The Fall TV season is here this week, and what’s different this year is the vast option of content viewership on premium over the top services like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime, and how that will impact the future “TV” landscape. With HBO Go, Apple TV, Roku, and TiVo all proliferating rapidly, all screens are just becoming content distribution devices vs. defined TV’s, Laptops, Phablets or Tablets.
Consumers can now see pilots for Amazon shows like Mozart In the Jungle or series debuts of Fox shows like Gotham, “on demand” enabling them to evaluate which series they will engage in. They can see if their peers, friends, and the social literati are following one vs. the other, and move freely between content ecosystems. It will be fascinating to see if the right coast, with old media models supported by :30 second advertising and studio creative pushed content, will survive, while the left coast develops metrics based on pre-tested and vetted shows that are open source and subscription based. Why would a “media” company spend millions developing untested pilots that might bomb in three episodes, while a “tech” company could develop one, test and vet it, and engage socially with a pre-existing audience/fan base directly? Isn’t that how we ended up with only franchises in the film business?
For marketers, this means it is more important than ever to understand the changing TV dynamics/content universe, and not miss the revolution that happened in music just a few years ago. For so long, a song was discovered on the B-side or by radio album play. Now one can choose the best of the best via iTunes for $1.29, making the economics of music so vastly different, as well as the ability for marketers to partner with music, a different beast. Is there a day coming soon when “TV shows" will be priced a la carte or with subscription models? Marketers will then need to surround them with “sponsorship” deals and embedded placement vs. “ads.” In fact, the debut of Amazon’s pilots was “brought to you by” Geico.
Every day we hear about cord cutting, reduction in traditional TV ad spending, growth in video spend and new deals/shows for Netflix or Amazon. As we hit this “Fall Season” the pendulum seems to really have crossed a line. Why would we expect “TV” as we have known it to not adapt given the intense changing digital landscape? In retail, the fall season has been replaced by “pop up stores,” sample designer lines at Target and quick fashion trends from Zara to H&M, which all show “flexibility” and trend forecasting. Why can’t TV follow the same suit? From our Corbis perspective/lens of the content IP holders and rights owners, and connecting to global brands and audiences, it is about adapting to the marketing/business model to reflect the audience shifts and getting ahead of the curve.
Content is still king. How one interacts with it will be a much nimbler, different experience after this year’s Fall TV season.
Mark Owens runs Corbis Entertainment, developing the global strategic vision and operating plan for the music, talent, content, and rights arenas. Mark arrived at Corbis through the Norm Marshall acquisition, where he was President of NMA Group. He’s worked on entertainment platforms for key clients such as Heineken, PUMA, American Cancer Society, and Xbox. Mark was formerly a partner at Ketchum Entertainment, Davie Brown, and an award-winning film executive producer.
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