OTT creates the ‘event’ experience, however big or small

OTT subscriptions were set to double this festive season, based on our exclusive research released in December. Christmas has historically been the time of big ratings and big productions as families gather round the “big” TV. However the times have changed, with a multitude of screens and content providers now available to all ages. Has “event TV” had its day in an OTT, on-demand world?

Not according to our latest research. In lieu of latest subscriber data from the most popular OTT providers, we looked at social media conversations to see if there was a correlation between viewing habits – firstly at those watching in real time in front of the television from a traditional free to air broadcaster, and then moving onto OTT providers.

Let’s look at the UK market for example: the biggest broadcast “event” programmes were the Christmas specials for Sherlock (8.9m viewers), EastEnders (8.3m) and Downton Abbey (6.3m). This popularity was reflected on Twitter, with Sherlock easily the most discussed programme of those we researched.


In contrast, none of Netflix’s major shows received a big Christmas ‘spike’, mainly because they were all released weeks or months ago. Their “A Very Murray Christmas” show did see a small spike but nowhere near the scale we saw for other broadcasters.


However, Netflix overall did see an increase in conversation which suggests that more people were using the service for its extensive back-catalogue in between all of the seasonal specials.


Our research in December showed that fresh content keeps people coming back. It’s clear that Netflix understands the power of TV ‘events’. Its plans for 2016 are full of exclusive, big name content that will create TV events of their own. They’re then hoping to keep people around with a steady stream of new content and a comprehensive back-catalogue of classic content.

So what’s the answer for broadcasters and media owners looking to take advantage of the growing TV market?  Remember that your customers are still seeking fresh content – the excitement of an exclusive release or a well-hyped programme is crucial to draw in new customers. The ongoing benefits of on-demand video can then be used to keep them in the long run.