How key are the three content pillars of TV viewing?

We recently put out research on the declining importance of sport as a driver for TV viewing among Millennials. Recent changes in TV content dynamics mean that the traditional ‘battering rams’ of premium sports and recent blockbuster movies—while still incredibly important overall—no longer represent the be-all and end-all of a TV content strategy.

The ascending importance of high-quality TV drama, eSports, digital-native content and the increasing access through SVoD and online platforms to a diverse array of content choices mean that TV content drivers are fragmenting.

Binge viewing of TV series has played its part, but what do the changes mean for an overall content strategy going forward and how do these drivers vary by market? Let’s take a look at three pillars of the TV ecosystem: movies, sport and TV shows.

Starting with sport, that most premium of premium content, it’s clear that certain countries are still heavily driven by sport on TV. Soccer-mad countries like Spain and Italy show a much greater interest in sport than their northern European peers. But sport is still also key in Germany, France and the UK where the top soccer leagues command the greatest license fees.

By contrast, the Scandinavian countries—in many aspects a bellwether of next generation behaviors—show considerably less interest in sports as a behavioral driver. Interesting, then, that it is in Scandinavia that pay TV operators like Modern Times Group have invested so heavily in eSports as a growing alternative to traditional soccer (and, being Scandinavia, ice hockey).

Scandinavia also shows lower than typical interest in movies, otherwise a far less divisive form of content that still has generally wide-spread acceptance as a key entertainment medium. Movies remain particularly popular in the US and UK.

But it is in the love of TV shows that we see some of the widest ranges of interest. Generally seen as the new frontier for premium content, the sport-mad countries of Italy and Spain are far less driven by TV shows than other countries, while the English-speaking countries of UK and USA as well as France show particularly strong interest in TV shows, and by extension, drama, as a driver for TV viewing.

It’s particularly interesting that Scandinavia is putting out a range of high-quality noir dramas that are hugely popular in markets like the UK, yet shows low interest locally for TV shows as viewing driver. Language is certainly playing its part, but if Scandinavia has already moved away from all the key drivers of old-school TV, while the Mediterranean countries have aligned so singularly around sport, what future for the content market in other countries as next-generation TV evolves?

The above is written by Guy Bisson of Ampere Analysis.