The future of television is a hot topic today, with many experts offering compelling insights. And so it was at the Cynopsis Future of TV conference in New York City, where industry execs and analysts predicted that we'll soon be working in a very different type of television space, and business concerns and financial projections must adapt. Here are the major themes as I saw them at the conference:
What does your DVR say about you? Are you the kind of obsessive-compulsive person with only a few carefully curated items on his or her Recorded List? Or maybe you're a slob who never clears out any recorded shows until the hard drive is full. Or maybe you're indecisive and can't decide what shows to erase and what to keep. (Really, at this stage, will you ever watch the final episode of "Talking Bad" or the premiere of Mom"?)
Even in the midst of a golden era for TV programming -- a time when Walter White, Don Draper and Daenerys Targaryen make Sunday night lineups nationwide social-media-watercooler events -- television's traditional format is under heavy fire. Consumers have more ways than ever to access programming, with Google's Chromecast just the latest in a long line of Trojan horses bringing that content to their televisions.
Simulmedia CTO Alison Lowery is one of a very few female chief technology officers in the industry. Originally a software engineer for a big pharmaceutical company, Allison went back to school for two masters degrees: one in computer science and the other in business. From there, she launched her media career at a series of start-ups, including two by Simulmedia's CEO Dave Morgan. The rest is history. In the my interview with her, Allison talks about the dearth of women in technology, new data sets, Simulmedia initiatives, and the future of media.
I sat down with Rentrak CRO Bruce Goerlich to discuss subjects ranging from the company's purchase of ITVX to measure in-program product placement, international movie measurement in China -- and, arguably the most interesting, the expansion of the use of the company's data capabilities in the political realm by adding Republican campaigners.
I don't know about you, but I'm pretty sick of hearing about the "Golden Age of Television." Like many other cultural tropes, the concept contains an element of truth, but the sheer repetition of the phrase has started to sound self-congratulatory, as if we were geniuses for choosing to live through such an epic era.
You know that the definition of television is changing when a Future of Television conference is hosted by a company called Digital Media Wire. This event was part of the NY Games Conference, indicating to me that all content, no matter how it is delivered and used by the consumer, is part of the new and complex television ecosystem.
Like many people who think they know a lot about television, I was almost completely unacquainted with the reality TV series "Duck Dynasty" until the premiere of its fourth season. With more than 11.8 million viewers, this episode, seemingly out of nowhere, became the most-watched nonfiction cable telecast in history. This was twice as many viewers as watched the vastly more-anticipated season premiere of "Breaking Bad."
Steve Farella CEO, Maxxcom Global Media and Targetcast TCM, started his career in the "Mad Men" era at Benton and Bowles with the P&G, GM, and BMW accounts. In my interview with him, Steve takes an agency-centric look at the industry -- an area of great change as digital and creative opportunities expand and consumer behavior can be quantified on more and more platforms. Steve talks about his plans for Maxxcom, creating a modern model of an ad agency, the future of ad agencies and the media in general.
Recently, eMarketer released a report touting digital's coming of age. Haven't you heard? In 2014, digital media usage is predicted to eclipse television usage? Astounding, considering that there is a three-year trend of increasing TV usage informing this unprecedented and highly anticipated decline.