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Title: The way people view television...
Post by: Mac on October 18, 2014, 03:11:45 pm
The way people view television...

... it's changing. Like music, the business model for television is nothing like the days of old and with some recent announcements, I think we are going to see even bigger changes.

Both CBS ( and HBO ( have announced streaming for their content. We can thank Netflix for this breakthrough. I've been a fan of Netflix for about a year now. Streaming content is going to be the future and with these two announcements, we will see even more change. I have never liked the idea of cable and 200 channels. Charge me for all of them despite only watching a couple. If the right studio's become available, I see no reason to have cable. Not that I want cable to die, but it cannot continue what it's doing.

Recently I changed our cable. I've been noticing we rarely watch any of the premium channels. So I cut the cord on those. I still have basic, but I'm not pleased. I only need a few, and I'm still paying a hefty fee.

A change is a comin'
Title: Re: The way people view television...
Post by: Neumatic on October 18, 2014, 03:46:58 pm
The HBO thing seems like a given, they paid an insane amount of money to get half of the movies coming out until 2020, and if they can offer their subscriptions to people without those people having to pay for all the extra channels, of course they're going to do it.  The big concern, though, is that it's a user-oriented experience.  Netflix got to be where it is because it wasn't treated like an afterthought, it was all about a sleek, dependable user experience, and I feel like the more traditional companies will just settle for "good enough" because they still want to make their money off traditional channels (this is why I don't like Crackle, it's a lousy interface with a lousy selection, lousy menus, the ad transitions are clunky, it's "good enough" and it's not nearly good enough).

We're also seeing original content coming out for PS4 (with Powers) and Halo for XBox (and Showtime, I understand), so there's going to be a big demand for content, which is great for creators, but the problem is, they need a LOT of it to make their subscriptions worth the price.  We're already seeing the Pixar "Brain Trust" show up in other companies (Disney animation made their own, and there's evidently something similar set up for Star Wars and Marvel Pictures), and I think that might be a great way for production companies to maintain a high level of quality (and establish a brand identity) while creating stand-alone features for all these platforms.
Title: Re: The way people view television...
Post by: Mac on October 29, 2014, 09:26:31 am
It's slowly gathering steam...

FCC proposes rule change to open a la carte internet television streaming

The proposal, which seeks to alter the definition of "multichannel video programming distributor" (MVPD) to be technology-agnostic, would pave the way for consumers to subscribe to channels à la carte from internet services. Fans of Breaking Bad, for instance, could subscribe to AMC without also paying for channels like Lifetime, in which they are not interested.

"Consumers have long complained about how their cable service forces them to buy channels they never watch," Wheeler wrote in a blog post. "The move of video onto the Internet can do something about that frustration - but first Internet video services need access to the programs."

The definition of MVPD is one of the items that got "antenna subscription" service Aereo into trouble with federal authorities. In June, the Supreme Court ruled that Aereo had no right to rebroadcast content under the provision.

If the rule change is eventually implemented, prospective streaming providers would still need to reach financial agreements with the content owners. They also would not be allowed to provide programming on-demand — only "linear channels, which offer the viewer a prescheduled lineup of programs," would be covered.
Title: Re: The way people view television...
Post by: Mac on March 29, 2015, 03:20:59 pm
Interesting piece...

The Millennial Trends That Are Killing Cable

“Cord-cutting” has become the bane of cable providers’ existence, but the fast-changing face of consumer content is signaling dark days ahead for cable, as the option to avoid or drop cable service has grown more appealing and more popular than ever lately. The Internet, mobile devices, TiVo TIVO -0.19%, Netflix NFLX -0.84% and other streaming services, and other major disruptions to traditional TV and home entertainment mediums were already hurting the cable industry. But now, recent events have given rise to predictions that the era of cable may be coming to a close.

Netflix began producing their own original content in 2011 with House of Cards, and quickly ramped up the creation of new original shows, with dozens of programs and films in the works or already on the air. Meanwhile, HBO recently announced they will offer stand-alone service so customers need not have cable to enjoy HBO’s lineup anymore. This news was followed by announcement of a deal to carry HBO Now exclusively on Apple TV, but then came word HBO had also arranged a deal with some cable providers to offer HBO’s streaming service to customers as part of an Internet plan instead of as part of bundled cable content. Showtime is pursuing a similar path away from cable, too.

Cable Killers

Right after the announcement of the deal to carry HBO Now on Apple TV, The Wall Street Journal revealed that Apple plans to offer a streaming TV service that will include ABC, CBS, FOX, FX, ESPN, and 20 other broadcast channels to start. The pricing will fall be $30-40 each month, and it’s expected that the plan will also include VOD streaming service alongside the broadcast channels.

And in the aftermath of the FCC’s adopting of strong Net Neutrality protections came rumblings that HBO, Showtime, and Sony might seek classification as “managed” services rather than regular broadband Internet content. This would skirt Net Neutrality and allow those content providers to get faster, better delivery to customers apart from the “public” Internet, so to speak.

In short, the times they are a changin’, and not in cable’s favor. To get a better grasp of just how dramatic all of this news is, and how much it’s changing the landscape of the future of content distribution and consumption, I spoke with Deloitte, who work on — among other things — strategic risk management and who provided data and insights regarding the emerging threats to traditional business models in entertainment, and how the landscape is going to change in the future.

First, some generalizations: What is the trend with regard to cable versus alternate viewing mediums like DVRing, Netflix, and so on? Deloitte notes that households have an average of seven connected devices, and that number will grow over time. The company’s Digital Democracy Survey revealed a great deal of relevant data. For example, 37% of U.S. consumers today own the trio of tablets, laptops, and smartphones, a percentage that represents a 270% increase since 2010. In the same time frame, women have gone from just about 11% of those trio-owners to 45% of those owning all three devices. And a major factor in trends is generational differences, which aren’t always obvious when you look at the broad data but which significantly change consumption patterns from one generation to the next.

The Digital Democracy Survey data about Millennials shows they represent nearly one-third of the U.S. population over age 13, and more than one-third of those between the ages of 14 and 66. And it is Millennials who are driving disruptive trends the most, consuming most of their TV and film content online rather than through television or Blu-ray/DVDs. 56% of the TV and film viewing by Millennials aged 14-24 is on computer, smartphone, tablet, or a gaming device — only 44% is via TV. Older Millennials (in the 24-30 age range) consume 47% of their film and TV content on those alternative devices. So on average, the 30-and-under crowd’s primary means of consuming content is through mobile devices, streaming, and online. That’s in sharp contrast to the over-30 crowd who still rely on television for an average of more than 80% of their film and TV show viewing.

Tellingly, the desire for à la carte purchasing of channels is equal to that for bundled cable packaging, but the real difference is the means of consumption and what activities a given demographic engages in while watching TV. A majority of Millennials browse online, between 41% and 51% text (the younger Millennials coming in at the higher percentage), and 48% use social media, during television viewing. Overall, however, a whopping 86% of all U.S. consumers are doing something else while watching TV, most of those activities being online or using some sort of alternate multimedia mobile device. But the average number of activities while viewing television changes from each demographic, with Millennials averaging four activities compared to three for Generation Xers, two for Baby Boomers, and one for the over-66 crowd.

The trend, then, is that younger consumers are increasingly likely to consume content on platforms besides television, and to use more other multimedia mobile devices while watching television. Deloitte says it boils down to people wanting the easiest access to content wherever they happen to be. And the behaviors of different generations are clearly a factor in how they consume content — younger viewers are more likely to use more different devices while watching, so perhaps that’s why they are more likely to consume content at a higher rate on other devices.

HBO, Showtime, and Sony seeking ways around the FCC rulings highlights the fact that availability of bandwidth and its cost could create changes to the patterns, if for example Netflix could see its position either strengthened or weakened by the FCC decisions and by the ways its competitors respond, and then again by how the FCC might in turn respond to attempts to circumvent open Internet rules. All of these businesses — new and old alike — are seeking ways to respond to the changes in the environment and changes in consumer patterns of spending and consumption. As they react and adapt, those best positioned will survive, and being well-positioned naturally means seeing the changes coming and preparing for them, then taking the right action when the disruptions occur in order to not only survive the change but to actually benefit from it and come out in an even better position.

Let’s take a closer look at some examples of disruptors and the impact they’ve had, and might have down the road. Some experts claim HBO’s move to allow online subscription isn’t actually disruptive and will just end up augmenting cable, not undermining or replacing it. Others point to this as a defining moment that signals imminent radical change. Which view is right?

The defining point, according to Deloitte, is that the balance of power in the consumer-provider relationship has shifted to the consumer. So getting closer to the consumer is the way to survive and take advantage of the consumer-driven trends. HBO’s move is a reaction to the reality that younger viewers have cut the cord or just never had the cord to begin with, and in order to reach them HBO is having to take risks and try new models for reaching those viewers. Without expanding to new avenues to get closer to those Millennial consumers, HBO would risk losing them entirely, and 74 million consumers is simply too many to ignore — the risk of failing to reach them frankly outweighs the risk of trying new models at this point.

Notice, too, that HBO taking this new direction is probably going to have an effect on the generational habits, since now HBO — and CBS following close behind, and soon Showtime and undoubtedly other as well — are demonstrating a functional alternative to cable bundling of services, bringing the reality of à la carte purchasing home (literally and figuratively). Millennials who take interest and pursue HBO will do so because HBO has gone to those places where they must go to get close to those consumers, and so those consumers will decide if the option is appealing enough or not, and if so it will reinforce the trend toward preference for à la carte purchasing over cable, which could (and likely will) further the move toward cord cutting and demand for alternatives.

However, Deloitte is quick to point out that HBO didn’t in fact start this trend. That credit goes to MLB Live and Netflix, HBO is simply the first major pre-existing channels to join the streaming subscription trend that’s already underway. Besides, à la carte purchasing sounds great, but it also requires more work than just signing up for a big package you know has a lot of your favorite stuff already included. Expense could become an issue as well. Those most likely to consume larger amounts of varied content across many platforms are also those who at present are more likely to favor à la carte purchasing and are more used to handling the many variables involved. But if all consumption became à la carte without price drops, then that long list of content could get too pricey, and we might even see a reversal of trends back toward some alternate form of bundling.

The point is, HBO’s move has yet to official kick off, so it’s premature to try and guess too far ahead. That said, other content producers and providers will respond depending on whether HBO’s move is rewarded by younger consumers and whether it likewise instigates a larger move toward cord cutting among older demographics as well. If we see a faster trend toward cord cutting in Generation Xers and Baby Boomers, replacing cable with streaming alternatives like HBO Now and Apple streaming and so on, then other producers and providers will have to go where the consumers are and follow HBO’s lead.

The wisdom of HBO’s choice, though, is apparently already obvious enough that several companies are clearly not waiting for results to roll in before taking their own leap. With some cable providers already dealing or willing to deal with HBO to provide the channel via Internet instead of bundled in channel packages is a sure sign HBO’s move will be disruptive after all, and it will be harder for cable to adjust and avoid a significant impact to traditional relationships with consumers.

Pointing to Tad Friend’s The New Yorker article about viral videos, Deloitte suggests that in the grand scheme of things, HBO’s move could be just a relatively small disruption compared to the way YouTube, Vine, and similar services are radically changing the rules for how content is produced, distributed, and viewed. For younger audiences among the Millennials, such services are a big part of what they consume and how they consume.

If HBO’s move (and the similar moves by CBS, Showtime, and others soon) does indeed kick off a trend of many large channels moving to streaming service options away from cable, then Deloitte sees it as a fundamental attack on the economic value of bundled cable service. Cable companies would have to respond by playing one of the strong cards they have left in their hand: their role as major suppliers of Internet into homes. To get the content, you still need a way to receive it, and at-home content delivery of online and streaming content is overwhelmingly handled through cable providers — you aren’t going to see many households relying on cellular Internet access to act as a hot spot for all of their devices and TV at home, after all. So leveraging this position as Internet providers still puts cable companies in the position of distributors of content, just in a different way than they’re used to counting on.

Another point to consider, according to Deloitte, is whether cable providers like Comcast provide access to content, or move toward becoming owners of the content they distribute. Comcast in fact has for a few years now been moving toward a role in production and ownership role in content it provides, expanding beyond the role as distributor. But in the long run, the true power cable companies will have is as distributors who have the path into consumers’ homes.


Companies are responding in different ways to the reality of the changing trends, seeking not only ways to change and do things differently, but also frankly how to retain whatever they can of what they already have now. The truth is, the largest companies aren’t having to survive, they are merely having to adjust in order to remain dominant and grow their financial strength. It’s everyone else who must worry about survival in the disrupted market, while companies like HBO set the pace and carve out the direction. Watch the industry leaders, then, to get the best idea of where the trends are headed. As that happens, watch for the smaller companies who successfully identify and fill roles left vacant by the larger players, and for the larger players to buy up or craft deals with those successful smaller companies.

With so much depending on getting closer to consumers and knowing what they want, when they want it, Deloitte identifies consumer data as likely a major commodity among these companies going forward. Those companies with greater pools of consumer data are the best positioned to see the trends as they take place, and more importantly which trends are going to emerge in the future.

Consider the difference between the amount of consumer data held by Amazon, and that held by Comcast. Those two sets of data are dramatically different in some key ways, with Comcast having broader information about viewing trends and consumer plans, but not the nuanced day to day specific data about individuals within households and long-term personal trends regarding not just what they watch in a specific context (like cable bundle preferences and number of devices receiving specific services) but even data about what they look at and consider, what they get for their friends and family, what they stream and what they buy in hard-copy form, what they read and what they wear, and so on. Future trends will be much easier to predict from the data pool at Amazon.

The trends in consumption and viewing platforms have caused shifts in the approach to content production as well. Content delivered via the Internet, for viewing on mobile devices a little bit at a time as viewers go about their day and engage on other devices, requires a change in how projects are selected and created. Deloitte identify a few key indications of how consumer trends have changed production and distribution of content, the first and most obvious being that binge-viewing of programs on streaming services. This, Deloitte points out, undermines the entire concept of programming schedules at networks, and we’ve also seen a significant rise in production of long format drama series that are popular for binge-watching. The shows have a faster pace, and have to constantly reinforce the viewer’s interest in what’s happening next and to reduce the chances audiences will skip through slower parts of the show.

More... next
Title: Re: The way people view television...
Post by: Mac on March 29, 2015, 03:23:16 pm
Killing cable (cont)

Another change in programming is segmentation, since many viewers of content online and with mobile devices are watching in short bursts here and there throughout their day, or switching between content on different devices. So a program might be broken up into segments that can be watched and then paused or stopped until later, then picked up again for the next segment continuing the story. In this case, a given episode isn’t quite so important as the individual segments that comprise it, and a viewer binge-watching but skipping between segments through the day is less aware of a given single episode because they are consuming the program in small bites and view it only as small bites out of a single larger whole that is the entire series.

But regardless of viewership, the bottom line is always the actual bottom line — money talks, and content survives only if it is profitable. For now, the most profitable content, Deloitte tells me, is still regular ol’ traditionally formatted television programming. And content trends that feed viewer trends but ignore the need to generate revenue will simply not survive. Case in point, Deloitte says, is how advertising revenue can be disrupted by things like the threats to cable, or how streaming or TiVo allow skipping of commercials in some situations.

On the one hand, providers have to get closer to consumers, and that proximity allows greater chances to use consumer data to better market to those viewers and reach them all day long on mobile devices and engaging them via social media. But on the other hand, as consumers have more control and as providers and distributors work to meet those consumers’ demands, there’s an obvious trend toward viewers attempting to bypass advertising in the traditional sense. Sharing of consumer data, better targeting of particular demographics, and reaching them directly where they are at a given time are some of the challenges that advertisers will face, and as the generators of much of the revenue stream, that means the success of the advertisers should be very important to the content creators and distributors.

Deloitte identified for me four future scenarios based on these trends, which they note could co-exist among Millennials, Generation Xers, Baby Boomers, and the over-66 consumers, since each scenario has a variety of forces at work and industry leaders who would dominate any particular scenario:

In turn, and as noted above, they say any and all of these would in turn impact advertising, which would already be changing and adjusting to the trends that bring about any and all of these scenarios. And regardless of any particular outcome, film and series content will have to adapt itself to compete with other entertainment and media uses among consumers, such as social media (which is still evolving), gaming apps, and emerging new forms of entertainment and mobile interactions. Advances in consumer electronics, too, will create new trends as consumer behavior changes to match those new technological advances and as the devices deliver new content in new ways.

It’s not hard to imagine some huge event to happen at any given time that might create a major disruption with outcomes hard to even begin to predict. For an outrageous but significant example, what if Apple bought Netflix? What would it look like to have an Apple streaming service that merges iTunes and Netflix into a brand new streaming model for content production and distribution? That would go beyond the streaming disruption and raise the specter of a content creator and provider also creating and providing exclusive hardware on which to watch all of their content.

The only remaining question in that scenario becomes whether their best option is to deal with the cable Internet providers to stream the content, to find some other route to deliver Internet access themselves, or to convince the government to create public Internet access through wireless towers and expanded wi-fi access at businesses and apartment complexes and government buildings. Might it make sense for Apple to push for some long-term plan that creates free public Internet in the U.S.? Would the benefits be worth the effort?

It’s interesting to contemplate, even though it’s obviously an unlikely scenario any time soon. But this is the sort of “what if” that companies should be considering, because as wild as it sounds, it wouldn’t really be that hard in the long-term to create free public Internet that would end the need for having cables pipe it into our homes. And there are without a doubt some companies and industries who would stand to benefit enormously should that come to pass.

The entertainment climate is shifting rapidly, and that creates both risks and opportunities for content creators and distributors. Adapting and surviving will depend on identifying the trends not only when they are happening, but more importantly before they start. That sounds like a tall order, but it’s not necessarily as difficult as it seems, if they pay attention to the data and make the right choices.

As much uncertainty as exists, and as significant are the changes taking place in content creation, distribution, and consumption trends, I believe a few things are obvious. The viewing habits of everyone are increasingly toward watching more content on more devices, and consuming that content in the easiest and fastest way possible. But the rate of use of more devices for viewing content has increased much more among younger consumers than older ones, and is most pronounced among the 14-24 year old crowd. Their trio usage went from 11% in 2011 to 51% in 2013, while the average change for all ages (again, excepting the 13-and-under age range) in that same period was from 10% to $37%. Looking to the future, there’s no reason to doubt that the trend for everyone will continue to be greater usage of multiple devices to view content. Which, in turn, means the era of traditional cable service is eventually going to end — not by falling off a cliff, but through simple, slow obsolescence.

Alongside that, we can also see that the trend for Netflix for example is, quite simply, growth. The company is expected to have as many as 100 million subscribers worldwide by 2020. Their catalog of content is massive, and they produce their own content for televised viewing and theatrical releases. Their stock was at about $54 per share in August of 2012 is at $428 today. That $54 per share price was after a huge drop in value caused by angry subscribers who did their best to try to sink the company for splitting its DVD and streaming services and daring to charge about $7 for each separately per month. But despite their best efforts and all of the wild predictions that Netflix would fold, of course it didn’t happen because it’s a huge valuable company with far too many subscribers and a popular brand name around the world and too much content to ignore. So looking to the future, there’s no reason to doubt that the trend will continue to be Netflix expansion and strength, and a dominant position in the aftermath of the continued decline of traditional cable service.

What I feel those two sets of trends should clearly demonstrate is, the future is one of multiple devices used for viewing in a variety of streaming and online content. The more mobile the device, the more fractured and segmented the content being viewed, and the more home-bound the device, the more the content will be streamed film or binge-viewed series that competes for attention with the other mobile devices the consumers are using to interact online. The primary questions are, who will control the means of distribution for content, of delivering the Internet access? Cable companies are in the best position to retain that control for now, and how well they position themselves to strengthen their hold will determine how long they last as the trends render regular cable service obsolete.

Thanks to Deloitte for agreeing to speak with me about these topics, for supplying me with their survey data relevant to the topic, and for permission to include a chart from their survey!

All box office figures and tallies based on data via Box Office Mojo and TheNumbers.
Title: Re: The way people view television...
Post by: Mac on January 05, 2017, 07:38:46 pm
I'm excited....

These are the most incredible new TVs unveiled at CES 2017

Trends come and go every year at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Nevada. One year it’s tablets, the next year it’s wearables, then it’s the internet of things, drones and smart homes. Some of the trends we see develop at CES go on to shape the future of consumer tech. Others come and go with precious little fanfare. But one thing is true each and every year at the show, and CES 2017 is no different: There are always incredible new TVs on display that make us drool uncontrollably.

This year we’ve seen some particularly drool-worthy televisions shown off on the show floor at CES, and in this post we’ll cover the best of the best.

LG Signature OLED TV W


There is no question — and we mean none whatsoever — that LG’s new line of Signature OLED TVs stole the show at CES 2017. These TVs are ridiculous. They should not exist. Science shouldn’t allow it.

LG’s new OLED TV W7 is 2.57 mm thick. We’ll pause for a moment to let that sink in.

Let’s put that in perspective, shall we? Apple’s iPhone 7 is 7.1 mm thick. The average number 2 pencil is between 6 mm and 7 mm thick. This thinnest flagship smartphone on the planet, Lenovo’s Moto Z, is 5.2 mm thick. This gigantic OLED television is 2.57 mm thick.



LG’s incredibly thin design allows the W7 to be mounted flush against the wall in such a way that it almost looks like part of the wall. There’s even a special magnetic mounting system that ensures a flush installation. But this TV is about much more than just the razor-thin design. The 4K HDR picture quality on the W7’s panel is just as impressive as LG’s earlier OLED TVs — anyone who has seen last year’s LG OLED B6 will know that LG’s TVs are easily on par with the best in the business.

WebOS powers the OLED W7, and for our money it’s still the only smart TV platform worth paying any attention to other than the Roku software that powers TVs from a few different mid- and bottom-tier brands. Also of note, there’s obviously no room for speakers in there, so a separate sound bar handles that.

Pricing hasn’t yet been announced, but you can expect all LG Signature OLED TV W models to be quite expensive. The 65-inch OLED TV W7 will start shipping in March, and a 77-inch model will launch sometime after that.

Sony Bravia A1E OLED TV


Coming in a very close second to LG’s new paper-thin OLED TV is the Bravia A1E OLED TV that Sony unveiled on Wednesday night. This thing is… stunning.

The A1E is practically as thin as LG’s W7, but it’s not designed to be mounted on a wall like LG’s TV. Instead, it uses a stand design that offloads most of the TV’s guts to the stand. Apart from the thinness, 4K resolution and the stunning HDR picture quality, the coolest thing about this new Sony set has to be the fact that the display itself is also the speaker.


Two actuators positioned on the back of the panel actually vibrate the TV so that it produces sound, just like any other speaker. Don’t worry though, because the vibrations are imperceptible to the human eye and won’t impact the viewing experience.

Sony hasn’t announced pricing or even a release timeframe at this point, but expect the 55-inch Bravia A1E OLED TV to be priced in line with other premium Sony flagships at launch. We’re likely talking over $6,000 here, and that’s even before we get to the 65-inch and 75-inch models.

Samsung QLED TV


While LG and Sony focus on OLED panels in their premium TVs, Samsung — the undisputed king of smartphone OLED screens — is debuting what it calls the QLED TV. From the company’s press release:

Samsung QLED TV takes Quantum dot technology to new heights with advanced light efficiency and stability, as well as a wider color spectrum than ever before. The new QLED TV also features truly deep black levels, perfect 100% color volume when measured with DCI perfect match, and HDR optimal brightness of 1,500 – 2,000 nits. Samsung QLED TV’s new panel design also reduces reflection so consumers can see every bold detail with unbelievable levels of contrast. Finally, QLED delivers this level of performance regardless of where one is sitting, with consistent color and picture quality from any viewing angle.

Samsung didn’t say when its new QLED TVs will launch or how much they’ll cost, but you can expect an entry-level price that’s well below the OLED TVs were covered from LG and Sony. Samsung’s current flagship KS9800 4K SUHD TV launched at $4,500 and can now be had for about $3,600.

Samsung Lifestyle TV


Last but not least is a crazy new concept TV from Samsung called the Lifestyle TV. In a nutshell, it never shuts off. Instead, it displays your movies and shows like any other TV while you’re watching it, and it becomes a big piece of art or a digital picture frame when you’re not.