The Future Of TV: ‘Content Everywhere’


The future of television is a hot topic today, with many  experts offering compelling insights. And so it was at the Cynopsis Future of TV  conference in New York City, where industry execs and analysts predicted that  we’ll soon be working in a very different type of television space, and business  concerns and financial projections must adapt. Here are the major themes as I  saw them at the conference:Business Stresses on MVPDs

According to Richard Greenfield of BTIG, cord-cutting is here to stay,  because there are alternatives to cable that are acceptable to customers — even  if that content is available a day later via a la carte.  Younger viewers  in particular find their entertainment beyond the TV from options such as  Netflix. And young people often share their Netflix accounts with their friends  or their family (as some admitted on a panel).

Business Stresses on Content Providers

For content providers, it is the best of times — and the worst of times.  Greenfield says “there is a lack of urgency to watch live television because  alternatives are always available. Competition is reaching new levels when you  can rent a series on Netflix as easily as watching it live on a network. And  because Netflix uses algorithms to recommend content choices to subscribers,  certain pieces of content may never hit their radar.”

Business Stresses for Marketers

The competitive set of programming options continues to expand, and now new  TV content is directly competing against the best TV ever created. “My daughter  is just starting to watch ‘Full House,’” explains Greenfield “Why should I watch  live tonight when I can pull up any great show on Netflix?”

New content has its digitally personalized advantages, however. A&E’s Don  Robert believes that good current content drives viewing across platforms. “What  is the relationship audiences want with our content? Do they want to be able to  engage in real time, like on ‘Project Runway’? Or is it binge viewing?” This  trend seems to be all program-based, however. What does all of this digital  fragmentation do to network branding?

Business Shifts and Opportunities

There are some major themes that could provide great opportunity, if we can  embrace the change.  Innovation can provide new revenue streams on the  multiplatforms. Sean Atkins of Discovery spoke about how integrating ads into  programs and wraps makes advertising more part of the program itself, providing  greater authenticity.

There is also true one-to-one marketing. There is a  personalization of video, providing a more one-to-one entertainment experience.  But at the same time, the experience of television content can be shared  immediately and globally. “Twitter has become the new water-cooler for the video  world,” according to Greenfield.

The World of TV Is Shifting On Its Axis

It’s An App

Says Greenfield:  “We have so many personal devices, from tablets to  laptops to mobile phones, that TV is fast becoming just another app, which  totally changes what TV is. Instead of it being ‘the box,’ it is now defined as  just another form of entertainment.”

What Do We Mean By Attention?

There are many cures for boredom, with content choices ranging from  traditional programming to social media sites. And this may improve audience  retention. According to Latitiude’s Neela Sakaria, “There is not only a second  screen. With a third screen you are less likely to skip through ads, and you are  also less likely to leave the room.”s


There is more choice through more competition. New MVPDs are created with the  rapid proliferation of new platforms and the layering on of video as an  app.  There are also more buyers of original programming, where quality and  originality are at a premium. The general agreement was that the overall  experience of TV in an IP world will notably improve.


We need a “holistic measurement” that takes into account all cross-platform,  says ABC’s Justin Fromm. Some companies are very pro-active in this area:  Danielle Seth of Comcast uses “watermarking to get TV more census-like and use  clickstream data.” As an MVPD, “Comcast is able to leverage content and  technology. We can identify all devices and platforms and we have created an  audience interconnected database.” Starcom’s Jackie Kulesza says that she is a “big believer in convergence modeling. What is that messaging driving? How did  data affect sales? We are pushing forward in this area and need better  measurement and data.”

Implications for Other Industry Sectors

Producer Warren Weideman says that this is a golden age of TV drama , placing  pressure on the movie industry because potential moviegoers can now stay home  and binge view a hot series. And Greenfield believes that “having access to  content takes the safety net away from the movie business. Right now, 30 million  homes have Netflix, which is half of U.S. households. What does that do to going  out to movies at the theater, if two-thirds of all moviegoers are casual goers?  What is the future of movies when you can stream a movie at your home theater  the day after it comes out in theaters?” Obviously the television digital  evolution is not occurring in a bubble. The impact on a range of entertainment  sectors is great and transformative.  Stay tuned.

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