With “disruption” being used as common vernacular to describe the television industry, how do content creators, advertisers and consumers move through this ever-changing environment? Is it streaming services driving micropayment models or gaming box aggregators letting us choose multiple services to consume? How will content consumption be impacted with a la carte behavior models driving the audience to new personalized viewing solutions? Who’s got the straight dope on this trend (if it even IS a trend yet)? Our panel does, and they share it with you in a “must see” session!
Erin McPherson - Chief Content Officer, Maker Studios
Wendell Wenjen (WW) - Director, Smart TV Advertising & Interactive TV Platforms, LG Electronics
Alex Moulle-Berteaux (AM-B) - Chief Commercial Officer, Aereo, Inc.
Jason Han (JH) - Director of Content & Services, Samsung Electronics America
Daniel Rosenberg (DR) - Founding Partner, Piro
Jordan Levin (JL) - Chair, NATPE Board
Is TV Dead?
JH: Not dead...just redefined. NBC, FOX, etc. need to do a better job of capturing their audience. But many more types of consumers and shows - regardless of how you access - never have been better. You need to provide content where consumers are.
DR: What is TV? Is it a device, platform...it’s been synonymous with content. Scripted or not. Personally, I watch Netflix on five different devices. There used to be a stigma with TV. Didn’t go there as a huge movie star - but it’s different now.
JL: Hell no, TV isn’t dead! House of Cards proved that, winning the award last year. Different narratives’ expectations and different rules. Now it’s in the eyes of consumer, not industry.
WW: Creative storytelling wise, TV has never been better. 80% 18-34 demographic watch online video once a week.
AM-B: We see growth of all kinds - there’s a stacking effect. 2-3 base subscriptions per household - the packages / bundling / pricing model is shifting (more than the consumer’s appetite for TV).
How do you view mobile? Where does it fit in with TV?
WW: Consumption - ? watching video on phone and tablets - whole ecosystem of apps to foster. Companion device as well, ½ the TV viewers using it for social related reasons. The technology we are working on is getting more smart, e.g. if the TV can tell your show is Homeland, you can tweet and it will know automatically what the appropriate hashtags etc. are. We’re working on improving those capabilities.
JH: Focusing on consumer value and choice. If you follow show on TV, then pushing phone or tablet has its merits. We like to deliver integrated experience. Trying to get people to start thinking about it earlier though in the process...did a contest: “if you know your audience is watching on phone or tablet only, then how would you write a script from scratch?”
Do we need 30-min. vs. 1-hr formats anymore, with the new flexibility of devices?
JL: Time in storytelling is not the same. It’s been shifting. It definitely affects what story you can tell. Also, the younger audiences can watch on smaller devices for longer periods of time than other demographics. It’s a more character-based, intimate experience e.g Vine reflects the mobile experience perfectly - there’s a digital relationship forming, that almost resembles Facetime. It’s not a passive delivery device. It allows you to distribute content and essentially accelerate the communication cycle with audience involvement (was truly the missing piece until now...should get really interesting).
Is the Pilot season dead? Is the old process just so outwardly inefficient?
DR: What’s actually been happening is there’s been a reduced ratio of pilots developed versus being produced for quality. Trimming the fat. Will the cream still rise? Thanks to LG and Samsung, you can watch dude in Oklahoma put on a TV show in 30 mins in his living room. It comes down to marketing. Split rights will be more merged / connected.
JL: There’s still a value to the pilot process. But it’s a challenge to companies because security of shelf space is disappearing. No fixed programming schedules, no restrictions...you can say ‘yes’ to everything you want to watch. For OTT Suppliers, it comes down to how much can you support (not just produce)? What will change dramatically is how early on in the process the audience gets involved and invested.
Distribution is key. Aereo - you are a disrupter to the industry - consumer value proposition...what’s next?
AM-B: we basically are moving an entire platform to the Internet. $8 month for 20 hours of DVR. What are consumers willing to pay and how are they willing to behave?
So it’s really about access. It’s unreal how much copyright law hasn’t kept up...Aereo, any plans to also create content?
AM-B: We are always about the technology software tools and all kinds of access. Approach tools to content marketers from a mobile (U.S.) perspective.
Are people still even watching linear anymore? Or is it all ‘binge watching’? (Is Binge the New Black?)
AM-B: What’s made for TV is sports, news and unscripted TV. And the ‘stumble upon’ TV when channel surfing. Those are going to continue to thrive. In a scheduled world, how do you watch it live OR save it for later?
WW: Majority of linear is live TV, but increasingly people are binging on demand (3 episodes or more in one sitting). Majority of younger demographics, ½ the older and ¾ the 18-34 demographic are doing this.
JL: Social media has amplified the water cooler experience that TV brings -
the desire to watch in real time and participate in this chatter.
DR: But binge is very rarely ad-supported. Consumers love brands.But, their radars will go up if not transparent branding - think FedEx in Castaway.
Advertisers have been a partner in TV since its birth. Are ads ever good for the consumer?
JH: Superbowl...broadcast live and has to be more creative and integrated. Put innovation up to par with the rest and deliver more targeted ads the consumers are looking for. There’s been no innovation here in 50 years.
WW: First off, there’s a well-established value trade-off: free content for ads. Secondly, we are doing trials this year with interactive ads engaging with viewers that advertisers might find interesting.