The FAANGS have rumbled into London and parked their tanks on the lawns of Britain’s traditional players, sending the incumbents fighting to protect their turf.
Borrowing from the playbook of an earlier wave of U.S. giants — the Hollywood studios — Amazon, Apple and Google (via YouTube) have set up content arms in the British capital, exploiting its advantages of language, location and infrastructure. Facebook and Netflix don’t have the same boots-on-the-ground presence in London yet, but their impact, too, is being felt.
The growing clout of what the BBC calls the “West Coast giants” has rung alarm bells at the pubcaster, which considers the competition for eyeballs a David-versus-Goliath battle. As the world’s largest pubcaster — with an income of £3.7 billion ($5 billion) — the BBC is more usually cast as Goliath. But against the mighty FAANGs, it considers itself the underdog and, along with other British broadcasters, has sounded a call to arms.
Tony Gunnarsson, principal analyst at Ovum, says traditional TV companies should capitalize on their local knowledge to reach viewers in a way that the FAANGs either can’t or won’t. “They should also leverage existing relationships with local talent and producers to work for and with the FAANGs by helping with their production efforts,” Gunnarsson says. But he adds one piece of advice: “Save the best scripts for yourself.”