Updates to our 2014 report
On November 25th, the Nostradamus project organised a seminar in Swedish focused on the Nordic film and tv industries, and the full event is now available on video!
Nostradamus editor Johanna Koljonen opened the afternoon by presenting the 2014 report and providing some updates based on this year’s events. Most of the talk centered on strategies for making content feel “simultaneous”, both in the sense of contemporary (belonging to a specific moment in the zeitgeist) and in the sense of needing to be consumed at a specific moment in one’s calendar.
Strategies of simultaneity, of creating must-watch-moments, include the false scarcity constructed around pre-recorded drama material released globally at approximately the same, whether in cinemas or on tv, but also the release of full seasons of TV shows on OTT services. While ostensibly giving the consumer the flexibility to watch the show any time they please, it actually creates a need to consume it as soon as possible at the pace one chooses.
Creating must-see moments is especially vital in linear broadcasting, which has seen significant ratings losses during the year. Johanna spoke about after-show formats and wider transmedial re-contextualisation as successful cases. I Finland, for instance, the Docventures framework for tv, radio, social media and physical events has created a sense of cultural urgency around curated seasons of feature-length documentaries (many of them years or decades old) on broadcast television.
Another big development in 2014 was predicted briefly in the Nostradamus report but worth expanding upon. The Twitch.tv games streaming service, which reaches an astounding number of young viewers watching an astonishing average of 106 minutes a day, was sold this year to Amazon for USD 970 million. Google was widely reported to have bid a billion, and it is speculated that they withdrew only because their ownership of YouTube would have created a de facto monopoly situation.
Twitch is an example of the rising importance of live video by the many for the many. But it also provides interesting clues for the broadcast networks asking themselves where the young viewers are: the competitors aren’t necessarily other networks. Earlier this year, Variety polled US teenagers on the likability of different celebrities – including parameters like “sexy” conventionally associated with traditional Hollywood stars. Interestingly, an actor only showed up in seventh place (his position probably artificially boosted by his recent tragic death). The first musician, Katy Perry, was ninth.
What to learn from this is probably not that YouTube comedians should get broadcast shows, but that there is something in the tone of these celebrities and their interactions with the media landscape they inhabit that offers important clues to the preferences of the younger demographic.
Watch Johanna’s full presentation below (Swedish). The seminar was made possible through the generous support of Lindholmen Science Park and the city of Göteborg.