Linear TV And Other Media: Cross Off 'Cross-Platform'

Consumers still spend most of their entertainment money on at legacy pay TV provider video packages. How long can that last?

Better yet, how long can "linear TV" last? How about "cross media?"

For all the excitement of streaming platforms, the bottom line is that streaming -- currently -- is still far behind legacy TV platforms in terms of consumer spending.

Total consumer entertainment spend in the third quarter of this year for streaming was $7.7 billion -- around one-third of traditional pay TV providers' $21.7 billion from consumers, according to nScreenMedia analysis, looking at data from Digital Entertainment Research and Leichtman Research.

With this in mind, the question we keep asking is this: How will legacy TV content make the transition to all things digital/streaming/CTV, without damaging needed traditional TV distribution revenues?

And then what? Is there are history lesson here?

Should we examine how media content years ago divested its radio and outdoor, newspaper and book publishing business for answers?

The trend lines, of course, tell a different story when compared to four years ago. Streaming has more than doubled revenues from its $3.6 billion in 2018.

Traditional pay then totaled $24.3 billion -- cable, satellite and telco at ($23.3 billion) and virtual pay TV services ($1.0 billion).

Pay TV subscribers dropped 21% overall that time span -- 18 million. But there was actually a smaller 7% decline in consumer spend on pay TV.

The reason is obvious. Over the time span, pay TV providers have been raising prices, keeping those losses to a minimum.

One guess is traditional TV content companies will try to continue to offer synergistic marketing opportunities for streaming by using linear TV, which still a major advertising platform a key leverage selling point.

Linear TV is needed to support streaming in years to come, while at the same time finding a way to keep business stable through advertising and distribution fees.

But don’t consider that "cross-platform" will show up in any advertising.

More importantly, when will that whole "cross-platform" moniker disappear? If everything is digital -- including newspapers, outdoor and even in-theater exhibition -- what’s the point?

Do consumers ever use the term "cross-platform"? Perhaps the term "multitasking" makes an appearance now and then.

For media buyers, it’s all about waste. Having too much can lead to inefficiencies. Too much cross, not enough platform.

1 comment about "Linear TV And Other Media: Cross Off 'Cross-Platform'".
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  1. Harold Geller from Advocado, November 23, 2022 at 4:21 p.m.

    I am curious as to when vMVPD services will start falling into the "legacy pay TV provider video packages" category.  I am one year into my post MVPD exoperience, and frankly do not miss the cable set-top box, and enjoy the freedom of all my liner channels (on FuboTV) on all my devices, at home and out of the home.

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