This quarter, ASTRA’s Media Trends Report highlights the continued development of new products and services in Australia, the UK and the US that support changing consumer preferences. The engagement of viewers through IPTV based services is reflected in the UK with the launch of Sky’s NOW TV, offering Sky Movies over the internet and the launch of Foxtel on selected Samsung Smart TVs offering 30 linear channels via IPTV.
TV distributors and content providers continue to experience growth with DIRECTV delivering the highest operating profit in two years and Time Warner reporting solid revenue growth at 9% for Q2 2012. In Australia, Foxtel delivered an 8.5% growth in earnings (EBITDA) for the year to 30 June 2012.
The strength and value of premium programming can be seen in Foxtel’s Express from the US initiative which brings new and continuing US series to Australian viewers within days of their US premieres.
New developments in distribution include BskyB’s acquisition of Parthenon Media Group and the establishment of its own distribution arm to market international content rights. The new in-house model is expected to help generate additional revenues from Sky’s content investment from the sale of overseas rights, which will enable Sky to reinvest even more in the U.K.’s creative economy, for the benefit of customers and content makers alike.
In broadcast rights, the Australian High Court ruled out an appeal by Optus to review the Federal court ruling to prohibit near-live streaming of sport broadcasts as part of the Optus TVNow service; and, the Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) released the terms of reference for the Copyright Inquiry. Ofcom continued its consultation about the revised anti-piracy code with costs associated with the operation of the scheme now underway.
A focus on second screen engagement shows that the proliferation of devices is engaging consumers in new and interesting ways. In the UK, Deloitte’s director of technology noted that ‘second screen’s impact is far greater in driving conversations about a programme, as opposed to interaction with it’. Australian statistics, which were presented by Evan Manolis from Samsung at the recent ASTRA Spotlight Event, revealed that 45% of people read messages or communicated with others online when watching TV most or all of the time. 21% read messages or communicated with others online about the TV program, 27% searched/browsed for products and services in general and 11% searched/browsed for products or services that were advertised during the program. The MCN/Telstra integrated sales partnership is reflective of cross platform opportunities.
The ASTRA Media Trends report provides greater detail on these global trends, which indicate that more change and opportunity is coming, for TV distribution, advertising revenue, subscriber acquisition and content production, as multiple devices and consumer demands continue to provide a vehicle for future growth.