2013 in Review

As is the tradition on our Trendscape blog, we would like to present a brief review of the year that is now coming to a close. The stories below look at some of the trends that marked the last twelve months. Some highlights of 2013 include the growing sophistication of the new writing involved in transmedia projects and web documentaries, Netflix’s secure reign over the OTT industry, the emergence of new alternatives to traditional cable, and the professionalization of social TV.

New writing: Transmedia and web documentaries find the right tone

A number of transmedia and online broadcast projects stood out this year for their sophisticated script development and advances in the technology used to further their narratives. The many prizes awarded to Canadian fictional transmedia work and web documentaries are also undeniable proof that 2013 was a good year for this type of content. Projects such as Émilie (Attraction Média), Guidestones (iThentic Canada), The Defector (Jam3 and Fathom Film Group), Le Judas (Couzin Films) and Fort McMoney (TOXA) attest to the fact that these creators are increasingly masters of “new writing.”

In April, our blogger Oriane Hurard provided a case study of Type:Rider, an ode to typography that blends video game, documentary and art installation, which was highly successful in France upon its release several months later.

TYPE:RIDER: Video Game, Documentary and Transmedia

New players: Netflix secures its lead, but other options exist

Once again this year, Netflix generated a lot of buzz. With the launch of its original programming and the many Emmy nominations it received, in addition to the innovative methods used to guide its programming choices (from in-depth analysis of user data to monitoring piracy sites), Netflix ends the year as the number one web broadcaster. Last June, our blogger Danielle Desjardins analyzed this service’s place in Canada.

The Netflix Effect in Canada

While Netflix consolidated its lead, this did not keep other services vying to replace traditional cable from entering the market. Aereo, the little antenna that provides cable access for mobile devices, is now available in more than a dozen cities in the United States and has been under a steady barrage of lawsuits from U.S. broadcasters. The Franco-Canadian market recently welcomed Canal+ Canada, a “freemium” service for French content broadcast by Dailymotion. Our collaborators Suzanne Lortie and Fabien Loszach examined Aereo and Canal+ Canada respectively.

Little Antennas, Big Questions: How Aereo Is Disrupting U.S. Broadcast System

Canal+Canada: The Trojan Horse of a French Giant?

New uses: social television goes pro

In 2013, social television went from an emerging phenomenon to a practice that is studied, measured and professional. Many acquisitions and alliances have been made between the two major social networks—Facebook and Twitter—and television industry stakeholders: Nielsen purchased SocialGuide and offers its own Nielsen Twitter TV Ratings; TF1, Canal+, ABC and others have signed partnerships with Facebook; Twitter launched “See it” with NBC, etc.

Here is another fact that made waves this year: a preliminary study suggests some correlation between social media activity and audience ratings. In August, Nielsen revealed that increased social media activity associated with a show resulted in a rise by audience ratings for that show in 29% of cases. Our blogger Patrick Dion investigated this topic further:

Social TV: Social Networks’ Influence on Television

We’ll be back in early 2014 with an analysis of key industry trends for television and digital media worth watching in the year to come. Happy holidays!

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