Game on! The Battle Over Content Is Heating Up - UK

I blogged recently about the importance of content and how I believe that the Internet Service Providers need to concern themselves more with the quality of content they are offering than with incremental improvements in network quality. Customers today take the provision of the network as a given, so it’s great content that really makes individual companies stand out. Perhaps more than in any other sector, that means retaining customer value and loyalty on a significant scale.

In the past couple of weeks I have seen one news story or announcement after another that makes this a topic worth returning to:

  • Sky – have heavily pushed their Game of Thrones series, not just as a series that customers can watch when each episode is broadcast, but also offering the complete box-set for customers to stream.
  • Amazon – have pushed their new series ‘Outlander’ and customers using Amazon Prime can stream it free.
  • Netflix – are pushing their upcoming new series ‘Daredevil’ and advertising Virgin Media Broadband packages on their site.

We are really starting to see this space heat-up with millions being spent by companies looking to source and invest in the best content creators and talent available to attract and retain customers, and probably the same again on marketing. I know as much about when new dramas will launch for the competition as I do for my own provider such is the ubiquity of advertising. I’ve read all about ‘how real to life’ House of Cards is without ever watching it once – content itself is becoming the new celebrity. Some products remain premium (for example sport) and – at the moment – remain the preserve of Sky and BT Sports. Premier League football, for example, is getting better and better and therefore driving up the rights pricing and ultimately the cost to the subscriber.

It is difficult to replicate the Premier League football as a product, but you can target the Movie and Drama market where there is more room for creativity and attracting new subscribers. Sky has shown with the recent ‘Fortitude’ series that you can really hit the spot with quality content that appeals to a wide range of audiences – if you get the themes right. It looks like Amazon and Netflix see this as a strategy they should also be following, and with the launch of MyBBC this autumn to personalize content even Aunty is acknowledging that getting the customer/content paradigm right is key.

I can see a future where the price of ‘sports packages’ from Sky continue to go up but movie, arts, and drama packages come down as they face more competition on this genre from Netflix, Amazon, and anyone else moving seriously into the movie-streaming figure – including YouTube This is great news for film fans, but not so good for avid sports fans like me. I hope I’m wrong but expect to be justifying the rising cost of my Sports package to myself for many years to come while looking for savings on light and heating and bemoaning the introduction of water meters

Photo by Marcello licensed under Creative Commons.

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