Free air television does not need to worry about its future, but it lays in the national content

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How much time is left for the classical free to air television and when will all of us switch to OTT platforms – those are the issues which were raised in the panel discussion “Will Netflix Eat The Free TV World?”.

Richard Brešković, Croatian Telecom director, Tony Jordan, CEO of the British production house Red Planet and Henning Tewes, RTL Croatia CEO started a discussion from three different angles.

Henning Tewes reminded the audience that the discussion on the failure of TV is ongoing for years now. Although the changes are constant and necessary the failure of TV is being predicted by those who do not understand the business. RTL invests a lot in its own content because it wants to have intellectual property rights. One piece of news is a streaming platform RTL Play which has the same audience as RTL, just 15 years younger.“It is interesting to mention that one extremely popular Turkish telenovela did not lose any audience when it was transfered to RTL Play. One day that platform will be charged as well”, said Tewes.

Talking about trends in the consummation of content Richard Brešković said that the audience in Croatia likes to binge-watch, while a viewership of the on-demand television is increasing.

“Croatian audience follows the trends we see in the US, maybe not that much, but still it does”, said Brešković. Since the Croatian Telecom is a content distributor it is particularly careful while choosing a content for investment.  Potential growth Brešković finds in short video forms no longer than 12 minutes, which could be watched on mobile phones while driving or during the school holidays.

“Eight-piece movie of 12 minutes long sequences sounds interesting”, Jordan agreed and added that this period for him, as a writer, is excellent – everyone is looking for a good quality and original content, but he believes that artists should stay independent in order to stay creative. Jordan works with several Croatian companies, among others. Although budgets here are significantly lower than in the Western world, Tewes sees it as an advantage which encourages the industry to be creative and that’s the way to go. He is sure that American content will lose in its attraction and that the national content will take the lead in Croatia. Brešković expects lots of new platforms like Netflix coming and he sees Croatian Telecom as an aggregator which offers the best for its clients. But, within the same future, with high interest for the on demand, free television lives on, concluded Brešković and answered the key question of the panel.