‘The quality and talent attracted to TV today is astounding’, says Fox International Channels Europe sales head | M&M Global

‘The quality and talent attracted to TV today is astounding’, says Fox International Channels Europe sales head

Deborah Armstrong, EVP sales and brand partnerships, Fox International Channels Europe, explains to M&M Global why now is undoubtedly the ‘Golden Age’ for television. 

Deborah Armstrong

Is this really TV’s ‘golden age’? 

Today we are enjoying the best-ever, cinema quality TV content on bigger, brighter screens. Not only that, we can watch what we want, when we want it across multiple screens and devices. Audience interest is at an all-time high with TV being the most talked about medium on and offline.

The quality and talent attracted to TV today is astounding. US scripted drama alone has almost trebled in output since 2000, and at twice the production cost. On our own Fox International Channels (FIC), award winning story-tellers and stars are increasingly finding a natural home, most recently producing signature series such as M Night Shyamalan’s ‘Wayward Pines’ for Fox, or Ron Howard’s ‘Breakthrough’ for National Geographic Channel.

In terms of an environment for advertisers, TV is as unbeatable today as it has always been. No other medium can deliver the reach, emotion, trust & ROI in the way TV can. Combine that with the best shows ever, and for sure it is the ‘Golden Age’.

How long do you think it will last?

Jeff Ford, the managing director of Fox International Channels UK frequently says that “Television is thriving and will continue to do so.” There are more channels creating high quality must-see content than ever before. He firmly believes the bar will keep getting higher, as vast numbers of channels and platforms challenge each other to create this year’s must-see shows.

At FIC, we believe there is no end date to creativity. Talent at this elevated level will continue to create content that entertains and moves audiences globally. Audiences follow great content and brands will want to engage deeply with those customers / audiences. In this respect TV owns the future.

How much has the TV industry changed over the past five years?

For sure there has been significant, fast-paced change with the proliferation of viewing options in the linear and non-linear world. High-quality shows are accessible at any time on any device. So programming and scheduling is increasingly complex as we compete for viewers across digital universes and personal screens. However, TV has always adapted to and kept pace with such changes in viewing behaviour and the market. At FIC, we too have evolved to become part of the digital and non-linear world, leading with our must-see content.

As audiences engage with more TV content than ever before in a multitude of ways, editorial and marketing strategies fuel the social and online ecosystem to compliment, enhance and drive back to the core viewing experience.

What are the next steps for TV, both in terms of content and commercially?

Content creators will continue to push the boundaries of storytelling and quality TV content will continue to be sought out by audiences of all ages. In terms of linear channels it may be that we have fewer options, but with the strongest, trusted brands like Fox, Fox Sports and National Geographic Channel continuing to perform in the linear and non-linear world.

Commercially we will find more ways and standards to measure and trade TV audiences as they follow shows and content across devices. Advertising campaigns will have to be measured, re-calibrated & optimised for the multi-screen life and ad-serving technology will need to keep pace.

What media trends and innovations do you think will prove significant over the coming years?

The possibilities for TV are exciting and the ways the industry will continue to evolve are boundless.

The ‘future’ trends we would highlight are those that could also be considered traditional. Firstly, shared viewing. As the viewing landscape becomes more & more fractured, audiences increasingly want to be part of quality, live TV events – it will always be in our nature to want to share experiences. So event TV will get bigger, bolder and incorporate stronger and more cohesive social and complimentary media experiences. At Fox Sports we will continue to focus on being the best network for the shared fan experience and in Entertainment we are pioneering global day & date ‘event’ premiers. In a media-first, this month the Fox network will premier ‘Wayward Pines’ in the US and 126 countries around the world – the biggest simultaneous launch of a TV show on a single network to date.

Whilst advertiser involvement in content and production may be more sophisticated today, it is as old as the medium itself. In today’s burgeoning landscape, the desire and demand for high quality branded stories and immersive experiences will only increase. Advertisers will seek closer alignment between their brands and quality TV content. Content owners will activate deeper levels of integration with partner brands, with greater involvement at the development stage.

Ultimately whilst there are a lot of things we don’t know about the future – and despite industry disruption and evolution, we are confident that TV’s leading position in the hearts and minds of audiences and advertisers alike is unlikely to change.

Hernan Lopez, president and CEO of Fox International Channels will be speaking at this year’s Festival of Media Global event in Rome – click here for the full agenda.

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