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Published on 12 Nov 2018

We see more and more ways in which broadcasters are trying to disrupt their traditional business models, trying to compete with industry giants — the FAANGsbut above all, trying to adapt to the evolving demand of their audiences. It’s clear that producing local and original content is one key method for attracting and retaining new audiences.

Last January, at CABSAT (the Middle East and Africa’s largest broadcast and digital media event that’s held in Dubai) CEO of Arab Format Lab, Khulud Abu Homos, discussed the shifting viewing trends in MENA ,resulting in a growing demand for quality Arabic content.


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The same idea was heard at this year’s IBC. Netflix Vice President of Business Development EMEA, Maria Ferreras, explained how Netflix was investing in local and original content; that is to say over 35,000 people working in local productions across original content in 16 countries. With this, we can add the $13 billion invested by Netflix in original content this year. Others are following the same path, including Amazon, which has invested about $5 billion at the same time.


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So there are lots of opportunities for producing local content and expanding its reach across other markets. Actually, audiences are ready for this and are expecting this to happen. Broadcasters have the opportunity to reach new territories, and for that, OTT is an attractive proposition.

Have you ever watched Netflix’s German drama show DARK? Did you know that 90% of the show’s viewing came from outside of Germany? It has become one of the most watched shows on the platform whose primary language isn’t English.


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Also, in Europe, major broadcasters have decided to launch joint streaming platforms. Commercial French broadcasters TF1 and M6 are teaming up with public broadcaster France Televisions to launch a joint OTT offering called Salto, which is aimed at creating French and European original content.
Another example is the Spanish public broadcaster RTVE joining commercial broadcasters Mediaset Espana and Atresmedia to launch LOVEStv, an interactive platform leading ultimately to an OTT service. As another example, German TV giant ProSiebenSat.1 has teamed up with Discovery for a new OTT TV plan.

Finally, as underlined by Channel 4 COO Keith Underwood at IBC this year, there’s another major point to consider: collaboration. Working now under the same pressure points, it seems that some broadcasters would rather unite to find new ways of attracting audiences to continue the battle for viewers.