1. Streaming services become more traditional
2017 saw online streaming services taking original content to a new level - 2018 is expected to see a drastic jump in spend toward original content. Case in point: Netflix is aiming to spend nearly $8 billion in the next year alone, up dramatically from the $2 billion it spent in 2017.
However, what we’re now starting to see - and what we’ll see more of this year - is the return to traditional models. Platforms like Netflix are increasingly beginning to pilot their own shows, posting content from week to week, rather than in bulk. I think this return to tradition will become the norm, rather than the exception in 2018. Despite online video being a digital medium, traditional TV models lend themselves to keeping audiences coming back for more.
As Facebook Watch and other social-based video platforms move into this space throughout 2018, we can expect a number of things to happen. Firstly, competition for platforms such as YouTube will increase. People already spend more time on Facebook than YouTube (7.8 per cent of UK adults’ time, versus 5 per cent, respectively), and Watch is yet another reason for people to stay logged into the network.
Once Facebook has sufficient buy-in from its users, I believe we’ll start to see it make a move towards creating its own original content and ownership of hosting events, like sports or music events. At that point, we’re looking at social video competing with established players like Netflix or Hulu.
2. Premier League partnerships with online broadcasters will finally begin
2018 is a pivotal, and potentially game-changing year for sports rights in the UK. English Premier League rights are up for grabs once more and we will finally see an online broadcaster, such as Facebook or Amazon, bid for rights, and likely win a portion of these rights to show some games. With viewership numbers falling for the league, it makes total sense to finally go all in and sign a deal with an online platform to make sure it can recapture some of this lost audience.
This shift has been bubbling up over the last year, in which Amazon won the auction to live-stream NFL games and also outbid Sky to secure ATP World Tour rights.
3. Perpetual change becomes the norm for video
Video currently makes up 69 per cent of all online traffic and this will only keep growing in coming years.
Thanks to its relative newness, however, we’ll keep seeing the format evolve at a rapid pace, to keep up with consumers’ changing attitudes and behaviours. For example, last year alone we already saw platforms, including Apple’s Safari, turn against the ubiquitous use of autoplay video, yet over 60 per cent of digital publishers currently rely on autoplay capabilities for their video content.
Rather than looking at the glass as half-empty, these challenges are an opportunity to re-vamp content strategies to keep up with their audiences, who will expect creators to keep pace with the times
To overcome these ever-changing challenges, content creators will need to be open and flexible when it comes to video. Rather than looking at the glass as half-empty, these challenges are an opportunity to re-vamp content strategies to keep up with their audiences, who will expect creators to keep pace with the times. Getting creative with content and making sure viewers have a reason to hit the play button will be more critical than ever to engage audiences and get them sharing content across their social platforms.
Whatever the purpose of your content, making sure it resonates is always a reliable way to ensure your video content is seen, liked and shared.
4. Fragmentation of streaming continues
The end of the TV subscription is on its way, and this year will show this.
As more people opt for personalised streaming experiences rather than traditional TV programming, more players are emerging within the space, including the likes of Apple, Amazon and now Facebook. More and more competitors will keep springing up this year and consumers will have more choice than ever before.
However, this choice will be completely fragmented, as some platforms will have exclusivity over content, meaning no one streaming service will be able to cater to every consumer’s needs. Instead, we’ll likely see a rise in more niche streaming platforms to cater to increasingly diverse audiences.
5. Short-form video will see huge growth, especially in sport
In 2017 we’ve seen that audiences are increasingly viewing short, snappy, snackable video content.
However, this year will see this trend really accelerate especially for ‘near-live’ sports highlights, whereby fans can watch online video of sports action, immediately after it happens. This type of short-form content will become the new norm by which sports fans will not only watch sports, but also engage online.