In light of the void that the halt in TV production is generating for networks and platforms alike, distributors are starting to sense a higher demand for taped content. Up next, ttvnews presents top industry executives’ opinions on the matter.

During these last few weeks of generalized quarantine due to the spread of coronavirus, linear TV consumption has grown around the world, reaching historic records in Spain and expected to grow by 60% in the US, according to Nielsen.

Paradoxically, networks have stopped their content production, forcing them to seek other contents that are already made, whether it’s their own or acquired from others.

Network and distribution executives spoke to ttvnews about the unexpected phenomenon.

Primary measures: Their Own Content

Linear TV networks’ quickest response has been to replace its halted new shows by news and current affairs programs, to inform about the current pandemic.

But this won’t be sustainable for very long and the audience will need -now more than ever- entertainment and distraction.

In this regard, networks are already evaluating the possibility to offer their own taped content that was stored away (either for later premieres or for second screens).

In Spain, for instance, Mediaset opted to air Juegos sin frontera on Telecinco and Un doctor para mi casa on Cuatro, two shows originally slated to air on Mitele Plus.

And RTVE started promoting a new edition of MasterChef, which was scheduled for a later release.

Uruguay’s Canal 12 opted for a similar solution: “Fortunately we have a safety net of taped shows, which puts us at ease, but it depends on how long this goes on for,” Eugenio Restano, the network’s Protramming manager, said to ttvnews.

Secondary Measures: Acquired Content

Precisely because nobody knows how long this crisis will go on for, many networks, programmers and platforms are starting to evaluate the possibility of acquiring third party content.

And this increase in demand is noticeable, as many distribution companies agree.

“We’ve already started getting requests for options, even as a preventive measure,” said Patricia Jasin, VP of TV Azteca Internacional.

In this scenario, the company is choosing shows with shorter seasons or those that have already finished, because “these are the most interesting taped shows when it comes to filling spaces that could be interrupted at any moment to reinstate the regular programming,” she said.

Another distributor that decided to move some chips around is Snap Media: “As we go through this, we stay committed to offering content from Snap, Marvista and Hemisphere to supply any demand for original production that’s growing these days,” the company said in a statement.

Fredrik af Malmborg, managing director of Eccho Rights, meanwhile, spoke about the current situation, saying: “We are in constant conversations with out clients to help them fill those spaces and find solutions that can adapt to these specific circumstances.”

In this regard, he mentioned Turkish dramas -which Eccho offers at “reasonable prices”- as a great alternative: “They have a considerable volume and work very well in their national market, as well as in the international arena,” he said, citing titles like Elif or Ezel.

“These are challenging times, with more viewers than ever but a very limited offer of new content, and we are ready to work together with our clients to find the best result possible,” he added.

Kanal D International agrees with how ideal Turkish series are right now. “We are ready to satisfy our clients’ demands,” said executive director Kerim Emrah Turna, in reference to the thousands of hours of fiction available in its catalog.

“We expect to see greater demand for taped content from linear networks than from OTTs. OTTs have a bigger scale of content, however, linear TV has to fill its daily lineups,” he said.

Lastly, Dori Media has already been contacted by clients interested in acquiring content. And its varied catalog -with both scripted and non-scripted formats, and titles from Argentina, Spain, Russia, Japan and others- is a particularly important advantage for the distributor.

Nadav Palti, CEO of the Israeli company, said: “Our goal is to satisfy our clients’ needs and find a way to work together on any project that may come up during this complicated situation.”

“As a result of all the halted production, there will be a void of series and shows in the market. Those companies who are in advanced production with their titles will have a significant advantage. When this crisis comes to an end, we believe companies will develop content much faster and for less money, focusing on non-scripted formats, which are easier to produce and dont require a script.”