Marie Nilsson • CEO, Mediavision
“It will be interesting to see what happens in the autumn/winter window”
- Our conversation focused on the Nordic region's most recent behaviours and trends in audiovisual consumption
Cineuropa spoke to Marie Nilsson, CEO of Mediavision. We discussed the Nordic region's current behaviours and trends in audiovisual consumption, especially in light of the transformations brought on by the health crisis.
Cineuropa: When was Mediavision established? What's your core business?
Marie Nilsson: Mediavision is a private company focusing on media development in the Nordics. Our core activities centre on video formats. As the transformation owing to digitalisation has been ongoing for the last 10-15 years, we've also developed expertise in media formats other than video, so we're covering text and sound. By “video”, I mean traditional television, SVoD, AvoD and theatrical, so actually, any type of audiovisual format. The company was established in 1996. We do both media analysis and media consulting from a Nordic perspective. We've put a great deal of effort into following the developments related to the pandemic and into understanding how people are spending their money. We have concluded that household spending has decreased owing to lower spending in cinemas. Some of this money was spent on other media formats, especially SVoD, but the shutdown of the theatres has led to an overall minor decline in households’ spending on media content.
Has this trend occurred more noticeably in some countries than in others?
It has happened more or less everywhere, since cinemas have been shut down all over the region – with the exception of Denmark, which at one stage had its cinemas open and also racked up a huge success with Thomas Vinterberg's Another Round [+see also:
film profile], and that helped to limit the losses. It will be interesting to see in the near future which path the market will take and how the longing to watch films in cinemas is going to play out. Or will people be more up for watching films at home, as happened during the first window? What's your take on this?
I believe the answer might lie somewhere in between these two trends. On one hand, some cinephiles will be eager to attend cinemas as soon as they reopen or within the space of a few months. Others will probably not want to give up the comfort of watching movies at home. Many cinemas will close, and others will survive the crisis, especially the ones providing a unique offering or additional services.
But let's look at Disney+. Many families, of course, went to watch Disney movies or children's films. Maybe they'll have less of a reason to visit cinemas... Their subscription service has become very popular here. It will be interesting to see what happens in the autumn/winter window and how these families will alter their consumption habits.
What about TV consumption? Has this changed at all?
Not really. We can see that the downward trend has been consistent. Traditional broadcasters are losing their shares, even though we had a small bump in the curve during the first [March] lockdown. [...] Those who are hoping for change will be disappointed.
We all know how the influence of streaming giants as service providers and content producers is growing. In terms of possible long-term scenarios, do you see any risk that these major players' increasing influence – and market shares – will affect the overall quality and variety of productions in order to bring them into line with their editorial policies?
Well, that could be the case, but you could also argue the opposite. Thanks to digital distribution, you can enlarge your footprint and your market. For example, if we look at those Korean films that were very popular one or two years ago, I presume you might see something similar allowing European and Nordic titles to travel more easily in the future. They may be seen on niche services, for example, or on bigger services showing niche titles. I'm not sure that just because the production output will be led by big, global corporations, that would mean that they wouldn't be interested in high-quality, diversified content. I think that's a narrow-minded perspective. Why would the demand for niche productions decline only because the distribution modes differ? Don't you think that the same basic rules apply when it comes to demand, even if distribution changes? I'm sure that there are many people here in the Nordics who would love to watch some content that didn't qualify for a TV or theatrical release, in terms of commercial strategy. On global SVoD services, these productions could probably find a slot more easily. In any case, it's too early to be sure about this; we'll see.
Speaking of the Nordic territories, what about senior viewers – let's say people aged over 50 – and their consumption trends?
We have just released our Q1 figures, and as for Sweden, we now have a penetration level for SVoD surpassing 60% of the total population. The daily reach of online viewing has almost reached 70%, and this figure includes both AVoD and SVoD. I'd say that the pivotal point between younger and older audiences is somewhere in between 55 and 60. For the 60-plus segment, we have a lower, but still relatively high, SVoD penetration – close to 50%. However, SVoD services will increasingly move into regular TV sets, and older viewers will learn how to use their remote to access this content as well. And I don’t think this will be any more complicated than learning how to use a smartphone, which almost everybody uses today. That's going to happen, for sure. All parties are interested in making this process as fast and as smooth as possible; broadcasters need to move their viewers to SVoD or AVoD, as do advertisers.
What are the most frequently consumed types of content?
I must say that we didn't see a huge increase in VoD consumption during the pandemic, as it had already been very high before the outbreak. However, we've seen that households have been acquiring more services, so the stack has been growing – instead of having just one service, they now use two, or even three. We have also noticed an increased daily reach. In terms of genres, we see that foreign fiction [non-Scandinavian productions] is the most frequently consumed type of content. If you take into consideration both local and foreign fiction, it represents over half of the overall viewing. Fiction is followed by documentaries and factual content, which has a slightly larger share than entertainment and children's content.
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