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A broadcast control room. The broadcast industry is relishing the chance to be creative

Infinite Content

Barclays, in partnership with Broadcast called on readers of Broadcast to share their views on the Future of Content. A total of 74, producers, public service broadcasters and others completed the survey. The resulting report highlights the key takeaways.

Cliff-hanger moments

Our new research reveals a sector which is largely in good health. Galvanised by the opportunities offered through the unprecedented range of platforms, content producers are launching themselves into projects with a renewed creative zeal after the enforced lull of the pandemic.

For this snapshot, 74 industry professionals took part in our detailed survey. Just over half are leaders in production companies; the others are distributors, public service broadcasters, individual creatives and freelancers, and other key players. Together they paint a picture of a sector at a particularly thrilling and unpredictable point.

Streamers drive growth

The most disruptive factor in the mix is of course the rise of SVoD services such as Disney+, Apple, Amazon and Netflix. These are almost universally perceived as a positive force, generating new growth. The beneficiaries range much further than TV production businesses: the opportunities ripple across the industry, from new voices in writing to the podcasters creating companion formats for fans.

Generation Z consumers, with their fluid tastes and creator mindsets, are also helping to drive change. With their appetite for new formats and previously unheard stories, they are influencing creative choices – and our survey indicates they are proving more open to engaging, longer-form content than some had assumed.

Pressure points

Linear TV broadcasters are inevitably feeling the squeeze. Public service broadcasters (PSBs) are continuing to achieve watercooler moments, but the common perception among our respondents is that they have yet to carve out their place in the new content landscape. The future of a whole ecosystem of indies depends on their ability to do so.

Fast growth brings its own challenges. Competition is exacerbating skills shortages. It is also pushing up wages. The need for Covid- 19-compliant production adds a further cost pressure. Finance is a big concern, with almost two-thirds of our respondents negatively affected by the budget trends of the past few years.

Creative strategies

In the face of this changing landscape, companies are finding creative and imaginative ways to thrive. In addition to repackaging existing content to appeal to an international market, having this global mindset from the outset when creating content enables producers to expand their sales internationally as well as in their home market.

Our research reveals an industry that is relishing the chance to be more creative.

Strategies for success

Look overseas

Consider how to create content that will appeal to an international audience. Shows such as Grand Tour, Squid Game and Bridgerton prove that content with wide appeal can win global audiences.

Blending local and international projects can open up markets potentially more receptive to risk, and maximise prospects for investor returns.

Scope out sustainability

While many respondents told us they have net-zero plans under way, separate Barclays’ research shows 55% of technology, media and telecoms firms have yet to firm up a net-zero strategy.

Set aside time to consider all the sustainability aspects of a project in advance. Seek inspiration from peers or through the albert initiative.

Share successful ideas with your clients and the public – six in 10 viewers expect all production to become net zero.

Use new channels

Think about using your online presence for more than marketing and promotional purposes. Digital platforms can provide a useful space for trying out new ideas and talent, and connecting with different segments of your audience. They can also act as a showcase for new self-funded content where that is feasible.

Case Study: Windfall Films

Windfall Films logo

Creating content with global appeal and partnering with multiple international broadcasters is in the DNA of Windfall…Today, it has never been more important to look to multiple global partners to deliver blue-chip factual programming

Jamie Lochhead

Creative Director at Windfall Films, Scotland

Case Study: Silverback Films

Silverback logo

But that means creatively making programmes that people really want to watch and engage with, while at the same time gaining the understanding.

Keith Scholey

Producer of The Earthshot Prize: Repairing Our Planet outlines the need for change

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