Traditional broadcasters have to “make up their mind” about what they want to be, at a time when TV viewing is beginning to decline and new forms of entertainment are on the rise, according to Jorgen Madsen Lindemann.
Speaking at MIPTV in Cannes the president and CEO of Modern Times Group said that the decline in people using TV in MTG’s core territories – particularly millennials – is being matched by growing uptake of new formats including eSports.
Some 73% of Swedish homes have access to over 100Mbps internet access, he said. This was helping drive the change. “Now you can go direct to the consumer. This has changed how we view content, when we view it and more important for us, what we watch.”
Lindemann said that broadcasters have to decide what kind of media companies they want to be. MTG has invested in digital while other groups are “praying” that the change away from traditional TV slows or reverses, he said.
Lindemann said that MTG has primarily focused on “storytelling” in digital formats, a theme that worked across the three core areas in which it has invested: eSports; online gaming; and YouTube content.
“eSports is growing very fast. We are rolling up eSports companies around the globe. More and more people are watching,” he said. “It is a global phenomenon, so it means we are in the US, Latin America and Asia. The traditional sports storytelling can be transferred [to eSports].”
He claimed that a traditional sports broadcaster like MTG can bring the storytelling techniques it has used in football, for example, to create new shows and content around eSports.
MTG has also taken the plunge into online gaming, through its investment in InnoGames. Lindemann cited the statistic that 30% of mobile data usage is gaming related.
The third pillar of MTG’s digital strategy is to invest in YouTube content and ‘digital influencers’, through Zoomin TV and Splay Networks. Zoomin TV has close to 15,000 channels and 1.2 billion monthly views, and is heavily into branded content, another key growth market, said Lindemann.
Splay Networks is a specialist in branded content, using digital influencers to deliver engagement with brands via the backdoor to advertising-averse audiences.
Lindemann said that higher broadband penetration also helps deliver greater penetration for MTG’s pay TV proposition, opening up new distribution possibilities. The company recently launched the World Boxing Super Series with this in mind.
MTG has also invested in original scripted content for OTT distribution on Viaplay. “We now have 50 drama series either produced or in the pipeline,” said Lindemann.