As Louis Hillelson, vice president/group publisher, Broadcasting and Cable/ Multichannel News, noted, "Accessing on-demand, anywhere, on any device is what the consumer demands."
Here are some takeaways from the conference:
TV is Not Dying -- But C3 Is
Rentrak CEO Bill Livek showed data that TV viewing was not declining. According to Livek, there are currently 57 million homes that are on-demand-enabled. The average household now spends 9.3 hours watching television, with time spent viewing prime-time programming on-demand doubling in the past five years. So in sum, "TV viewership is largely unchanged,” he said, "Everyone is talking about the death of TV and the birth of digital but that is not so."
What is declining is live TV viewing, according to
Livek. He continued, "Fewer are watching live TV. They are using DVR and on-demand platform and are segmented by time." In fact, "The majority of prime VOD viewing happens after three days of air."
This impacts the TV selling model, which sells off C3 ratings. Further, when you view the Rentrak data through the prism of playback, it shows that certain programs are generally viewed at different playback intervals. Advertisers might benefit from placing ads in programs according to playback behavior, which is something that Livek calls "time as a demographic."
The Business Model
For major content creators like Ron Sanders, president, Warner Brothers, Worldwide Home Entertainment Distribution, the fastest growing home entertainment segment emerging is the “digital sell-through opportunity.” This offers an early window to feature films in the home. Sanders said this “is a way to keep consumers inside your cable system and keep them from ordering Netflix and Amazon.” He explained, “Once you buy it, you can download it or stream it to any device. And you can experience enhancements with a dynamically updated content structure. Now through digital we can add additional content over time such as interviews or extra director's content, for example. It is a new digital service that expands the relationship with content that we've never had before. You can even copy and send your friends your favorite scenes.”
For Laura Fortner, executive vice president, marketing and business development, Whistle Sports, combining proven stars with emerging YouTube celebrities can not only be enjoyable for audiences, it can also produce unexpected fans. She explained, “We are learning how to combine the power of YouTube stars with other represented athletes. We tried an unexpected combination of talent in bowling trick shots, with an amateur from Australia sharing his expertise with a professional bowler. The audience loved it, and we had 21 million views. Millennials loved it, even though bowling is an older sport.”
Embrace Technology or Die
Kevin Conroy, chief strategy & data officer and president, enterprise development at Univision, summed it up: “Choice always wins. The industry has not always offered the greatest choice or flexibility…. Brands that get it, that accept the new features of new technology and embrace the attributes of that new technology are in a position to win. It is never too late to get ahead of the curve."
My take on all of this is that on-demand could transform the entire range of content consumption and the way we conduct business. What does celebrity really mean in a time of YouTube? Hint: It gives content creators the flexibility to economically create programs across platforms, creating even more competition for eyeballs.
How will the continued shortening of theatrical windows impact movie theater attendance? Hint: Movie theaters are responding by changing their physical space into more of an “experience” for an attendee, rather than a passive viewing event.
How will measurement keep up? Hint: With the advent of dynamic ad insertion and programmatic, the ability to reach consumers in real time over a range of platforms, including national television, is almost at hand.
The future is here. Stay tuned.