Multi Channel Network

Linear TV through YouTube: the millennials are back!

Lately, there is an increasing debate about the future of linear television. But is there a growing number of viewers choosing to exchange old fashioned linear television for VOD services as Netflix and YouTube as often claimed? And is linear TV perceived as old-fashioned by millennials?

Nielsen research (2016) revealed that only 11% of the viewers in Europe pay for broadcasts or VOD services. And in countries like The Netherlands and The United Kingdom paid VOD services are only used at an average of 15 minutes a day. Still the Dutch viewers watch at an average of 183 minutes (2016) linear TV per day. The British even watch more TV: at an average of 240 minutes per day. So the share of paid VOD viewing compared to linear TV viewing is limited. Television is still a mass medium.

That’s why vloggers go multiscreen. The Dutch online Katwalk format – about fashion, beauty and entertainment – was first distributed on Dutch RTL Multi Channel Network in 2016 and later on was launched at one of RTL’s commercial TV channels (RTL5). But not only local players are attracted to linear TV distribution. Also international players like to distribute their video content via linear TV. This year (2017) Facebook announced to distribute video content in an app at cable’s set top boxes, and video platform Vice already offers linear programming at the American and Dutch cable systems.

However, also a reverse trend is observable. A growing number of traditional TV channels are distributing their content through online platforms. Earlier this year CBS announced to offer television subscriptions in co-operation with Google. Comparable deals are planned with the FOX sports FX and National Geographic Channel. Also YouTube announced the launch of YouTube Unplugged, a service which will distribute several traditional American networks like CBS, ABC and ESPN. This could also be a new opportunity for Dutch networks to appeal to a younger audience. But the networks have chosen to distribute their channels through their own catch-up online platforms.

The online distribution of the Dutch channels through international platforms could interest millennials in linear viewing.  Certainly, because many new online TV channels are distributing premium (linear) content.  A video platform as Crackle offers high quality programmes as Comedian in cars getting coffee  and action series like Cleaners (about a professional trained team of hit men). AOL originals even created a talk show format – Parkbench – in which Steve Buscemi follows various famous friends in New York. The show won (2016) an Emmy award for best short-form variety series on Sunday.

It is striking that even online channels exist, which are linear watched. Channels like Twitch (gaming) and the channel Spongebob are examples of this.

It has been a recurring theme among media experts that millennials have rejected linear TV. Probably this is due to the old-fashioned image of the traditional way of viewing (terrestrial and cable TV) and especially when one takes into account the rise of all types of linear online channels. So, European broadcasters in general and Dutch broadcasters in particular should think about distributing their linear channels through YouTube. Distributing channels through YouTube could imply that millennials massively will watch ‘linear TV’, but only online.

Charles Vaneker

Senior Research and Media consultant

Posted by Klapper  |  0 Comment  |  in Geen categorie, Multi Channel Network, Nederlandse kijker, Nederlandse televisie, Netflix, NL Ziet, online video, online video formats, RTL MCN, RTL Nederland

Traditional television networks: from instinct to content marketing

Big data is trending topic in the world of digital media. A search on the internet yields almost 700 million hits. So something must be going. Many media conferences have been devoted to the subject. Recently the Immovator conference in Hilversum The Netherlands – at April 23th 2015 – presented 7 cases about big data and media. But in fact most of the cases dealt with small data.
The reason for the confusion is the different interpretation of the big data concept. Technical bloggers like Andrew Brust (2012)mostly point out that big data is “all about the technologies and practice of handling data sets so large that conventional database management systems cannot handle them efficiently, and sometimes cannot handle them at all.”

But this is not what big data in the media context is about. In the media context big data can better be approached as digital trails which are left behind by all types of users at social media like Twitter and Facebook, streaming media sites as Youtube, Multi Channel Networks, Netflix, RTL-XL and digital media boxes (Green,2015). So it is about scalable systems of unstructured data with accompanied tools that can pull structured data (Konkel,2013) and can be used for predictive analyses on media behavior. The cases presented at the conference were examples of new developed tools/methods for analyzing different (combinations of) digital trails of media user data.

The Immovator conference offered insights about the change in strategy of traditional broadcast networks in The Netherlands.
First of all the content strategy is becoming data driven. It means that tv-format creation will no longer be based on instinct but on media trail data. RTL Nederland showed that content intelligence will be part of the future content strategy of the network. The data of the different streaming video platforms like RTL-XL, RTL Multi Channel Network and NL ziet will be used for new predictive analysis. The data can help the television eco system to derive their next hit, like the decision of Netflix to commission the production of the House of Cards format. Analysis of the Netflix platform data showed a large potential viewers interested in Kevin Spacey, David Fincher and BBC political drama. So Netflix commissioned the production the House of Cards series to Beau Willimon.
The data of the streaming platforms can also provide information about actors (image recognition data), narratives (subtitling data) and themes which drive viewing behavior and could influence the future production of tv-formats and decisions for the purchase of foreign fiction and non-fiction.

Second, media trail data will play a more important role in the promotion of program related content. Dutch pubcaster BNN/VARA analyses the online platform data to match the posting of content by the editors with the user activity on the social media platform. The graph shows discrepancy in time slot between supply and demand of social media content (format De Wereld Draait Door). The social media content is provided far before the user activity on the social media.
The conclusion is that traditional broadcasters are adapting the content strategy of many Video content channels like Netflix and Youtube and use data for decisions about production, creation, promotion and buying of content. It’s the first step from instinct to content marketing.

Charles Vaneker

Brandon, J. (2014). How ‘Big Data’ could help TV networks make better shows. Retrieved 30-04-2015, from
Brust, A. (2012). Big Data: Defining its definition. Retrieved 30-04-2014, 2012, from
Green, A. (2015). Big data and audience measurement. Retrieved 30-04-2015, 2015
Hawkins, S. (2015). 4 Ways Big Data will impact television and film. In Mediasilo. Vol. 2015.
Konkel, F. (2013). Defining Big Data. Retrieved 30-04-2015, 2015, from
Mandese, J. (2014). From the ‘Big 3’ To ‘Big Data:’ TV audience targeting comes of age. Retrieved 30-04-2015, 2015, from

Posted by Klapper  |  1 Comment  |  in Big data, BNN, content marketing, Multi Channel Network, NL Ziet, RTL Nederland, RTL-XL, social media, television networks, VARA
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