We have been seeing a massive shift from linear to digital consumption over the last few years. On Episode 9 of The Content & Media Matters Podcast we spoke to Julie Mitchelmore, the Vice President of Digital at A+E Networks UK, about how that shift is affecting the industry. Julie’s career began at Sky, where she moved from Presentation Scheduler to Head of On-Demand planning, giving her a depth of insight into our topic.
How has VOD changed throughout your time in the industry?
It’s like moving from being a mistress to a wife. It’s a bit on the side. VOD was a side to the main event for years, but these days, digital streaming is becoming central to entertainment companies.Customers being able to watch what they want, when they want and where they want is changing how we’re all consuming content. What’s changed is the industry’s flexibility to satisfy those customers where their viewing needs are.
Having spent your career working within this space, what’s your take on how attitudes have shifted when it comes to going from linear to digital?
It’s been a journey to bring it more into focus. It’s not about this massive shift or big upheaval, it’s really about diversification and making sure that we are hitting the customer touch points, wherever they are. Linear is still incredibly important, and you could argue that it’s having its own reinvention. It’s all about getting content where people are watching. It’s a shift. At the heart of things, you have your brands, your content, and your trusted customer touch points. It’s less about linear turning into digital and digital taking over the world, and more about being in the right places to get your content or brand where it matters.
How do you see the future of the nonlinear space changing?
Is such a big question, isn’t it? It’s the age old question of visits; are there going to be multiple entrances? Are things going to get merged together even more? Platforms like Sky are doing a fantastic job at bringing everything together under one roof for people who don’t want to pay for TV. There are also smaller companies who are forging their own path for those outside of the kind of paid TV industry. That’s a blend of aggregation versus the independent route, which is interesting to see. Discovery is still continuing their partnership with Sky, which I think is setting the tone for the industry. Everyone needs to look at partnerships, because they will be a focus going forwards to help businesses thrive and provide the broadest reach possible for customers.
What’s your take on linear TV’s place in the industry?
I think this question really summarises what a lot of us have been talking about in the industry. I remember when I was at college, my media teacher said that the music charts were dead. It was changing in a very similar way to how linear is moving. The music industry is more vibrant today than it ever has been, because of the way it’s managed to diversify into the digital space and move from Top of the Pops to Spotify. Music at its core is as popular as ever. We need to find the evolution of making content available in different places and different ways. Linear is having that evolution, but it will always be a place for certain types of content. Whether it’s Love Island or sports, live TV will always have its place for people to come together for those water cooler moments.
To hear more about the changes happening in the Content & Media industry, listen to The Content & Media Matters Podcast here.
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