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TV industry must heed Generation Z: Value Partners

Middle East youth is driving video consumption trends in the region

TV industry must heed Generation Z: Value Partners
Zoran Vasiljev, managing director, Value Partners Dubai, Value Partners, Dubai says the TV industry needs to pay attention to TV usage by the new generation.

Streaming video on demand (VOD) is to become one of the most popular modes of video consumption for the age 16 to 24 demographic, known as Generation Z, according to Middle East management consultancy firm Value Partners.

Their research indicates that after broadcast TV, VOD will become more popular than downloading movies, using Personal Video Recorders (PVRs) or watching DVDs.

"In order to reach the internet savvy Gen Z in the Middle East, all layers of the value chain in the industry [need] to pay attention to new usage patterns of the new generation, and how to reach them," said Zoran Vasiljev, managing director, Value Partners Dubai, Value Partners, Dubai. "Like most other parts of the world, Gen Z in the Middle East is moving away from other forms of video and moving towards streaming VOD. The on-demand model should soon gain more popularity in the Middle East." 

Generation Z in the Middle East will be open to paying for video content as long as it guarantees a good picture and avoids advertising, according to the Value Partners study.

Although this generation in the Middle East has not yet developed a pay TV habit, Value Partners says that the youth are keen to select and direct what they watch and when they watch it, meaning that pay TV is the neatest option for them. The study suggested that if VOD providers can provide interactive, attractive services, they will attract a paying audience.

"Some broadcasters in the Middle East have jumped on the VOD bandwagon, for instance, Rotana joining forces with Yahoo! for content streaming on the online player's VOD portal. Content creators in the region and broadcasters will have to innovate to maintain viewing levels, and technology advances such as 3D and virtual reality could help to hold the attention of Gen Z," added Durou.

The study also found that social networking is becoming an increasing influence in shaping what Generation Z watches and, in line with this trend, traditional TV stations are beginning to use social media tools to drive ratings.

"In the Middle East, with 55 per cent of the population under the age of 25 and 70 per cent of internet users on social networks, social networking sites are an important tool for content creators and broadcasters. It is a near-instantaneous audience insight channel that opens up the opportunity to influence programme popularity through engaging with ‘opinion leaders' and through maintaining compelling fan pages," said Emmanuel Durou, senior engagement manager, Value Partners Dubai.

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