The broadcast industry needs a sea-change to respond to trends within society and technology, according to consultancy firm, EY.

Speaking at the Edinburgh Television Festival, Martin Holyoake will warn broadcasters that the ongoing shifts in technology and demand, mean they need to prepare for the future.

“Broadcasters need to do more than react to today’s challenges. Audiences are increasingly assuming the role of editor over their own media choices — and the implications that this shift brings is significant for the way content is sourced, produced, distributed and consumed,” stated Martin Holyoake, EY media & entertainment partner.

“Put simply, there’s never been a more exciting time to be in the television in the UK, or a more uncertain one. An ever-expanding array of channels, platforms, devices, experiences and choice has created a world where the viewer is firmly in control.  For the industry, such an unprecedented state of flux inevitably creates a mix of risk and opportunity – giving rise to uncertainty and excitement in equal measure.”

His team is proposing 5 steps to prepare for the future:

  • Place the audience at the centre. They argue that viewers will look for content on their own terms, regardless of the distribution model.
  • More efficient approaches required to production and sourcing. They believe that 15-20% savings can be made in production through challenging “entrenched processes”.
  • Innovate through cross-media content. This means making viewers active participants in the content, through companion experiences, synchronous activity and dual screen. EY suggests that platform engagement can lead to “an uplift of at least 25% audience impact.”
  • Understand your friends and foes. Are there any new, or international studios and channels that can be potential partners and collaborators.
  • Make it personal. The final recommendation is using data to make each viewer feel that the experience is a personal one.

Ernst & Young is a sponsor of the Edinburgh Television Festival.