Figures provided by the Norwegian public broadcaster NRK demonstrate the notable difference in the popularity of on-demand viewing compared to linear viewing among children using its dedicated kids multiscreen streaming player service, NRK Super. 92% of the usage on this service, where the content and user experience are geared towards the youth market, is on-demand. The remaining 8% is linear streaming. This compares to 67% on-demand and 33% linear streaming within the NRK TV player service, which is the broadcasterâ€™s online/multiscreen app offering for the Norwegian population as a whole.
Bjarne Mykleburst, Head of IP Distribution at NRK, says that a good deal of the difference can be explained by the fact that adults (who are only found within the NRK TV player) are more interested in sports, current affairs including news and major live events, all of which are key drivers for linear viewing. But he does believe that some of the difference is due to behavioural preference. He expects the volume of on-demand viewing to grow as todayâ€™s children mature into adults.
â€œIf you want to understand the future then look at what the kids are doing,â€ he told the audience at OTT TV World Summit in London on Wednesday. â€œWe make lots of content for kids and that gives us the opportunity to see how they view television and it is also important for us to be where they are, especially as they are the next generation of license fee payers.â€
The NRK TV player was already in the market when the broadcaster decided to launch a second app dedicated to children. â€œThis provided a new user experience for the children. We did not make or add any new content to the service [compared to what was available via NRK TV] but when we launched Superplayer, usage doubled within a couple of weeks.â€
Emphasising one of the key points for his whole conference presentation, Mykleburst declared: â€œIt is not just about making good content. Your content does not give you any value until it reaches the consumer. We have created extra value as a broadcaster by giving our content greater reach.â€
One of NRKâ€™s childrenâ€™s programmes, â€˜Karsten og Petraâ€™ (episode one) created an important landmark a year ago when it became the first NRK show produced for traditional TV that achieved more viewers on platforms other than the television set. Tablets alone accounted for 49% of all the views for this programme. On-demand viewing also featured strongly: out of 441,000 total viewers, 135,000 of them watched live (31% live). â€œAll the following episodes showed the same pattern,â€ Mykleburst added.
On NRK Superplayer (for kids) the breakdown of devices being used to access the streamed content is: Tablet 70%, PC 21% and mobile 9%. Streaming to the TV barely registers, although the broadcaster has recently made the service available on connected TV devices.
By contrast, the device breakdown in the NRK TV (whole population â€“ all content) app is: PC 66%, tablet 20%, television 10% and mobile 4%. When it comes to connected TV, NRKâ€™s content is now available on Apple TV, Chromecast and, since IFA this year, popular models of Samsung and Panasonic Smart TVs.
NRK offers three national TV channels and 13 national radio channels. Characterising the Norwegian market, Mykleburst said 95% of homes in the country have a television and 38% of homes have a TV that is connected to the Internet. Netflix and YouTube are proving popular in Norway, although there is little evidence of cord cutting yet. The NRK archive now includes 40,000 programmes online.
NRK now finds itself competing for time with global brands. â€œThis is now a World Cup tournament when it comes to getting viewersâ€™ attention so we have to be where the users are and make our content available on the different platforms they want to use,â€ Mykleburst explained. â€œWhat OTT offers a broadcaster is extended reach.â€
To illustrate the general changes in how Norwegian viewers watch content, both in the offline and online world, Mykleburst used the example of Lilyhammer, the co-production from NRK and Netflix (where NRK had first rights for Norway). The first episode achieved 609,000 viewers when first aired on the linear schedule, then picked up 180,000 DVR viewers. Another 119,000 viewers watched one of the three re-runs during the week after the â€˜premiereâ€™. 77,000 viewers watched the episode online.
The total end rating was 985,000 viewers for this episode, of which 62% watched the first, linear showing. This figure demonstrates how viewers have much more choice about when and how they watch shows today. It does also put the online viewing into context; this accounted for nearly 8% of views.
NRK is currently investigating HbbTV (the European-centric standard for hybrid broadcast broadband delivery) as another distribution platform, Mykleburst told the summit. Outlining some of the essentials for a broadcaster distributing on IP streaming platforms (whether direct-to-consumer or through an aggregator) he said it is important to have strong brand recognition.
â€œIt is important that people know a programme was made and financed by NRK otherwise they will wonder why they should pay their license fee. If we drown out there [in terms of brand recognition] their willingness to pay the license fee will drop.â€ He added that NRK content comes as a whole package â€“ the content offer must appear in full or not at all, and there can be no cherry-picking of NRK content by platforms.