I had a history professor back in my collegiate days who encouraged the class, every time his lecture included the word “change”, to respond with an immediate question”: “Pace and degree?” The idea was that change, throughout history, is a constant, but the pace of that change, and the degree of that change, can make the difference between a revolution which shakes the foundations of society (i.e.: Civil Rights movement of the 1960’s) and a passing fad (i.e.: Who Wants To Be a Millionaire). Today the home entertainment ecosphere is undergoing a seismic change, massive in both pace and degree, with the promise of emerging to look nearly nothing like it did in the previous decade. What’s behind this revolution? I’m glad you asked. Here are three trends which are powering the metamorphosis, all of which are worth watching as you track the pace and degree of future change. Each will affect both you individually, as a consumer, AND collectively, in your business/professional life.
- Traditional TV is in significant decline: Once the social center of the household, TV is now becoming less and less important to individuals and families as the options multiply to access the content they love. The result is easy to see: Fewer viewers are settling in for “appointment TV”, choosing rather to watch their favorite programs when they wish. They’re also watching HOW they want. Children, the next generation of couch surfers, are choosing mobile devices over TVs (Tablets are pushing TV sets and game consoles out of children’s bedrooms). Finally, TV no longer holds that place of primacy in the entertainment universe; what was once the ‘second screen’ is often becoming the first. Noted one recent study, “…thinking of TV as being the dominant screen and the cell phone, tablet, or laptop as the secondary, complementary viewing screen is wrong.”
- Over-the-top (IPTV) is the next big thing: OTT and IPTV is where it’s at…already. Consumers are turning to internet-based entertainment channels for more and more of their content consumption. Netflix members, for example, average 90 minutes of viewing per day. Binge viewing has become the national pastime. On top of this, 37 per cent of US broadband households regularly use transactional services for OTT video, such as online video rentals and downloads in addition to the time spent with SVOD services.
- The Money is following the viewers…and they’re online: One needs no further evidence than to follow the ad dollars. Powerhouse Omnicom Media Corp, the ad agency which works with such omnipresent brands as McDonald’s, Apple, Starbucks and Pepsi, recently recommended that their clients “…shift as much as 25% of their TV advertising budgets to online video.” Advertisers are already doing this; Mobile video adspend tripled in the first half of 2014.
My own forecast? We’ll see more change (pace and degree!) in the next 10 years in the entertainment space, both in the home and elsewhere, then we’ve had in the past 50. Exciting times! (A previous version of this post was published in November, 2014.)