What’s the future of BVOD? (Lucien Brouwer, RTL Nederland)

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With new services being created each year and consumers having more time to watch content, this year’s VOD market is thriving. Broadcasters’ VOD services viewing has been especially high during lockdown. In this interview with Lucien Brouwer, CMO at RTL Nederland, we look at the future of BVOD and discuss how to stand out from the pack in a competitive market.

What were the main effects of the Covid-19 outbreak on VOD consumption in the Netherlands?

Prior to the Covid-19 outbreak, the Dutch subscription VOD market showed strong subscriber growth of about 25% in 2019 compared to 2018. In Videoland’s case, the hard lockdown phase from March to May overlapped with the release of the second season of our blockbuster series Mocro Maffia. Within these three months our paid subscriber base grew by almost 30% and total viewing time surged by 40% within a month. While most of that huge success was driven by the release of Mocro Maffia, we observed higher overall subscriber activity across the platform. This indicates that, during lockdown, Dutch consumers were watching significantly more VOD content than usual.

In your view, what does the future look like for BVOD players?

In the next few years, video streaming platforms will become the default destination for TV broadcast content, both live and on demand, and Covid-19 has accelerated that development. However, the VOD business model requires significant investments in original content and streaming technology. To benefit from the scalability of digital video distribution, local broadcasters will need to partner to drive down the cost of streaming technology, and to develop subscription services supported with advertising to offer more affordable rate plans. This is an opportunity to introduce innovative ad formats which are less intrusive and more effective.

How will broadcasters achieve standout in a crowded market with new AVOD & SVOD launches every year?

Exclusive, locally relevant content is by far the most decisive factor for consumers when it comes to choosing a VOD service. Broadcasters need to produce more original shows and distribute them on their VOD services only. The best content hits a nerve in society and creates a buzz which can be amplified via social media. Consumers will inevitably associate their favourite shows with the VOD service behind them which will help to sharpen the VOD brand profile and make it stand out from other services.

Exclusive, locally relevant
content is
the most decisive factor
for consumers when choosing
a VOD service.

What content works and what are the opportunities for brands?

What works best for Videoland is compelling content. The content should be relevant in the Netherlands and address the interests, needs, wishes, frustrations or fears of our Dutch audience. And, preferably, be groundbreaking, authentic and innovative. Partnership opportunities arise for brands when their audience, moment of use, or brand value has a fit with our brand and content. Besides that, an option for brands is product placement in our series if the brand that appears in the show adds authenticity to the story.

What’s new with Videoland?

Videoland has just introduced new tiers to the products, hoping to attract new customers, while rewarding the loyalty of our current base. We have also introduced a hybrid tier, offering customers the choice to accept advertisements at a lower monthly rate, and introduced Live TV, allowing customers to watch the programmes on Videoland that are currently also playing on the broadcast channels. We will improve our viewing experience even further, listening to customer feedback and implementing changes to make sure we maintain and increase our current satisfaction rating. We are also improving the way we support all the different devices out there, to make Videoland an excellent experience on all screens.

Is there a specific case study on a brand’s campaign you’d like to talk about?

Mocro Maffia Series 2 was planned for release on 2 April. The first season was a huge hit 18 months ago. So the fans had to wait a long time. From the moment of lockdown on 13 March, these fans started to ask for an early release of their favourite series. The huge number of social messages was something that we couldn’t ignore. The content team suggested advancing the release to 20 March to meet demand. This had never been done before in the Netherlands by any SVOD player.

The early release was big news in the Netherlands. Media, and especially the fans were very excited. Buzz about our original content not only resulted in huge inflow numbers but also in a great NPS score and growth in brand consideration.

Lucien Brouwer

Lucien Brouwer

Chief Marketing Officer, RTL Nederland

Lucien Brouwer has been the Chief Consumer Officer at RTL Nederland since 2018. This means that he has overseen the development of Videoland, where customer experience is prioritised. Prior to joining RTL Nederland, Lucien was Director of Entertainment Platforms at Liberty Global, Director of Video Products at Ziggo, having started as the Director of Product Management, and filled various management roles at KPN.
Lucien also has a degree in Business Economics from the Erasmus University Rotterdam.
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