Broadcasters Beginning to Explore Short-Form Content

LONDON—Short-form content is growing in popularity among viewers and content producers, including broadcasters. Ampere Analysis indicates that the U.K.’s BBC and Channel 4 are two of the first major international broadcasters to hop on the short-form bandwagon.

Per a recent report from Ampere Analysis, short-form series make up 9% of all video-on-demand series globally; in addition, 11% of upcoming VoD commissions are short-form. Platforms like Snapchat, Facebook Watch and Quibi are the leading providers of short-form content, but broadcasters are starting to dip their toes into the format, led by the aforementioned BBC and Channel 4.

Specifically, Ampere reports that Channel 4 plans to spend £1 million on new short-form content, most notably in its comedy series. The BBC is also investing in short-form comedy content. The plan will be distribute these series via iPlayer.

Outside of major broadcasters, Ampere found that comedy, reality, news and entertainment were the most popular content for short-form content. Facebook is currently the most popular, but new services like Quibi are quickly on the rise. Also, Asia is the predominant market for short-form content, with 31% of all existing short-form originals coming from South Korea, Japan, Hong Kong or China.

“Short-form content is growing strongly, and we expect to see it boom—both in English speaking markets and Asia where it’s well-established,” said Olivia Deane, an analyst at Ampere. “Attractive to large and small players alike, short-form offers the opportunity to experiment with high production values at a smaller scale. SVoD newcomer Quibi, only producing short-form content, is already the largest commissioner of bite-size television. Quibi, along with other smaller niche platforms, has an exciting opportunity to chase the existing audiences of streaming giants like Netflix and Amazon. This is a market the mainstream broadcasters don’t want to miss out on, and both Channel 4 and the BBC are making forays into the world of short-form shows.”

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