Critics believe in T/V. With non-traditional distributors of television taking seven of 11 categories of awards at Sunday’s Golden Globes (I include HBO now that the network has “gone television rogue” with its plans to unbundle HBO GO), the most acclaimed new T/V shows are no longer found on linear television platforms.
Best TV Comedy or Musical: “Orange is the New Black” (Netflix)
Best TV Drama: “The Affair” (HBO)
Best Actress, TV Drama: Ruth Wilson, “The Affair” (HBO)
Best Actor, TV Drama: Kevin Spacey, “House of Cards” (Netflix)
Best Actor, TV Comedy: Jeffrey Tambor, “Transparent” (Amazon)
Best Actress, Miniseries or TV Movie: Maggie Gyllenhaal, “The Honorable Woman” (Netflix)
Best Supporting Actor TV Show, Miniseries or TV Movie: Matt Bomer, “The Normal Heart” (HBO)
Advertisers still believe in television, but are thinking more digitally. In June 2014, eMarketer noted that “digital video advertising in the US is increasing at an eye-popping rate, but TV ad spending will still outpace digital video in dollar growth in 2014… Digital video ad spending will increase 41.9% this year, reaching $5.96 billion, while TV advertising in the US will grow 3.3% to hit $68.54 billion.” While no one ever got fired for buying network TV, I expect moves by some major marketers and agency groups such as Omnicom will set the stage for even greater shifts from traditional television to the broader T/V marketplace by the end of 2015.
Viewers believe in choices. Live or near-launch viewing, especially sports? The choice is cable/broadcast television. Binge-watching high quality content or anything on demand? OTT providers like NetFlix, Amazon, Hulu and HBO GO. Miss a live event? Get replays or highlights on tablets or smartphones via ESPN or the many entertainment sites. With way more choices than a consumer could ever find time to view, cable seems like a way overpriced way to get T/V. But is it really less expensive,in terms of both cost and convenience, to unbundle? So what if the T/V media business is in flux. What a time for consumer choice!
Everyone in the ad sector is wondering if they can believe in programmatic T/V. Both the agency and advertiser side are looking at programmatic T/V as a way to get the best of digital accountability with the sight sound and motion capabilities of television while scaling across multiple platforms. Online and mobile publishers are competing for T/V dollars with video offerings where demand now exceeds supply. Traditional networks are monetizing content outside the traditional living room screen. It seems everyone is exploring complementing their lucrative direct sales with programmatic of some kind (private marketplaces, or PMPs, to begin with), opening to a global ad marketplace while adding a streamlined, less labor-intensive way of taking, processing and delivering orders. While issues like comparative measurement, non-human traffic and viewability are being worked through, the programmatic T/V sector is a lively and exciting arena that is growing fast and should continue its ascent this year as demand outpaces supply.
2015 looks to be a vital year where T/V has never been more popular or accessible to viewers, and it’s never been easier to increase T/V revenues on the supply side, or to implement a strategy with more measurement and accountability than ever before on the demand side. Executional efficiencies in the buying/selling process are there for the taking for those open to riding these waves of change. I’m thinking that this is the beginning of a new Golden Age -- not of television, but of T/V.