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Collaboration is crucial and content is king

New Flemish streaming platform offers local viewers more choice

The recent announcement of a new streaming service in Flanders this fall is a huge opportunity for local media players to cater to their own specific audience who are spending more time in over-the-top (OTT) video environments, film and television content provided via a high-speed Internet connection rather than a cable or satellite provider. What’s more, it is a viable option for viewers who want something new with a distinct personality and programming. Not to mention the positive impact on the local market and economy. The time is now to offer the public a local streaming service alongside digital TV that will compete with global players.

“Collaboration is crucial and content is king. This is imperative for local players to jump on the bandwagon right away so synergies can be invested in producing a continuous flow of new, innovative and varied content,” says Michele Gabriël, Strategy Director at Deloitte Belgium. Currently, viewers are accustomed to accessing high-quality shows on international OTT platforms that are constantly being renewed. By establishing a foothold in this space with one simple and far-reaching platform, viewers are no longer compelled to purchase a bundle of subscriptions. Consequently, a perpetual influx of diverse programmes is vital for the platform’s survival. Case in point, many Disney+ and Apple TV+ subscribers point out on social media they are cancelling their subscriptions because they consumed the content they joined the platform for and are unsatisfied with what's new.

If we deep dive into the ‘TV-behaviour’ of Flemish viewers, they have not abandoned cable altogether, instead they are opting to purchase OTT subscriptions. For example, 15% of 25-34 year olds are considered ‘cord cutters’ because they think that cable TV is too expensive and instead stream their preferred TV programmes. If we look at the overall Flemish population, 3% were  ‘cord cutters’ in 2017 and the number has risen to 6% in 2019. According to the latest Deloitte Global Mobile Consumer Survey, 38% of Belgian consumers subscribe to one or more streaming platforms. On a fully-fledged Flemish streaming platform, Flemish media players can boldly assert their competitive advantage over international players. “Clearly, domestic production houses, channels and operators have a better feel for the local market and can make a customised offer that is more fitting to their specific audience,” adds Gabriël. 

With this unique offering of local and international content, viewers can find all their viewing preferences ​​in one engaging environment -- in an on-demand way. Finding the right business model is imperative for this new entrant in the Flemish streaming service to prevail. A mixed model of AVOD and SVOD will compensate for declining linear advertising income and digital TV subscriptions. Plus, a continuous offer of fresh and appealing content similar to Netflix will ensure customers continue coming back for more. Its success also depends on finding the Flemish audience’s sweet spot which embraces the rich heritage and pride of Flemish culture and media.

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