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MipJunior 2014: Upfront funding from b'casters for kids' programme on a decline?

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CANNES:  Producers in Asia and the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) are in for some trouble, if IHS Technology principal analyst TV Tim Westcott is to be believed. According to a study conducted by IHS Technology in 28 countries comprising a mix of producers and broadcasters, upfront funding is seeing a downward trend. While most producers still get funding from broadcasters before they get into production, overall, the producers in Asia and MENA are less likely to receive upfront funding.

In the same study, while 58 per cent of the producers accepted that they still get upfront funding from broadcasters for children’s programming, 42 per cent of producers did not receive any such funding. The observations were shared during a session on ‘Kids and Multi Media’ on the first day of MipJunior.

This apart, another key finding of the survey was that broadcasters today place strong emphasis on original programming in their budgeting. “More than half the broadcasters surveyed spend a majority of their budget on original programming. Not only this, one pubcaster spent 100 per cent of its budget on original programmes, while other broadcasters spend 80-85 per cent of their budget,” said Westcott.

A majority (63 per cent) of producers expect broadcaster budgets to decline, while 9 per cent of those surveyed are still optimistic. Another point that came to the fore was that producers tend to not stream the programmes on their own sites. “People are not seeing a great deal of revenue coming from digital and certainly not enough to compensate from any decline they’re having from linear TV sales,” said Westcott.

According to Westcott, episodes are more likely to be streamed on a third party site and then on the producer’s own site. Of those surveyed, 37.5 per cent of respondents still do not have their content online. “Over the top subscription like Netflix was cited as the most significant revenue stream for online content,” he added. This is followed by free to the end user streaming, supported by advertising.

Kids are moving beyond linear television. With 34 per cent of British kids in the age group of 5 to 15 years, using smartphones and tablets to view content, linear TV could just be witnessing a downward trend. Westcott during his presentation said that kids in the US, UK, France, Netherlands, Sweden and Germany have shown a decline in linear TV viewing.

So is digital making up for the losses caused due to decline in linear TV viewing? Answered TVE head of children’s content Santiago Fandino Lousa, “Things are changing year by year. Today, broadcasters face difficulty in formulating long term strategies. Kids today want the content they like, at the place of their choice.”

While broadcasters may be facing difficulties, Hit Entertainment VP global productions and content Keenan Christopher is quite happy with the development. He said, “All of our content is character based. Kids find time to invest in these characters, regardless of the platform. For us, the second screen has become the first screen, which is good as there is decline in linear television viewing.” For Toca Boca VP brand and marketing Jonas Carlsson, second screen is highly immersive. 

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