NOW TV's Jecinta Noble discusses whether on-demand broadcasting is the future of television, and all the great TV we have to look forward to this year...

Welcome to the last of our birthday guest blogs! Vodafone Social turned three years old in April, and we spent the whole month partying – in fact, we’ve been so jovial that our celebrations have spilled over into May!

Our final guest column belongs to NOW TV’s Jecinta Noble, who has the inside track on the future of television…

Jecinta Noble | Head of Editorial, NOW TV

JNoble-vodafone-large-161Television is changing. It has already, in fact. If you think back 10 years ago, the idea of watching whatever you wanted, whenever you wanted was in its infancy. It’s incredible how quickly the internet has changed so many aspects of our daily lives, and arguably none more so than TV broadcasting.

NOW TV is right at the forefront of that change, but having that much choice presents a challenge: helping people find what they want. That’s why our job in the editorial team is to be the content experts. That means making sure that our customers know about everything we have to offer, and making it as easy as possible for you to find the TV shows you want to watch. Often, that’s as simple as putting the ultra-popular shows front and centre so you can jump straight into the latest episode, but we also like to promote TV shows that customers might not know we have.

Likewise, sometimes it involves creating bespoke editorial collections, like our ‘Best of British’ collection which had titles like Downton Abbey, Broadchurch and The Tudors in it among others.

Those themed collections work really well, and they’re good fun to put together.

I think the last few years have seen some of the greatest television shows ever made – it’s a golden age – so to be in any way responsible for bringing all these incredible shows to people’s screens is really exciting.

“I think the last few years have seen some of the greatest television shows ever made…”

But it’s more than that. The kind of curation and surfacing we do in the editorial team certainly helps people find what they want, but it’s as part of a much wider discussion about our viewing habits, and how they’re evolving. Want an example? One of the many plus points of NOW TV is that we’re available across 60 devices, so there’s a huge choice of ways to watch our content.

It’s no surprise that viewing consumption on mobile devices continues to skyrocket; now it’s just part of people’s daily viewing habits to watch on the go.

Mobile viewing follows a completely new set of rules from traditional home viewing, too, with common trends showing what people want to watch on their devices, and when. ‘Snackable’ content – that’s what we call anything around half an hour long – is super-popular on mobile devices as you’d expect, and particularly popular on weekday mornings and evenings. Short TV shows suit people who are commuting, and comedies are especially well-liked (presumably because people need a bit of cheering up on their way to work!).

Also unsurprisingly, we’re wet weather fans when it comes to TV. We see viewing spikes when the weather is really bad – on mobile and in homes – and being in the UK, that’s a fairly common occurrence.

NOW TV game of thrones

Our kids TV channels are also really popular during the school holidays, particularly around 10am. Viewing also peaks in the evenings and during the release of big episodic shows like Game of Thrones. And it’s our job to be there to cater for all of those trends. Of course, outside of those big spikes, console viewing figures are consistently growing. And it’s that growth that’s really interesting…

The future of television

The act of watching TV has changed so much in the last 5-10 years, but the big question now is whether we’re still in that transitional period or if we’ll soon reach a point where scheduled broadcasting becomes redundant. In other words: if you can choose what to watch and when, do we still need a broadcast schedule?

Short answer: Yes. Longer answer? Well, let’s take Game of Thrones. It’s an excellent example of why ‘appointment’ TV shows – the kind that have a set broadcast time each week – will always have a place on our TV schedules. When you find a show that really resonates like that, I think it’s nice to have to wait – it builds tension and intrigue and it gets people talking every week about the latest episode.

Then you have the likes of Britain’s Got Talent and Strictly Come Dancing which fulfill a need for family viewing and still pull in great numbers. Even other On Demand platforms have reverted back to weekly episodes with a couple of new shows.

 

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I think what we really understand now as an industry is that everyone wants something different from their TV experience. Naturally, there are some who hate having to wait to see what happens next, but the great thing about NOW TV Entertainment is that we cater for all those viewers, so they can watch live, they can watch catch up or they can binge on a box set to their heart’s content. Ultimately, great content will always be great content regardless of how it’s released. And we’ve got every scenario covered.

More on NOW TV: Check out our interview with NOW TV Entertainment’s Gidon Katz here, in which he explains the work that goes into deciding which new shows land in its ever-expanding catalogue.

 

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