• Matt Herren

Back to the Future...TV in 2020

In December 2009 - I wrote a (rather whimsical) forward facing blog about what TV would be like in 2020. I received a few memorable comments from dubious readers: "Seriously, this is kind of ridiculous", said one; "I like the forward thinking, but broadcast (linear) networks are here to stay" said another; "Interesting, but where are the metrics to support your statement", questioned one more.

Looking back at the blog (below) - much of it is spot on. The trend is rapidly moving toward an unbundled, à la carte TV world - where video consumption is less defined by the platform and more so by its value. As I've said in a recent post - quality video is deemed quality regardless of the screen or the producer.

In all fairness, not everything I said hit the mark - such as my reference to 3D. I think we can all agree that in its current state this format has not taken off, and is not likely to do so in the years to come unless Virtual Reality can save it.

But on the whole my view was prescient - 5+ years removed and the pay-TV model is struggling to survive. In a recent study conducted by Reuters/Ipsos, 77% of U.S. consumers prefer - and are willing to pay for - à la carte programming. Less than a quarter (23%) said they actually preferred bundles.

At the close of 2014, several networks (CBS, HBO, Showtime) made big news with their OTT direct to consumer offerings. And most recently Verizon jumped into the mix - becoming the first traditional operator to break up the bundle with its Custom TV package.

The genie is out of the bottle folks and no amount of wishful thinking and shareholder speak - such as 21st Century Fox COO's claim “consumers don't want à la carte channels”- will reverse the trend.

As Forbes' Jeff Bercovici wrote in an Aug. 2013 article - "You don’t have to have a PhD in math to see where this is going."

What will TV be like in 2020?

Posted on December 10, 2009 by Matt Herren

It’s only ten years away but let’s face it, that’s a long time in the world of digital media. So without the aid of my omniscient crystal ball, I boldly predict that by 2020 we will finally enjoy the emergence of the “Build Your Own Network” (BYON) television service.

Television network executives have tried to figure out what viewers want since the first image flickered across the television screen. Now the guesswork is over…the consumer has spoken and the program choices are theirs to be made. BYON will be the brazen offspring developed and refined on the backbone of its proud parents video-on-demand (VOD) and the digital video recorder (DVR).

Offering a tried and proven combo of free, pay for play and subscription premium content, viewers will happily embrace the long overdue advent of the personal television network. A powerful on-screen interface will allow viewers to aggregate programs from a wide spectrum of available content (sourcing across all media platforms) to design a custom-built network that constantly refreshes and reloads based on the pre-selected genres and preferences. The big four broadcasters, cable channels and premium subscription networks will no longer just provide linear programming, in fact they will be competing head to head with the vast network of available on-demand global content.

Programs offered by ABC will have equal chance of queuing up next to low-budget educational fare, depending on what search and source parameters are selected by the viewer. Content will once again reign supreme, but it will be highly targeted and niche focused, opening new opportunities for independent producers and advertisers alike to connect directly with their audience in a more organic, need/service relationship.

Which platform or technology will drive this offering you ask? It won’t matter as the technical playing field will finally be leveled. The BYON user experience will be equally dynamic (yes HD and 3D included) and inviting (seamless playback regardless of platform) across virtually any Internet connected screen of your choice. It will be the dawn of a new age for digital media, unbundling over packaged, unwanted channels and bloated monthly subscription fees, with the offering of true freedom of choice through customized programming.

What will come of Madison and Vine…does this spell doom for advertisers? Nonsense…savvy advertisers will embrace the change and thrive as content viewing analytics and ad serving insights become more sophisticated and the communication gap between brands and consumers is narrowed significantly. Bring on 2020!

#unbundling #tv #OTT #alacarte #digitalmedia #payTV #VOD

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