TV's Future: Programs, But No Channels?

Think about a world where there are no channels associated with TV programs.

Right now, Time Warner Chairman Jeff Bewkes believes companies should be simplifying TV viewing. He complains that you shouldn’t have to have “advanced degrees” to figure how to get to your favorite programs. Bewkes agrees with Apple chief executive Tim Cook assertion that TV is a “broken” experience, and that, for example, consumers shouldn’t have to know which shows are on which channels in order to get the content they want.

TV channels not associated with TV programs? TV Watch then needs to ask a step-back question, something that has been asked before: How will people find out and get excited about new TV shows then -- shows that will move quickly to digital areas?



If on-air promotion won’t be a factor  — promoting a show on a designated TV network for later viewing — where will program marketing take place?

Many say social media will do all this heavy lifting — Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, whatever.

But, for example, Fox’s “Empire,” which gives major credit to social media for its outstanding rating performance -- one that witnessed nonstop rising ratings throughout its initial season -- got heavy traditional on-air promotion on the Fox network.

Would the show have performed so well the same without on-air promos?

Perhaps social media channels will find new ways to run adjacent promotion alongside content. But, as of today, it doesn’t have the scale necessary to achieve the successful economics of a “premium” TV show.

You could argue promotion won’t be necessary in the future. Netflix would say it can figure out what viewers want from their historical viewing behavior.

If traditional TV networks move more to over-the-top digital video platforms/apps, will they have similar historical viewing data to use to target consumers’ future programming needs?

If not, then social media -- or some other media platform -- will need to work much better.

2 comments about "TV's Future: Programs, But No Channels?".
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  1. Michael Pursel from Pursel Advertising, December 10, 2015 at 2:47 p.m.

    Real Simple. They will cross promote using the "programs" they own and distribute now.  You see that on cable/dish all the time.  

  2. ida tarbell from s-t broadcasting, December 11, 2015 at 3:06 p.m.

    Its already nearly true for me.  I watch the network news at night and thats it.  Otherwise, tv 
    programwise, I search for my supper every day but never watch a programmed channel.

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