By: Bernardine Ruiz
The 5th IMMAP GMM of 2019 tackles the shifting content and digital landscape and asks the question of how traditional TV will adapt
Is TV dying? Are TV’s glory days over? Will the Internet finally take over TV?
For quite some time, there were ominous predictions of how traditional broadcast networks will fader with the emergence of online streaming platforms. Yet, now that we are living the future of those predictions, we see how TV networks have risen to the challenge of the digital world and how they are foreseeing yet another future alongside online content platforms.
During the 5th IMMAP General Membership Meeting held last June 27, 2019, TV networks, online streaming platforms, media, and research came together to peer into the future of television. ABS-CBN’s Elaine Uy-Casipit, Head, Digital Media Operations and GMA Network’s Chief Marketing Officer Lizelle Maralag represented the networks, while the OTTs were represented by Sheila Paul, Country Manager of HOOQ and Kumu co-founder Roland Ros. Joining the panel from media and market research were Carla Cifra, General Manager of Omnicom Media Group Philippines and Kantar’s New Business Development Head Des Deocareza.
The digital shift has long been talked about in the industry, and yet the landscape still continues to move towards online platforms. “It’s always been a journey in terms of our maturity in digital,” said ABS-CBN’s Uy-Casipit. “We grew into a decentralized organization. For each and every unit, it has a stake in the digital business. It has to be done because digital is everywhere. It’s not anymore just a division, it’s everybody’s work,” she stressed.
From her viewpoint in GMA Network, Maralag has seen the changes in the digital landscape most especially from the international front with the rise of OTT platforms like Amazon Prime and Netflix. As viewership rose in these platforms, GMA seized partnership opportunities and now works with Amazon Prime, HOOQ, iflix, and even Google and YouTube.
Locally, platforms like HOOQ are also making headway. Paul cited the many shows and titles available on the platform, adding that much of them are not on linear TV. “Customers now have a pick of what they want to watch and when and where they want to watch, whether they are at home watching it with their family on broadcast TV or personal viewing on HOOQ for content you can’t watch on cinema or TV,” she said.
On the other hand, Ros defined what made Kumu different from other content platforms and why it is appealing to Millennial and Gen Z users. Kumu lets any individual create their own livestreaming videos and lets them monetise these content. Users can also win money by joining Kumu’s many live game shows or by participating in various promotions.
“We work on prioritizing the voices of our young Filipinos. What we quickly saw was the power of democratizing content creation and user content generation and so for us, now, we’re managing about 3 or 4 thousand livestreams and many of them are Gen Z creators,” Ros further explained. Kumu has also partnered with ABS-CBN Sports to engage young sports fans simultaneously on mobile and TV, providing a seamless viewing and playing experience.
TV and Digital reinforce each other
TV is still dominant according to Kantar’s Deocareza. Based on advertising placement and spend during the recently concluded midterm elections, TV was still the preferred mass medium. “Most of the public still watch TV. It goes without saying that we are multi-gadget and multi-platform users already. The hours we spend watching TV has diminished to 3.6 hours, but it’s still a lot. A lot of us are still using TV as a main source of entertainment and information,” she said.
Yet, this multi-screening and multi-platform viewing behavior is allowing TV and online content platforms to make the viewing experience more seamless. “Our social media accounts play a big role. Publishing content drives the ecosystem. We distribute content everywhere which is important only because we recognize the value of each and every platform in terms of its push and pull,” said Uy-Casipit. “Whether it would be a simple highlight on YouTube, there is so much content that you can find in multi-touchpoints and multi-experiences. We are very deliberate and very conscious on the way we distribute and deliver our content,” she added.
Indeed, TV and digital reinforce each other according to OMD’s Cifra. “This is why television series, they promote hashtags because they want to be able to reach the Gen Zs, the Millennials. Online, the skew is always towards young people, but for the older generation, they still turn to TV or radio, since they’re very traditional.”
However, Cifra recognized the limitations of access to digital and online platforms. “Consumers still feel it’s very expensive to go online most of the time. Usually, the source (of data) is still prepaid,” she stressed.
Celebrity star power on social
As with their mother networks, celebrities have also created their own social media profiles.
“It is to the advantage of the talents of GMA Artist Center why they are active on social media. If they want to get fan growth, they have to be active on social media. We don’t have to mandate them to open social media accounts. They do it by themselves. What we do in GMA is guide them and polish their content a little so that we are able to present something which is worth watching, liking as far as the internet users are concerned,” Maralag said.
“When they’re doing their own channels and creating their own content, we have a whole layer of digital optimization teams in ABS-CBN which help them to optimize their channels, to monetize and sell their channels as well as placements within their own websites. What we do is we’re harnessing the full power of social media. Our role is to empower them to monetize and be a better voice to the public,” Uy-Casipit added.
Aside from celebrities, there are also social media influencers and YouTube creators that have also contributed to the myriad of content online, said Paul.
In fact, any Filipino can be a content creator. Ros emphasised that today’s audience value authenticity. On Kumu, their community of Pinoy livestreamers get millions of views because of authentic content. “There’s really something beautiful about authenticity. Here in the Philippines, we are driving by far that user generated content,” he enthused.
Content is king, context is queen
For the networks, it is not just about TV being the dominant media channel anymore. It is about creating content that can move audiences and making a content ecosystem that makes the viewing experience seamless between TV and digital.
Paul added, “We are getting more and more sophisticated in terms of gathering data, segmentation marketing, but at the end of the day, until you have a brilliant writer, a director who comes with a great story — the human element, that’s never going to go away.”
Cifra rounded up the discussion saying, “the future of TV is closer that what you think. Everything is on mobile and we’re seeing that it will become more personal. Just like in other markets, we’re seeing that ads will become more programmatic. They will be served according to content and audience.
TV must be able to provide a seamless viewing experience. There will no longer be a segmentation that you will only get the content from just TV or from online or from online TV. Our younger generation will just make sure that they will enjoy entertaining and seamless experience in their viewing.”