TV & Content Trends

It’s a common misconception that TV is a ‘dying’ media form.   In fact, recent studies have shown that more and more video content is being consumed than ever before, increasing 13% year on year to just over 10.5 hours of media content per day among US adults alone, according to Nielsen’s most recent “Total Audience Report”. What is true, is that television as we traditionally know it is rapidly evolving, beyond the traditional linear landscape and into the realms of online digital content via OTT platforms such as Netflix, Amazon, iflix, OSN Wavo and beIN Connect.

Due to the rise and diversification of OTT platforms available, viewers are now in control, consuming video content on their terms, exactly where and when they want it. This is a trend that is expected to grow, as new OTT products launch, whether targeting mass, niche, local or international audiences.

Together with the rise of OTT platforms, with over 2.5 billion smartphones in use in the world, mobile has become the key platform for online visual content consumption, with the Middle East leading the way as the world’s second-largest and fastest growing mobile phone market.  Emphasis is therefore being placed on the development of short-form mobile content, with mobile-first content predicted to become more commonplace over the next few years.

So, what does this digital revolution mean for the future of TV, and how are broadcasters responding to this shift? At Discovery, we have evolved our traditional linear business through various strategic partnerships and digital investments, both globally and locally in MENA, to ensure we continue to serve the needs of our consumers.

With over 6 million followers across social media, Fatafeat, our flagship Arabic food network, has an incredibly loyal and engaged fanbase. This year, our strategy has been to harness the channel’s brand power, to reach new audiences in the digital space, while continuing to serve its existing community of super-fans. The success of Fatafeat’s digital-first content was perhaps best demonstrated during our Ramadan campaign, which not only saw us launch our new Fatafeat App for Android and iOS, but also saw Fatafeat rank as the #1 food website during Ramadan and the Top 3 websites in the food category for the majority of the year, proving that quality food content can cut through despite the fragmented marketplace. This year has also seen us introduce livestreamed content from consumer events onto our social platforms, allowing fans to enjoy the Fatafeat experience wherever they may be.  Complementing this, our Fatafeat Play AVOD platform has continued to expand, with over 1 million monthly views plus the addition of new branded content through collaborations with clients such as Nutella and Maggi.

So, with this market fragmentation in mind, it’s more crucial than ever for TV networks to focus on content that is truly must-have. Discovery’s strategy has been to utilise our 2.5 billion investment in content to really move the dial. This includes strengthening our global franchises; creating annual noisy programming stunts such as Shark Week; while still focusing on content that works for local audiences – a goal we were proud to meet earlier this year, by welcoming celebrity Chef Manal to the Fatafeat family.  Ultimately, our aim is to continue to provide value for our fans with premium video content, and to utilise our global and local digital investments to ensure we are engaging millennial audiences at any time on every platform.


Author: Amanda Turnbull, Vice President and  Country Manager Middle East & Africa, Discovery Communications