skip to main content
Close Icon We use cookies to improve your website experience.  To learn about our use of cookies and how you can manage your cookie settings, please see our Cookie Policy.  By continuing to use the website, you consent to our use of cookies.
Global Search Configuration

Ovum view


Music TV used to be so straightforward. Turn on the set and you would see an iconic pop video, a new release, a concert, or a music documentary. Then came the era when MTV would show pop stars taking the viewer around their “crib.” It was not music in terms of sound and vision, but at least the subjects were in a band or group with a legitimate connection to the industry. Yet once the Kardashians, a family with no obvious connection to the art, started to take up airtime on music channels, it meant the non-music programming independent TV producers could smell blood. As a result of the obsession with celebrity in the UK, the traditional music indies have had to adapt fast and do things a little differently. Put simply, music programming in the era of reality TV is not what it used to be, and broadcasters must get back to championing bands, argues Julie Jakobek, Managing Director of UK indie producer JA Digital.

Casting the net wider

We now have to cast our net wider than just traditional broadcasters, both terrestrial and satellite. It has reached a stage where we are now looking to partner with brands and target digital platforms as well as the broadcasters. So, unless you have created the perfect storm and engaged with multiple stakeholders all at the same time – broadcaster, brand, music, and digital platform – it is hard to make a successful series. If you have all the pieces of the jigsaw, it’s great. When it comes off, all the stakeholders are happy. If one piece of the jigsaw falls away and all the stakeholders’ interests are not met, the project may not happen.

That is not to say it’s impossible. My company JA Digital created a series called Pocket TV with Sony Ericsson that started as a YouTube channel and was made with an online and mobile phone audience in mind. With in excess of 18 million views in total after the first season, Channel 4 in the UK became interested in the tone of the content and the success it was enjoying. The show was repackaged it into a more traditional linear TV series. It went from three five-minute pieces to a series of half-hour shows for one of the country’s biggest broadcasters – an example of when all the stars are aligned.

Still a place for 100% music

Even though we are now in this celebrity bubble and music TV is almost unrecognizable from how it once was, I still think there is a place for a 100% music series. The problem is that it is now out of vogue and the view is that traditional music shows just do not rate. Unless it comes with additional funding from a brand, it is difficult to get that kind of show commissioned. Not impossible, but increasingly difficult. It is a real shame because the UK music industry is vibrant, influential globally and we need a series to celebrate that, which works both on TV and digitally at the same time.

Conversely, there are channels forging ahead with the traditional standalone music shows. For example, we just made the first-ever live Storytellers for VH1 with Ed Sheeran. The network was keen to invest in the iconic series and wanted to refresh the Storytellers brand by making it live for the first time.

The program featured an international artist at the top of his game and this did really well both on the TV channel and, so it was a win-win for everyone. Sky Arts and BBC One do still air some peak-time music shows such as our own Coldplay: Ghost Stories Live film, and the appetite is still there for the big one-offs and big-name artists, but it is the landmark, on-going music series that is missing from the schedules.

Complete change of course

Some indie music TV production companies are changing course completely. I heard of one just recently that has decided to give up music TV after a decade and is now concentrating on documentaries and history programming. It goes to show that even though music is a medium loved by everybody – and a great way for brands to reach their target audience – it can be a challenge to keep going if you build a TV company that focuses on just that.

Nevertheless, if you are a smaller producer, light on your feet – or even a YouTuber – that can come up with the right idea, the possibilities are endless. Take the fashion and beauty blogger Zoella. She has probably reached a point where she could command any series on any platform, should she wish to do so. This makes the landscape super-exciting and full of possibilities.

Some independents have partnered with big names and done well out of it, such as Somethin’ Else, which makes Sky 1′s The Ronnie Wood Show. However, generally a lot of the big names who make these shows are usually good for a short run or one-offs and not necessarily as a returning series.

Still looking for opportunities

Those of us who are passionate about the music industry – both UK and international – are still looking for the opportunities to create the perfect storm of online and TV coming together. It’s fantastic that the broadcasters are championing and celebrating big artists and long may it continue.

However, it is vital that we support the wider music industry, the burgeoning artists who have far fewer TV opportunities. The industry must help promote the Rolling Stones of the future and a music series that sits on multiple platforms is a way to support this.



Julie Jakobek, Managing Director of UK indie producer JA Digital

Recommended Articles

  • Internet of Things

    IoT Viewpoints 2018

    IoT Viewpoints explore the IoT opportunity in 2018 and beyond. Download our latest e-book to get our newest collection of thought leadership articles on the emerging IoT trends, technologies and opportunities.

    Topics IoT

  • Consumer & Entertainment Services

    US pay TV: Is it facing an existential threat?

    By Adam Thomas 28 Mar 2018

    With US pay TV having endured the worst year in its history, thoughts have inevitably turned to the future. The likelihood remains that the immediate future will remain highly uncomfortable for everyone except the scaled multinational digital platforms.

  • Enterprise Services

    5G: Another technology in search of enterprise use cases

    By Evan Kirchheimer 26 Apr 2018

    Service provider interest in justifying 5G investment through its potential to open new revenue streams from the enterprise segment is growing ever greater.


Have any questions? Speak to a Specialist

Europe, Middle East & Africa team - +44 (0) 207 017 7700

Asia-Pacific team - +61 (0)3 960 16700

US team - +1 646 957 8878

Email us at

You can also contact your named/allocated Client Services Executive using their direct dial.
PR enquiries - Call us at +44 788 597 5160 or email us at

Contact marketing -

Already an Ovum client? Login to the Knowledge Center now