Commentary

Digital Media Could Be Serious TV Rival

Digital media still looks strong. Is anyone worried? Only when it comes to “premium” content.

Pivotal Research Group says new Nielsen Digital Content ratings show that digital content consumption for July 2018 was up 13% year-over-year, continuing low double-digit percentage levels.

Specifically, Google is up and Facebook is down when it comes to time spent on their respective services. Snap is stable, but not on a per-user basis. Twitter is up in both user growth and time spent.

More digital media content time would seem to be slightly troubling news for traditional TV content providers -- given all media consumer usage time. But we need to factor in TV content on digital media platforms, which is rising -- although still a fraction overall of what airs on traditional TV.

There is a shift on Facebook, as the social media site looks to rid users of advertising and content that is suspect, spam-like and misleading. Hopefully, that leads Facebook to offer users -- and advertisers -- a platform of higher quality and better engagement.

Facebook might like to call this “premium” content -- a term that TV providers use for specific TV shows -- and for selling their wares to advertisers. All this is probably aspirational at best. Surely, big brand marketers might say it is “safer” content.

Still, Brian Wieser, media analyst for Pivotal, says there are continued concerns for all digital media players, including what he says is a “high degree of rivalry, given an absence of barriers preventing new competition from emerging," “overly high and increasing capital needs to remain competitive" and “government regulations and consumer pushback related to management of consumer data and respect for privacy.”

That last concern may give some TV-centric brand marketers pause.

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