TV's Shift To Digital Has Greatly Accelerated, And It Changes Everything

Digital TV-video content is here. I mean really here: warts and all.

For some time, TV analysts have said the future of the TV business is digital. But things have accelerated much faster in recent months -- the transition to more digital premium video platforms from traditional TV platforms.

What hasn’t been expected is what digital would play if everything needed to be shifted in just a couple of weeks. Like during an pandemic.

Speaking to CNBC on Wednesday, Mark Read, CEO-executive director of WPP Group, the global advertising giant, put it perfectly:

“We are seeing 10 years of [digital] innovation crammed into four weeks; the way we communicate, work, travel, shop, use financial services, educate our children has all been turned on our head.” All this, he adds, “is clearly going to accelerate the shift towards digital.”

This isn’t to say that traditional TV platforms -- one part of the media landscape -- isn’t going away by June. But Read makes a strong case for a faster-than-expected scenario where major shifts are here to stay.



For example, broadband usage has surged, as have temporary disruption issues with some premium video providers slowing down broadband speeds.

Broadband Now, a consumer-focus broadband information company, says 72% of the top 200 U.S. cities have experienced slower upload speeds. Also, there has been slower download speeds in 88 of 117 cities.

Are we really ready for this?

Home entertainment has sharply risen as the out-of-home entertainment business -- movie theaters, concerts, theater and other entertainment events -- has virtually stopped. All that has had major effects on in-theater/on screen advertising and big sponsorship for those out-of-home events.

All the while, we see established premium video platforms like Netflix continuing to score big points with consumers over the last few weeks -- even as it faces more streaming competition from legacy TV-media players.

Does this mean even more trouble for ad-supported media?

More pressing, top economists everywhere say we will probably see a massive deceleration of the U.S. economy -- down perhaps 20% to 35% in U.S. GDP growth in the second quarter alone.

While there will be recovery in the long term, some say specific businesses will not return. At all.

Ask yourself what TV and media businesses won’t be around a year from now. Hit the off button on the remote to register your vote.

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