The death knells can be heard from the far corners of media industry, but is TV listening? Can something be done or is it simply too late? This week, experts from both sides weighed in on these loaded questions. Henry Blodget, CEO and Editor-in-Chief of Business Insider, authored an in-depth piece, “Don’t Mean To Be Alarmist, The TV Business May Be Starting To Collapse”. And with that, the alarm was sounded.
In his article, Blodget drew inauspicious parallels between the television and newspaper industries. The later business underestimated, or ignored, the magnitude of a steadily shifting consumer base until the damage became irreversible. Blodget suggests the TV industry is now following down the same path. Apple’s Airplay, SmartGlass, and Simple.TV (see more on all of these below) are only facilitating viewers’ behavioral shifts. Recent Nielsen data confirms 8.5% of TV’s audience fled in 2011 and a majority of those who only tune in once a month are now doing so via computers rather than sets.
Cue Evan Shapiro, President of Participant Television, who reassures us with a conviction worthy of all caps, “TV IS NOT DYING”. But Shapiro is talking about the idea of TV, “TV is not a device — it is an experience. Prime Time is not a time slot — it is an expectation of story-telling quality”. By this definition Shapiro tethers television to our primal attraction to narrative, a foundation that is indeed unshakable.
In the end Shapiro echoes, and even reinforces, Blodget’s concerns. It is Shapiro who maligns the next generation of TV viewers. ‘Plurals’, as they are defined, are the first generation to grow up in an anytime, anywhere, anything culture. They are TV’s future revenue stream, but will make their subscription decisions in times of increased financial pressures. Expecting everything, but wanting only pieces, Plurals won’t buy into to the current delivery system. That’s where Shapiro relates TV to the music industry.
Once TV steps into the life-raft with music and newspapers, it will be too late. It’s time to take note. Something is happening.
So where can Social TV step in? Laurant Weill, founder and executive chairman of Visiware, explains, “Social TV supports a new multi-business model that will redefine the TV ecosystem including T-Commerce, interactive and targeted advertising, premium content sale (i.e., video, music), and gaming”
Additionally, Social TV can strengthen communities around programs and brands. It encourages live viewing and has the power to revive time-shifted audiences. As TV moves across screens and out the door, Parks Associates sees increased opportunities for advertisers and a new draw for networks.
Michael Lantz, CEO of Accedo, touches on a growing value of social recommendation, which can draw audiences in through back channels. In this vein, YouTube has already modified its algorithms to surface videos that win higher levels of engagement while Twitter is expected soon on Google TV (See below).
For everything fit to print, keep reading this week’s Social TV news. Read the rest of this entry »