TV is Not Dead, But It Is Evolving: A Look at On-Demand

Fighting market change is futile. The consumer is in charge, and it’s up to the industry to evolve. That’s according to the recent Multichannel News/B&C On-Demand Summit, which looked at the state of the television industry through the lens of on-demand. Panels of content providers, data/measurement companies, advertisers and programmers offered their perspectives.

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 is Changing
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.

4 comments about "TV is Not Dead, But It Is Evolving: A Look at On-Demand ".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, July 6, 2015 at 12:57 p.m.

    Charlene, regarding the notion that C3 is dead, according to Nielsen, the live plus three days measurement for broadcast and cable primetime shows accounts for approximately 95-98% of the C7 audience. In other words, almost nothing is added by extending the measurement from C3 to C7. So why is C3 dying?

  2. Charlene Weisler from Writer, Media Consultant:, July 9, 2015 at 11:16 a.m.

    I think Bill was referring to the impact of on demand viewing via DVRs and VOD where consumers are deciding when they want to watch. Some data indicate that it can take place beyond three days. So the trend is viewing on demand which would impact the importance of C3 in the longer term... and maybe currently among a certain viewer cohort.

  3. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, July 9, 2015 at 1:48 p.m.

    Charlene, whether or not Bill is correct regarding SVOD viewing, that's not my point. He is totally wrong to imply that because of his SVOD findings that C3 is "dying"------ unless SVOD starts accepting ads, of course.

    While more upfront deals are being made on C7 ratings, this is mainly a negotiating ploy between the buyers and sellers. The amount of delayed" viewing that is added to "Live plus 3 day" ( C3 ) is minimal.

  4. Charlene Weisler from Writer, Media Consultant:, July 9, 2015 at 2:10 p.m.

    Bill was talking about prime VOD viewing which has ads. It may be, according to his data, that there is a growing trend towards viewing prime programs on VOD beyond the three day window. I am thinking that some of this might be attributed to binge viewing but I have not seen the data.

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