The future direction of TV content

Tessa Laws & Holly Miller at MIPCOM 2019

Aside from the sea, sand and sunshine of Cannes (tough gig), we’re buzzing from the latest we heard bubbling at this year’s show.

Here’s our top 5 talking points from MIP on the future direction of TV content:  

1. Multi Generation Game

After years of infatuation with sex, drugs, and violence the next push from broadcasters looks like it will be for family focused content that encourages multiple generations to gather around the box. We heard from Ant & Dec, Stephen Mulhern and Angela Jain about the unpredicted success of ITV’s Saturday Night Takeaway spin–off In for a Penny that roots its appeal in British humour and takes its content out to UK regions, showcasing the best of the country outside the capital. Newen’s Bibiane Godfroid advocated the importance of quality storytelling, and Halle Stanford of the Jim Henson Company enthused to TBI that the success of Netflix’ The Dark Crystal was down to its ‘hopepunk’ narrative, a fantasy world where it’s cool to want to save the world and do things that better the lives of others. Wholesome content is on the up.

2. “More than just music to my ears” …podcasts are back again

More and more producers and distributors are exploring the possibilities provided by the podcast. The format is cheap, easy to make, and easy to transport to new territories. When a format isn’t on air yet, it’s often easier to turn to podcasts as they’re cheap to produce and can be sold internationally. Storyglass is Fremantle’s podcast IP developer, and its CD Rob Delamere is impassioned about the platform – in particular its dexterity for testing new formats, being cost effective and audio-only.

3. Green wave 

An influx of environmental-focused content (a la Greta Thunberg) is reaching kids TV, with new content that gives younger audiences a global perspective while becoming motivated to protect the planet. Producers and broadcasters are turning their kids messaging green in an attempt to target the young eco warriors who put older generations to shame with their climate protests and calling-out of destructive practices. Programming like Pukeko Pictures’ The Wot Wots, Hello Halo’s Junk Rescue and CBBC’s Newsround is targeting the next generation of planet protectors, as this month’s TBI cites.

4. Snackable shorts

Segmented TV content that can live outside of the full programme online stabilises IP and lets it go further and to a different audience. Again with ITV’s In for a Penny, we learnt that their short game-show-style segments live on successfully within their social channels and generate thousands of views. They’re bingeable and easy to watch remotely, racking up viewer numbers and attention through their shareability. More TV content intended for social is likely to emerge as it’s a cost effective way of reaching new audiences with the same material.

5. Brands on screen

When meeting Rogan Productions’ CD and MD James and Soleta, we spoke at length about one of their specialisms, producing sponsored TV content. It creates another route for funding and inspiration so it’ll be interesting to see which brands start to recognise the value in a passion project such as a sponsored TV programme in the future.