Thursday, 23 January 2014

2014 Predictions Sandbox #4: the Year of Niche

As January draws to a close, I've nearly finished developing my predictions for what will happen in digital in 2014 and thought that I’d post them here to get some wisdom from my readers! Some of these will be positive, some might be busting some myths about categories that have captured the zeitgeist. Now, more than ever, comments will be greatly appreciated. This one is a bit light on numbers – I need to work on that...
My prediction
2014 will see the launch of at least 10 new high quality, economically viable TV and tablet channels aimed at specific ethnic and/ or national audiences.
Why I think this
This is a simple one! As tablets have become ubiquitous in middle class homes and the penetration of connected TVs has increased thanks to the natural replacement cycle and the availability of extremely cheap dongles, like Sky Now, the cost of providing a TV channel into a home has fallen by an order of magnitude. A channel on the Freeview terrestrial broadcast system costs about £10m a year (assuming you’re not trying to get into the top 20 channels). Satellite is more like £500,000 a year. The cost of the hardware and software for a streaming channel is more like £50,000. Content management technology has fallen by a similar amount, as has the cost of running a business, thanks to more flexible office space and improved productivity technology.
Add to that a growing population in the UK that were born outside, and you can see the opportunities for high quality (in picture terms, at least) content offers aimed at audiences that have hitherto been too costly to access. Services like IROKO TV, which offers Nollywood films on a streaming basis have even been able to move onto Sky. Al Jazeera have bought a Freeview channel, joining Russia Today. The last two services have ulterior motives, of course – they are attempting to promote the national interests of their parents. But there are plenty more that are aiming to make some money. ESPN offers college football from the US. The NBA has its own streaming channel for basketball. The list goes on, but is not universal.
In the very near future, I expect to see content services aimed at Indians, Poles, South Africans, Australians and the numerous other ethnic and national groups that reside in the UK. Many of these will likely be subscription-funded, taking advantage of people’s increasing comfort with paying relatively small subscription charges to access film and TV shows that match their interest. This behaviour is likely to be most prevalent in London and the South East, but doubtless will begin to creep into other regions as familiarity with digital continues to grow.

And remember: I'm running the London Marathon for the NSPCC this year and any donations would be greatly appreciated.


  1. Thanks a lot for sharing this with all folks you really recognise what you are talking about! In this complex environment business need to present there company data in meaningful way.So user easily understand it .Sqiar ( which is in UK,provide services like Tableau and Data Warehousing etc .In these services sqiar experts convert company data into meaningful way.

  2. Very interesting. I would certainly use one of these srvices. A few questions:
    - is this content going to be localised in any form, ie only for Indians, Poles, etc that live in UK?
    - who will be the content providers, ie broadcasters?