The new digital challenges of television channels in 2020


Adapting to profound changes in the way programs are consumed, managing the unequal balance of power with telecoms operators, or retaining and growing their audience: TV channels are facing major challenges in a world that is changing considerably.

The consumption of TV programs in deep evolution

Viewing anywhere, at any time and on any device: program consumption is strongly oriented towards the delinearized, gradually shifting the advertising stakes from television to the Internet.

To cope with this, several free channels, which are particularly dependent on their advertising revenue, want to pay Internet service providers for their broadcasting on the boxes of telecom operators. TF1 had thus reached an agreement with SFR in 2017 to almost double its remuneration.

This strong trend towards OTT and the abundance of free channels is forcing channels to adapt. In the United States, in 2019, cable and satellite operators lost 6 million subscribers, down 7% from the end of the previous year. Although pay-TV penetration was at its peak in 2009, with 87.8% of subscriber households, it dropped to 65.3%, according to Moffett Nathanson.

"49% of respondents think there are too many TV programs and it is difficult to find one's way round"

Faced with this overabundance of content, it is imperative for channels to engage their audience by providing them with targeted and quality content. A Hub entertainment research study shows that 49% of respondents think that there are too many TV programs and that it is difficult to choose and find your way around: on average, consumers need 18 channels to find their way around in terms of content.

In other words, users only want to pay for what they watch, and the channels' price offers are slowly moving in that direction., an Internet TV service launched in July 2016, now claims to have 200,000 paying subscribers and 11 million registered accounts. Additional evidence of a strong evolution towards OTT and pay-per-view content.

Producing original content ...

Numerous channels such as Arte and M6play are adapting to these new modes of consumption, notably by offering online catch-up offers. For three years now, Arte has been strengthening its delinearization strategy by offering different catch-up programs on the web, starting at 5am.

This is a way for channels to adapt to the rapid transformation in the way programs are consumed, but it is not enough to increase the audience they will be able to reach with the creation of original and differentiating content.

Telecom operators, the main channel distributors, are also investing in the creation of content to avoid any loss of subscribers to the new OTT offers.

... while controlling user data

This original production is vital for channels and telecom operators to maintain their subscriber base, but can be expensive. This is why it is so important to understand your audience and viewing habits in advance so you know where to reach them and how to engage them with targeted, quality content.

According to the Canadian consulting firm FG8, the content available on Netflix has halved in five years, as the American company prefers to invest heavily in original productions, thus enabling it to free itself from numerous licensing contracts. In 2019, the platform unveiled 371 new original programs in the United States.

Targeted advertising as a growth driver

Competing with the giants of the web has become a goal for many media, especially television. They are indeed ready to use targeted advertising to compete with digital giants such as Youtube. This is the case of TF1 PUB, by launching One PTV, the group is taking another step towards convergence and revolutionizing purchasing methods in a growing programmatic video market (+26% in 2019).

Since February 2020, they have been making their linear TV inventories available on data targets in digital programming platforms (DSP). Initially, sold at net CPM (cost per thousand) and on nearly 100 data targets (shoppers, intentionalists, etc.), the digital trading desks will have access to the power and quality of the TF1 Group's DTT linear inventories. Buyers will therefore be able to choose their target based on consumption, behavior and intention criteria, and above all, they will have the same KPIs as those of digital.

Sylvia Tassan Toffola, General Manager of TF1 PUB:

"TF1 PUB has been pursuing a policy of innovation in favor of convergence for 4 years (La Box then La Box Entreprises, the SYGMA protocol, the 5 screen CPM offer, ...). With One PTV, we are taking another step forward in our Total Video strategy by breaking down the silos of media buying. This new offer is aimed primarily at brands whose strategies are nowadays oriented towards digital and who now wish to enrich their communication plan with linear TV prints combining power and quality."

This type of offer is highly developed in the United States, but it is a first in France as well as in Europe.

HBBTV, the future of television?

Hybrid Broadcast Broadband TV (HBBTV) is an industry standard for digital television to deliver hybrid content to a connected television set.

This technology enables broadcasters to offer non-linear services with linear television.

HBBTV has conquered Salto!

The new French subscription-based video-on-demand platform was launched at the end of October 2020. It is the result of a partnership between TF1, M6 and France Télévisions.

Salto platform

The concept? To propose a plural offer as much in the contents as in the way of consuming the programs.

Indeed, on Salto you can find:

  • About twenty live TV channels
  • Popular TV series and programs previewed on TV
  • Series, films and documentaries on demand
  • All films and series broadcasted on television, on replay for an unlimited duration

The primary objective is to provide interactivity to viewers.

In the near future, this technology could also enable the platform to offer live voting, social network display and response, as well as segmented advertising.


As you will have understood, program consumption mode as well as new offers on the market can shake up major players and confront them with new challenges, especially digital ones. However, the major groups have not yet been able to play all their cards and are trying to adapt to the perpetual changes by seizing new and innovative technologies!

If you are concerned by one or more of these issues, contact us to find the best solution for your project.