Future of TV
OK Ben Evans, we'll take the (click)bait. Many people have tried to compare the evolution of the TV industry with that of music and publishing before it - it's all media after all, right? Wrong.
The ever-evolving ecosystem of the TV industry is orders of magnitude more complex and finely balanced than that of any other medium. This goes from the variety of players and skills involved in making it; the historical complexity of rights restrictions and distribution; all the way to the very systems and devices used to deliver and consume it. Great music can be made by one person with a three string guitar and delivered as bumps on a plastic disc; books are ink on dead trees; but TV is an altogether more complex beast that owes its existence to technology.
For Netflix, its founding motto could have been "convenience is king", but now that it's making great exclusive shows, people are subscribing and staying subscribed because of the content. For Amazon, it's one more reason for people to decide to become Prime members. For Apple, will it sell more phones? ... the jury's out on that, but it won't if they keep making shows like "Planet of the Apps".
Content is still king and good TV storytelling has as much leverage as ever, but as the ecosystem evolves at an ever-increasing pace, it must be delivered in a user experience that's fit for a king - and, for now, that's where the newcomers are winning.
The harvest is coming to an end. Crop rotation is not a waste; it’s an essential investment in forward productivity.
The above analogy in this feature by Redef Original is a warning message for 'big media'. In fighting change and fighting to keep a hold on their closed system, 'big media' are ceding ground to incumbents like Netflix, Google, Amazon, Hulu and Facebook.
“[They] don’t want to trade dollars in a closed system for pennies in the open one. That’s lovely until you don’t get the dollar anymore. And it’s inevitable.”
Viewers do not hold loyalties forever, and they will pay for convenience and a good experience. As the above graph shows, change is constant and always happens. As new technologies emerge, so do new distribution models, new storytelling formats, and new audiences. By ignoring this, or actively fighting it, 'big media' are only sowing the seeds for their own downfall.
What are the opportunities and challenges of launching a new linear network with a hundred-year-old brand? Our Dermot McCormack talked to Paramount Networks CMO Niels Schuurmans at Cannes Lions to find out.
This is a fun watch, here are our key takeaways:
- It's a huge opportunity to bring movie IP to TV, with shows planned for First Wives Club and Heathers.
- The brand itself comes with a huge chunk of Hollywood history. The Paramount logo with its 22 stars is responsible for coining the term 'movie star'.
- We can expect to see super high-quality content in short-form and digital as well as linear TV.
Jeffrey Katzenberg, the former CEO of DreamWorks Animation, has got a potentially ground-breaking plan for mobile video. Katzenberg wants to create a whole new species of video entertainment that targets 18 to 34-year-olds. His new company WndrCo will make short-form video series, that are created with the budgets and production values of primetime TV.
At Rerun, we think this is a smart very idea. For reasons, Disney's CEO Bob Iger aptly explains:
'The explosion of short-form video is obvious to all of us, but a lot of what we’ve seen is the production of amateurs - user-generated content. Taking a professional approach to this kind of content, we haven’t seen that yet in a concerted way, and I think that’s a smart thing to try.'
Katzenberg isn't the only one thinking high-quality short-form content is the future. NBC News, whose parent company NBC Universal, bought DreamWorks Animation from Katzenberg, has launched ‘Stay Tuned' a short-form high-quality news broadcast for Snapchat.
In its San Francisco offices, Dolby Labs has been conducting some interesting experiments. It has been attaching biosensors to willing subjects and observing them while they watch certain videos. Dolby is trying to figure out what kind of content and sounds make viewers cognitively engaged, bored or gets their hearts racing. The intent behind the experiments is to prove that Dolby's surround sound and HDR imaging will elicit certain responses from audiences; such data may then convince more content makers to use Dolby tools.
The Verge reports that the likes of Netflix and Hulu have also been conducting similar experiments to improve their platform interfaces. At Rerun, we wonder if such technology could be used to inform content writers of what excites or bores audiences?
While Netflix's original content strategy is no doubt a success story, both in terms of Emmy nominations and new subscribers, it's not without its critics. This food-for-thought opinion piece The Guardian argues that the "Netflix Original" stamp is losing the sense of quality that it once had. As more and more mediocre shows begin to carry the stamp, there is a chance that viewers will be less likely to take a chance on something new, and it also makes it harder for the quality to stand out.
How many hours have we all wasted flicking through the likes of Netflix, HBO or Hulu, desperately trying to decide what to watch next? Reelgood is an online service that's trying to solve the challenge of content discovery. They combine content from over 250 streaming services in a single interface.
On the surface, Reelgood just looks like a new era TV guide, but some of the features their service boasts could be genuinely useful. Such as tracking how many episodes in a series you have left to watch, giving you upcoming release dates for your subscribed shows, and recommending content based on what you like across multiple streaming services.
Founder David Sanderson explains...
“Until now, people have accessed their content in the way that’s been driven by business demands—not consumer needs. People shouldn’t be forced to waste time every night flipping between streaming apps to see if there are new episodes of the shows they watch or what content they have access to.”