New TV is Here: Hear All About It

Disney’s purchase of Fox is another harbinger that we are in the area of “New TV.” “New TV” is also the topic of a recent excellent White Paper from Comcast Spotlight titled “The New TV: Redefining Video for Viewers and Advertisers.” The graphic that accompanies this blog is illustrative of this brave new world of video content, thanks to the Comcast Spotlight White Paper.

While a lot of pundits would say conventional TV is in a sharp decline, and that is correct in a sense, Disney’s enormous acquisition of Fox indicates something else is actually afoot. The truth is consumption of video is at an all time high. If we call the medium video, not generalize it as TV, things have never been better. And while it is safe to say we’ll never have a single event ratings bonanza like the last episode of the TV series of MASH in 1983, the reality is that the average person watches 43 minutes more of video content every day than the average person in 1983. That’s because now video follows us everywhere and on every device, from our smart phones to our tablets to our game consoles to point of purchase displays at the gas pump and the doctor’s office. People aren’t watching less video, it’s just spread across more channels—and more devices.

I’ve written a lot about OTT (Over The Top Television) but the other current video bonanza is in a the subset called by another acronym, SVOD, Subscription Video on Demand. SVOD is paid versus OTT which generally is applied to free content. SVOD’s boom has given consumers more paid streaming service options than ever, with an array that includes Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, HBO, CBS All Access, Showtime and YouTube Premium. Even more are coming down the pike with Apple, Disney, WarnerMedia, NBCUniversal, County Road and countless more.
The evolution/revolution is happening so quickly that many consumers are confused. Millennials are cutting the cord to save money or to better curate their individual options. Nearly half (47%) of U.S. consumers say they’re frustrated by the growing number of subscriptions and services required to watch what they want, according to the 13th edition of Deloitte’s annual Digital Media Trends survey. An even bigger complaint: 57% said they’re frustrated when content vanishes because rights to their favorite TV shows or movies have expired.This happened to me recently watching a movie on Netflix, which I got halfway through, only to find out the next day it was no longer available.

Frustration is not a bad sign in itself because it means consumers still care and actually care very much. Audiences are not abandoning TV; they are actually engaging with it more intensely using new technology. What does it mean for content providers? The whole world has changed essentially with the exception that the tradition of visual storytelling remains. There are more outlets than ever before and as a result we are facing unprecedented demand. That said, the prices for content may actually be dropping because there may actually temporarily be an over supply of content at this very moment. Costs for animation and production equipment have dropped and more skilled people are entering the workforce with outlets like YouTube creating easier barriers to entry. Can’t find a job? Create your own content channel. That said, content creators are still in an unprecedented sweet spot.