Opinionated: Are streaming platforms spelling the end of traditional television?
If I'm like most people, over the last couple of months we've all consumed a lot of content online. Whether that be on TV, Netflix, YouTube, a lot of filmed stuff has been processed with our eyeballs. However, more and more, streaming services such as Netflix and the relatively new Disney+ have seemed to dominate this period of isolation. Everyone went crazy when Disney+ launched and Netflix's 'Tiger King' is one of the most-watched documentaries of all time and for good reason. The quality of content pushed on these streaming services just seems to be consistent in their quality, apart from a few that really drop the ball. Every week we seem to be bombarded with a crazy documentary or a gripping drama (although never a good teen-comedy, they can all get in the bin). What does this barrage of online content mean for our beloved TV box? That's what we shall explore today.
Now as most people know, viewing figures on traditional television have been falling for many years now, however, an article by the Guardian, published in May, has shown that viewing figures for terrestrial TV have gone up since lockdown. Viewing for traditional TV are up 44% compared to the same time last year, with 67% higher specifically in younger audiences. Surprisingly, the shows that have done the best are shows that are warming and give a sense of escapism such as 'The Repair Shop', 'Location, Location, Location' and 'Escape to the Chateau'. These shows, aimed at an older demographic have captured the younger viewers to the surprise of the TV bigwigs. This idea of seeing the rest of the world is something that people have craved during the pandemic. There has also been an increase in watch time for services such as BBC iPlayer, which had it's busiest month ever in April this year. However, with Netflix now being worth more than ExxonMobil, a gigantic oil company, it's hard to see how the likes of 'The Beeb' can keep up.
One of the most controversial decisions to happen recently was the BBC stopping free TV licenses for over-75's. This sparked outrage amongst the public and people started to fall out with the BBC. Age UK most notably was outraged. This is of course due to the pandemic forcing more cuts and tough decisions need to be made. As well as that, on the day I'm writing this (19th August 2020) there is a movement from a group of female black influencers called 'InfluencHers' to stop using any BBC services for one day in response to previous cases of racial hate crimes within the company. All in all, support for the BBC has dwindled.
So, what does this mean for its future and indeed the future of other terrestrial channels? IN reality. They need to adapt. People's lives are much busier than they were, say 10 years ago. BritBox was a very smart move from BBC, ITV, Channel 4 etc as people love older content and one place to find almost every British TV show ever is brilliant! However when new shows are out and when people's lives get back to normal, they will resort back to watching days later on catch-up services. They need more content to rival these streaming services and not continue with re-runs of Mrs Brown's Boys, which nobody asks for in the first place. More and more streaming services are being created and content creators are looking towards these companies to pitch to over traditional TV channels, which means streaming services are nabbing the newer and more exciting TV and film. In short, they need to appeal more to the up and coming creatives.