RTS Cambridge. The impact of micropayments brought a mixed response from delegates at the Royal Television Society meeting in Cambridge this morning.
ITV chief executive Michael Grade said he believed that micropayments would be “a part of our lives going forward,” but independent producer Alex Graham thought the importance of the show would have a big impact on whether viewers would be prepared to pay for individual programmes. “There is a reason for a show like Who do You Think You Are? because of the added extras, less for a show like New Tricks.”
Tony Cohen, CEO, Freemantle Media, said the production company was participating in a number of projects to establish both systems and consumer interest. He argued that the success of micropayments in online games, such as Battlefield Heroes, demonstrated there was already demand.
Surveys conducted for Freemantle showed a third of UK viewers would be prepared to use a system, the figure rising to 46% among the younger demographic. Viewers to the German soap Gute Zeiten, Schlechte Zeiten (Good times, Bad times), were already prepared to pay a little under a Euro to watch the next day’s episode ahead of time.
Mike Darcey, chief operating officer of BSkyB defended the regular subscription model, adding that the medium worked well for a minority sport such as darts. “The audiences are not huge, but they are passionate, and the subscription model converts passion into revenues. Darcey added that he believed drama might be the next area for pay-TV following Sky One’s edgy dramatisation of Martina Cole’s The Take. “Drama on commercial television will be bigger, but blander, and the audiences will be smaller. He said micropayments would lead to microrevenues.