strongest source of video entertainment for them. Of course, we will compete for people’s attention and time with casual gaming and other entertainment activities. The most precious commodity will truly be viewers’ free time that we will compete for.

What will it mean to linear TV?

We enhanced Voyo to expand our portfolio of potential entertainment for viewers. In Western Europe we can see that the number of people not watching linear TV slightly declines to the benefit of non-linear services and we need to occupy this market sector in order to compensate the falling interest in linear TV on the streaming side when it occurs. By doing so, we are opening a new way of our work monetisation. We collect money directly from customers and the sum should be even more interesting in future. There will always be a combination of linear and non-linear broadcasting but what matters is the proportion. For us it is extremely important that viewers spend maximum time within our portfolio of services. Voyo becomes the first gateway in the video distribution chain we have. This means that the most recent and premium things go to Voyo first and we are not planning to include them in linear broadcasting yet.

Does this mean that the series Ordinace v růžnové zahradě will not come back to linear TV screens?

We are not planning that, Ordinace has been produced exclusively for Voyo and the plan is long-term.

Not even in two years?

We do not plan on it.

And what about Voyo Originál programmes, such as the miniseries Roubal, Guru

That is possible. Maybe in two years. But Ordinace has been produced just for Voyo so far.

Nova’s core business is linear broadcasting now. Do you assume that this will change at some point in the future and non-linear services will become the main source of income while linear broadcasting will be a supplement?

I sincerely do not believe that this will happen in the foreseeable future, by which I mean the next 10 or 15 years. It has to do with our nature. A man is a lazy creature and the need for more active video consumption will saturate to some degree over time. I can see it on my own example. After many months of using SVOD services whichever of them it is, I spend some time searching what to watch and I get tired of that. So I switch on linear TV and watch it. And it will be like that, there will always be a certain combination. Since linear TV is strong in our region I think that it will not change in the near future. But it will definitely be an interesting supplement.

Let us move to numbers. You have long not commented on the number of subscribers and suddenly 350 thousand appeared on LinkedIn in February. What is the number of subscribers now? Do you have half a million of them?

All I can tell is that we continue growing nicely and have more than 350 thousand users. We are not going to announce the numbers of our subscribers too frequently. Our competitors are not doing it either.

How come you published the number in February? Was it your common decision or did it happen by chance?

We wanted to show off. When we started making changes in Voyo at the beginning of last year, we had about 60 thousand subscribers, so the leap was huge. It was our assurance and celebration of the work of the people involved. Basically nobody outside Nova believed that we could manage that. This related to the fact that the goal we had announced, a million subscribers, was enormous. Everyone was thinking that those were further promises… And when it became clear that our people, who spend all their time working on Voyo, had such great results, we wanted to show them after the first year. But I do not think that the frequency of publishing figures will be higher than once a year. Even that is quite frequent in my opinion because our competitors do not disclose their local figures at all. For us it was important to show that we managed to achieve some results and were going in the right direction.

But you will disclose the numbers in Nova’s annual report, won’t you?

I do not think it is necessary.

How come that 300 thousand people have subscribed to Voyo within a year? Is it due to the series Ordinace v růžové zahradě that you moved from TV to the online service or does it have another reason?

It is a huge combination of thousands of small factors. To mention the most important ones, the key factor for us was the maximum focus on the fact that we take ourselves seriously and that it is a priority across the firm. We set up a path to follow and we did not hysterically move to one side or the other when things were not going well or we were not sure. And another reason is that we have increased our marketing team as much as possible. It is relatively large in all elements, ranging from acquisition marketing to the retention, PR and creative components. We have staffed the team excellently and learnt over time what works and what does not. We have introduced a data team and started investing time, energy and sources in business intelligence, data and CRM. We have moved from a situation when we were pushing the marketing investments and content to some black box, from which we had some output and we had to think hard what it was to a very detailed insight into how people behave and what they watch. We can segment them and thanks to this we can offer them better content and maintain their attention. This naturally relates to another pillar, which is content.

The most famous is probably Ordinace v růžové zahradě that moved to Voyo. This must have been a turning point in the decision-making of a number of customers whether to pay for your service.

Yes, the move of Ordinace to Voyo was very helpful last year. It is the most famous Czech series that was on screens for 15 or 16 years. During the last season on TV, each episode was watched by nearly a million viewers. As for Voyo audience, it helped us much. I think that it helped us in terms of communication and image. It was also a signal to the market that we take it seriously when we take a successful series and move it from TV to Voyo. At the same time, we increasingly invest in linear TV creation, the quality of which has grown substantially. Investments are tens of percent higher than years ago and this helps Voyo. If something works well on TV and we can provide it to people without ads and earlier than on TV, it works extremely well.

Does it work the other way round when you produce something just for Voyo? How is the Voyo Originál series doing?

At the end of last year, we launched the first Voyo Originál miniseries, Případ Roubal, which helped us enormously in terms of image. We have created something that has high quality and it was nominated for the Czech Lion (Český lev) award. It is perfect, we have attracted new faces and authors that have not worked for Nova so far. Which is by the way another great benefit of Voyo for the Nova Group because through Voyo, we are attracting creators to Nova who have not worked with us before. We meet very creative people, be it faces, directors, scriptwriters, producers or production groups.

Apart from Roubal, Love Island also worked well. When I look at the most watched titles in April, they include Voyo Originál. We also have a very good acquisition, for example Servant of the People starring Volodymyr Zelenskyy works very well. We have focused on European acquisitions, Scandinavian and British crime dramas and national versions of Wife Swap from other countries, e.g. Slovakia or Australia. I believe that the content mix is very good and as we know our viewers and communicate with them we substantially increase their activities in our service. On average, they watch Voyo 12 hours a week. And 90% of subscribers use Voyo at least once a week. Our users are thus very active, which could mean in the long term that they will stay with us for a long time.

What do they watch most?

The most watched shows naturally include Ordinace. Roubal and Guru are still working well. What is nice about this platform is that it is not just like TV where you launch something and people have to watch it in that moment and do not come back to it. As we released Roubal at the end of the last year, Guru at the beginning of this year and Házená now, we are still on top.

And what is the difference between the number of viewers of Ordinace and the miniseries mentioned? Is there a big gap?

It is nearly one to one. Really a great portion of people watch these things. Leaving aside Ordinace and other Voyo Originál production, the most successful TV shows work the best – Wife Swap, Ulice or Servant of the People. From time to time, reality shows make it into the TOP 10. Voyo Originál shows seem to be a big motivation to subscribe to Voyo.

Who is the typical Voyo viewer? Do you have any surveys?

To be honest, we want to keep the registration form as simple as possible, so we do not ask too many precise questions and we do not have detailed socio-demographic data. But we collect the data from several sources. Of course, we have quality research studies, brand tracking that we commission on a regular basis. What content people watch is what defines their socio-demographic and economic status. And then we have a clearly defined target group that we seek to reach and we tailor the way we communicate and the content we buy and produce accordingly.

The core of our target group are young families, in my point of view thirty to forty year olds, those are viewers we target. We are not focusing on very young people and will not focus on them in the long term. We will leave them to Netflix, it is no point competing with Netflix in this segment. One of the reasons is that this target group is rather instable. It fluctuates depending on where the relevant content appears. We tend to go for people who are more stable, more loyal and there are more of them. If we were to expand our target group, we would go for older than thirty and forty year olds. There is a huge potential, the greatest in fact.

Children’s content also works very well, which relates to our focus on young families. We have invested relatively large amounts in the acquisition of children’s content and we take pride in the fact that it is completely dubbed into Czech. As such, there is a clear pre-selection. Parents do not have to worry that something inappropriate will pop up when their child is watching Voyo. Which cannot be ruled out on YouTube or other platforms. Another thing is that children understand the shows because they are in Czech.

Do you have any original shows for children?

If I think about our production plan until the end of 2024, I do not recall anything focused especially on children. We focus more on families.

When talking about children, how much will the arrival of Disney+ shake up the market?

We will see, it is hard to predict. Disney+ is definitely a strong service. Globally, it is number two after Netflix.

Do you offer anything from The Walt Disney Company?

I do not think so. It might not be possible as big TV groups, especially the US ones, started withdrawing their content from all platforms over the last two years to keep it for themselves. Disney+ is definitely an extremely strong player, it is a strong brand, it has a very strong content and it focuses on a similar target group as we do. So yes, it is a significant competitor.

Bigger than Netflix or HBO?

In my personal opinion as a man who has been analysing it for some time, I think that Disney+ will be substantially stronger than HBO. It can be seen globally. Disney+ has skyrocketed in the last two years and is already number two behind Netflix. I think that in the long term, it can easily be number one as investments of The Walt Disney Company in content are the largest in the world. I think that it has spent over 33 billion dollars on content acquisition and production just this year.

Which means that it will shake up the Czech market.

I think that its arrival will increase visibility of SVOD services in general. I have long thought, and I said that when joining CME, that the market will stabilise in the following years with the top three including Netflix, Disney+ and Voyo as a local complement to the two biggest players. If you look across the globe, HBO has been here for a very long time and the newly emerging brands have beaten it quite easily. Disney+ will be the most visible one out of the new players coming to the market this year. I strongly believe that our focus and strategy betting on local content, faces and topics and annual investments in Voyo Origiál should help it. If you look at the attendance of Czech cinemas, original Czech films always report much higher attendance and rating no matter how good a Marvel movie, Star Wars movie, or anything else is released. People here will always want a higher degree of quality local content with local faces. I believe that over time, the big platforms will make one or two local series a year but we will make ten, and in the following years up to twenty or thirty a year. I believe that the two major global services in the Czech Republic will be Netflix and Disney+ and we as the local leader will form the top three with them.

Is it true that for Disney+, HBO Max or Netflix the Czech market is not big enough and if we compare it with Poland, for example, there are many more original Polish series on Netflix than local production from the Czech Republic?

Poland is many times bigger. And what is specific to us is that for Czech viewers we have to dub the shows. People here are not accustomed to subtitles, we can see that on Voyo as well. The Czech market requires dubbing most of all markets where Voyo operates. Slovakia a bit less and other countries of our operation – Romania, Bulgaria and Slovenia – make do with subtitles.

Do you offer films in Slovak in Slovakia or just in Czech?

It is a combination. Usually what we buy for the Czechs we buy for Slovakia if it makes sense and there are free rights. This relates to acquisitions – when Czech dubbing is made in Prague, we use it. As for Voyo Originál, we have had no exclusively Slovak content but we are planning it for the next year.

Will you offer it on Czech Voyo then?

Yes, we will.

Is there any difference between the Slovak and Czech Voyo version?

For users, there is no difference except that we are more violet here and they are more turquoise there but otherwise, it is the same in terms of products. The way they consume content is also similar. But Slovakia, which is more focused on emotions, requires more romantic, emotional series. They work better there than in the Czech Republic. Here, crime dramas work extremely well. If we go farther to the Balkans, the differences in viewer preferences are bigger.

We have talked about users, about the number of subscribers, about dubbing – but what about the way people watch Voyo? Do you know what devices they use to watch it and what is the most frequent way?

People increasingly watch Voyo on TV screens, which is desirable for me because when they watch the largest screen at home where it is most comfortable and convenient it means that it is important to them. Nearly 60 percent of Voyo users are watching us through the TV screen.

Source: televizniweb.cz

BROADCASTERS’ ROLE IN THE EVOLVING TV LANDSCAPE

Tech-savvy consumers demand 24/7 entertainment at the touch of a button—anytime, anywhere

The current TV landscape has transformed as viewing habits have changed, streaming giants battle it out for subscriptions and new players and emerging direct-to-consumer offerings enter the fray, shaking up the status quo.

In an always-connected era, consumers are tech-savvy and demand round-the-clock entertainment at the touch of a button—anytime, anywhere. And they want it at the best value for money possible. Since the turn of the century, we have seen the dramatic rise of on-demand content services and major changes in the way consumers want to access content across multiple devices—place and time shifting.

Moreover, the way in which audiences are willing to pay for this content is also evolving.

Traditional TV advertising remains the principal revenue source for content owners and service providers, totaling $166 billion in 2019. But revenues are declining—in 2020, there was a 12% year-over-year fall, due partly to the impact of Covid-19. Although starting from a lower base, OTT video ad spend is on a healthy growth curve.

On the subscription side, traditional cable and satellite pay-TV revenues are also declining, with subscriptions set to fall to just a 40% share of TV services in 2026, compared to 81% in 2016. In contrast, spend on OTT subscriptions rose 34% in 2020—in the U.S. market, consumer spend is set to reach $76 billion by 2024.

Although the various forecasts differ by a few percentage points, a likely picture is that OTT subscription and ad revenue will eventually eclipse all other sources of income—with some estimates suggesting $221 billion by 2025.

THE RISE OF DIRECT-TO-CONSUMER

On the production side, content costs are increasing as new media players enter the bidding for key producers, brands and sports rights. In response, traditional media is consolidating to secure intellectual property, reduce overhead cost and pool technology investments.

However, further back in the content supply chain, rights owners and content creators are bypassing incumbent distributors and creating direct-to-consumer OTT offerings. Sports TV is a key battleground with players like Formula One, MLB and NHL all creating domestic and global offerings that remove a layer of distribution and capture a greater share of revenue directly from consumers.

These early pioneers are not alone. Individual and small-scale content creators are growing, enabled by low-entry barriers for semi-professional production and low-cost distribution models that utilize platforms including YouTube, Twitch and Patreon.

It is a complex and fast-evolving landscape—difficult to navigate for traditional broadcasters that have to fend off rivals from the world of telecommunication that see “content” as an opportunity to create stickier broadband and 4G/5G bundles. At the same time, broadcasters are up against internet rivals who are jostling for the number one spot with different goals such as supporting retail sales via “Prime-Style” subscriptions or tying users into walled garden ecosystems like Apple or Google.

Broadcasters, caught between a rock and a hard place, are trying to attract and retain eyeballs to support advertising revenue and ultimately create innovative, unique content that not only consolidates traditional viewership but engages new audiences. In short, the market is in a state of flux. Over the course of the next few years, we will see who comes out on top—and those who struggle to adapt to this changing landscape.

NEWS VIEWERSHIP HOLDS STEADY

However, several interesting trends are worth further investigation. One of the areas where traditional broadcasters have retained a consistent viewership is within the news.

The three main news networks in the U.S. have experienced only a mild decline in viewership over the past three years, primarily due to the rise of alternative news sources such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. What is more interesting is at the local level. The Pew Research Centre for Journalism and Media showed that local TV news is still more popular than national news networks, and the hours-per-day of local TV news consumption has grown by 62% between 2013 and 2018.

Although traditional local TV advertising revenues have declined over the last few years, digital advertising around news content has seen strong double-digit growth leading to only a marginal overall shortfall.

These data points suggest an overall positive growth trend for local TV news and point to an optimistic future. Local news can harness opportunities in new technology and innovative Electronic News Gathering (ENG) methods to power more news quantity, quality and diversity, while internet networks can provide a greater reach for localized news and enhance cost-efficiencies.

HOME ADVANTAGE

The localization trend also plays into the other big success story for traditional TV—live sports. Although the world’s two most popular sports leagues, the NFL and English Premier League, have seen a multi-year decline within their home nations, audiences have increasingly tuned in from around the globe.

For example, the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup was the most watched sporting event of that year, with the tournament achieving a cumulative live audience of 1.6 billion viewers. And in esports, international viewership is surging — live streaming audiences are set to hit 920 million by 2024, growing approximately 10% year-on-year.

Sports that may have been too niche for traditional TV in the past—such as formula E, MMA, darts, rowing and competitive cycling—have found audiences on DTT, cable and increasingly OTT services where they can support an FTA (free-to-air) model that is backed up by digital advertising. Local sports—as grassroots as a town’s football, cricket or rugby club—may well tie into the desire for local news delivered via OTT, as long as production costs can be kept low and the production quality can remain acceptable to viewers.

GETTING AHEAD OF THE CURVE

The current TV landscape is exciting—success is up for grabs for those who are willing to innovate. Increased localization opportunities and future-proofed distribution models present just some of the promising avenues for growth. The digital revolution has ushered in a consumer shift that is forcing many to reevaluate their business structure, and media players now face more competition than ever before.

For more than a year, our industry has witnessed the economic impact of the global pandemic, and in that time, data points and longer-term trajectories may have been skewed. The status quo between content producers, distributors and consumers has irreversibly changed, while innovation in future-ready production and distribution models has accelerated. Right now, media players need to be bold to stay ahead of the curve—and to shape a successful roadmap for the future.

Source: tvtechnology.com

WOLDE: TOTAL VIDEO WINS, LIVE TV HAS THE LARGEST SHARE

There is no division between online and broadcast TV video; platforms support each other and the so-called total video wins today, says Štěpán Wolde.

Live TV continues to be the strongest source of video content consumption in the general population older than 4 years in the Czech Republic. Its share in all video viewing (including video content on carriers) is more than 43%. If live viewing is aggregated with archive TV content viewing and live TV content viewing on the Internet, the total share of the ‘TV content’ accounts for nearly 62% of video content consumption. Other video content is watched via the Internet by nearly 29% of population aged 4+. These are the results of a research by ATO-Nielsen Admosphere. At the last year’s Czech Internet Forum conference, the topic of video content consumption was covered by Štěpán Wolde, CEO of the Óčko music TV group.

Video content viewing by young Czechs aged 16-34 is differentiated with internet video having the largest share in the videos watched (45%). When young people start families, their behavioural pattern changes and so it does with their age. The group of 25-34 year olds with children has a preference for live TV with the proportionate decline in other video content viewing via the Internet.

The term ‘video content’ covers many things today according to Wolde. It is not limited to videos on YouTube and Facebook but it also includes content on live TV (linear broadcasting), catch-up TV, and platforms of TV operators and independent players, such as Netflix or AppleTV+. The term also covers online video of the internet media such as DVTV and various clients, e.g. Red Bull.

Although the names of stream services such as Netflix, HBO Max or AppleTV+ are widely discussed, they are not the dominant players in video content. This fact is supported by the UK market data where the highest share in daily video content consumption is held by live TV (49.5%). Moreover, live TV remains to be the strongest platform for addressing audience by advertising. The UK BARB’s data shows that the reach in general population by ad video broadcasting is achieved at 83% through live TV. In the audience group of young Britons aged 16-34, the share of live TV accounts for 66% of the total ad reach attributable to video.

The UK data also shows that while live TV broadcasting in watched the most on a TV screen, Netflix-type services are consumed this way by only 74.2% of people. Other people prefer notebooks (12.1%), tablets (7.1%) or smart phones (6.5 %) through which they mostly watch videos on YouTube (35.5%) and other online videos (46.7%). In the Czech Republic, people consume online videos on notebooks much more than on their mobile phones. Live TV is watched predominantly via TV screens.

During the spring wave of the pandemic, the interest in VOD services increased but broadcast TV viewing grew up as well.

“There is no division between online and broadcast TV video, platforms support each other and the total video wins today,”

says Štěpán Wolde, explaining that connection of individual platforms helps increase viewing of TV Óčko, specifically the recent release of the Naked Attraction reality show. “We can see that a strong campaign on Facebook where people can taste content and post comments brings new audiences to our TV. Therefore, content cannot be divided; individual platforms can help each other,” concluded Wolde.

Source: mediaguru.cz

EGTA’S CEO SURVEY – A TV AND RADIO ADVERTISING INDUSTRY IN TRANSFORMATION

Results of an exclusive egta survey confirm top management’s expectations for the industry.

Over 100 CEO’s and senior executives from surveyed egta members – leading TV and radio sales houses across Europe and beyond – expect growth in ad spend for both Total Video and Total Audio in the next three years. An exclusive survey carried out by the Brussels-based trade association sheds light on the continued transformation the advertising industry is expecting.

Opportunities ahead lie in targetability and personalisation

With change comes opportunity. Approximately 88% of respondents perceive targetability – enabling advertisers to pinpoint their target markets – and personalisation – creating relevant and unique experiences that hold attention for longer – as a priority for their company in the coming years.

Other particularly important growth areas highlighted by senior executives are streaming/online audionew ways for audiences to access content (additional screens and devices), new sources of data shared by advertisers and or telco providers, and addressable TV.

Reaching audiences where they are today

While opportunities abound on the horizon, senior executives also identified some of the challenges they foresee in this changing media landscape. More than 80% of C-suite executives state that they are relentless in their attempt to reach audiences where they are today – thus making up for the decline in linear TV ratings. Their focus is on building the right infrastructure that will allow today’s TV to compete with international online platforms and speed up the process around the identification and adoption of cross-platform measurement solutions.

Shaping the future of advertising

77% of TV members and 78% of radio members are positive about the future advertising market. Optimism remains – if slightly higher this year compared to two years ago – that both the Total Video and Total Audio ad markets continue to grow.

Broadcast TV and radio currently remain by far the biggest advertising revenue sources for broadcasters. However, respondents aim for online to take a larger share in the future. Approximately 90% of C-suite executives believe that advertising on online properties will represent a greater proportion of their revenue sources by 2022.

Commenting on the results of the survey, Katty Roberfroid, egta’s Director General said: “The homogeneity in the results we received from a vast majority of select top executives does show the way forward. If we are to future-proof today’s TV and radio’s business, both on air and online, we must continue to cooperate and innovate on all fronts: infrastructure, formats, measurement, and more. This will help advertisers reach the consumers around the premium content they love – in an always brand-safe environment that is respectful of their experience and privacy.”

Several CEO’s who participated in the survey added their comments:

“If we – as an industry – are to compete against international online platforms, it is all about competing on content, and collaborating on tech, currency, measurement and more. This common sense will help us create a truly seamless total video experience for both advertisers and users.”

Malin Häger, Sales Director & Chief Commercial Officer, TV4 Sales

“In an age of audience, it’s all about finding new ways for listeners to access the great content we have in abundance. In this battle for time and attention, Total Radio embraces innovation with plenty of opportunities with regards to personalisation, podcasting, streaming, on-demand radio and more – which will all contribute to a growing advertising market.”

Saskia Schatteman, Chief Executive Officer, VAR

“We need to experiment and continuously push the envelope with regards to targetability, personalisation and more to advance our industry. As addressable advertising is going to vary per market, we need to dig deeper into the data value, the return on investment and the scalability.”  

Christian Kurz, Senior Vice President Global Consumer Insights, Viacom

“We’re living in an era where it’s no longer about linear or non-linear TV. When we’re in contact with marketers every day, we see they’re overwhelmed with solutions and fragmented media. We need to be the guiding light that helps them find the audiences where they are today, helping advertisers and their brands as a trusted partner with insights in this Total Video ecosystem.”

Stéphane Coruble, Chief Executive Officer, RTL AdConnect

“For us at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, the bar is set high. As streaming video grows and younger viewers move online, we’ve been incessantly innovating to follow audiences online – as a multiplatform player amid fast-changing viewer habits. In our unique position, bridging the US and European market, we’re focussing on building the right infrastructure as we expect more revenue from online in the coming years.”

Jean Mongeau, General Manager & Chief Revenue Officer Media Solutions, CBC/Radio-Canada

Source: egta.com