A growing set of niche audience interests are shaping the future of network programming.
A major change is taking place in the way people view, share, interact with and experience video. Driven by a wealth of new technologies that are allowing people greater flexibility to view content on their own time, we are quickly moving away from the paradigm of television as the central source through which people find and consume video, and towards a more diverse and interesting future. As evidence of this, all one has to do is ask the simple question, “What is TV?” and the answer is bound to be something radically different than it was 10 years ago.
In collaboration with the minds behind The Curve Report from NBCUniversal Content Innovation Agency, PSFK is investigating the future of video and how it is changing the face of television. Video has become much more than just something people experience in their living rooms or in the movie theater.
According to data gathered in The Curve Report, “Three of the top five platforms on which Generation X and Y regularly watch videos—YouTube, Netflix, and Facebook—didn’t exist a decade ago; and 67% of 18- to 49-year-olds say that the way they watch video today is radically different from just a year ago.”The specifics of how, when and where people access their entertainment has dramatically changed. Not only is this shaking up the way traditional broadcast media is being delivered, but it’s also opening up the avenues for new innovators and producers to take shape.”
Source, The Curve Report
Particularly over the past few years, this trend has been accelerating dramatically. A recent Nielsen study found that 38% of Americans ‘use or subscribe’ to Netflix, up from 31% last year, 18% use Hulu and 13% use Amazon Prime Instant Video. The study also found 88% of Netflix users reported watching three or more episodes of a TV show in a single day, and 45% said they watch original series that are created by various streaming services.
One example of how this trend manifests in product form is PLAiR, a handheld, portable device that plugs into a TV, and is able to independently stream content from the internet, without requiring constant connectivity from another computer. Connectable to any TV with a HDMI port, the device is a Wi-Fi-enabled dongle that can connect any smartphone to any television through an iOS or Android app. Users can view photos and videos stored on their phone, or in the cloud, including YouTube, CollegeHumor clips, CNN, and Vimeo videos. It’s portable design allows users to take it with them wherever they go.
This innovation is also coming from the content side. For example Telly is a social video curation service with over 15 million monthly users that aims to simplify how users find and share video content online. The service aims to be the ultimate online video channel, by aggregating all the videos a user’s friends are watching across the web in one location so they can easily discover new and relevant content. After signing in via Facebook, users can then browse from a carousel-style menu which pulls content from their Facebook and Twitter feeds to present the videos people in their social networks are watching and talking about. After a video is shared with them, users can view it using the app and also participate in a conversation around the content with friends. The service aims to recreate a social and dynamic viewing experience outside the realm of traditional TV.
It is apparent that the media landscape is rapidly shifting, but in order to make sense of these changes we must ask ourselves what’s next? What is this all building towards and how does it affect the future of video? As Jeff Wachtel, President and Chief Content Officer of NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment stated, “Everybody is asking, ‘How do you define television?’ but I think the real question is ‘How do you define content?’ Content is a renewable resource. Content—great stories—survives and actually thrives across platform changes.” Looking ahead, the future of TV as a relevant platform will depend on how well producers adapt to this new idea of content.