Report – Under the Bonnet of Over the Top

Posted on: Thursday 07 July 2016 1:03pm by Simon Bor

The rise of non-linear TV known as over-the-top content, or OTT


  • It is a good time to be a distributor and content producer
  • You can now tell stories in different ways – not held in check by time slots
  • It’s all about branding, channels like CBeebies are big brands in their own right


Steve Wynn, CEO of Pretzel TV, asked where we have got with OTT. Edward Galton, CCO & Managing Director of CAKE, said it was a good time to be a distributor and content producer. Jane Rumble, Director of Market Intelligence for Ofcom, added that it’s a hugely dynamic and changing market. Children have grown up in a connected world. CEO of Under the bonnetZodiak Kids, Jean-Philippe Randisi’s initial thought was that, overall, OTT has had a positive impact on the market.

Jane said that children’s viewing has declined on traditional TV, with half viewing linear, short form at 20% and the rest on demand or recorded. Alice Webb, Director of Children’s and BBC North, BBC, added that it is important the BBC stick with children, delivering content to them wherever they are.

To Ed, the demand for good quality content was the most important element, not the platform. The plus side to OTT was that you can now tell stories in different ways – not held in check by time slots.

Miki Chojnacka, Chief Creative & Content Office of Hopster, agreed that we were now not bound by the number or length of episodes. She thought that it was not just about video, but about interactivity.

Jean-Philippe cautioned that we immediately think of Netflix or Amazon, but that they were primarily US networks.

Ed observed that adults subscribed to Netflix to watch event shows like ‘House of Cards’ but it’s the children who continue to use the services. Alice said that 25% of CBBC’s audience watch via iPlayer and only 2% of the BBC1 audience. She thought that children loved linear and on demand TV platforms, BBC programmes were not restricted to their own iPlayer and you could find them on Amazon, Netflix and Sky. Jane noted that as people get older, they cling to linear and that children don’t make a distinction.

Jean-Philippe said that there was not much in the way of commissioning from Europe or the UK, but that it’s evolving. The binge viewing experience was burning content quite quickly, but the result could be that it is making one player, Disney, quite strong. Miki thought that some of the traditional media are having difficulties because they are playing in the tech space.

And as for the future? Miki thought it was all about branding, indicating that channels like CBeebies are big brands in their own right. For Jane, it was where, as a society, did we want to be? The electronic programme guide (EPG) has served us well over the years.

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Simon Bor

About the author

Simon Bor


I studied Animation at Farnham, and, more recently, I have been awarded an MA in Professional Writing at Falmouth University. I set up Honeycomb Animation with Sara Bor and have been involved in children’s television since the mid eighties. As a writer, I have co written and created several shows… Read more