As New York Television Week comes to an end, let’s look at the three key takeaways from this year’s conference. The event brought together a diverse group of people from the television, media, technology and advertising industries to discuss the challenges, predictions and innovative solutions in the industry. Below are the three key topics of discussion that permeated throughout the conference panels and networking events.
OTT is on (Almost) Everyone’s Mind
Coming after last week’s HBO GO announcement, it’s no surprise that OTT discussion was everywhere this week. The definition of television is changing, and networks are adapting to address the growing demand of viewers that want to watch their favorite shows outside of cable bundles.
Younger audiences especially are shunning ads and cable bundles in favor of SVOD services, frequently across 2 or more screens. Throughout the conference discussions, it was clear that TV networks, cable operators and pay-TV services are keenly aware of this and working quickly to deliver content to their audiences, wherever they want it. Pete Bryant, EVP of Corporate Development at Vubiquity cited the biggest surprise in the industry as “the speed of change.”
However, while most everyone touted the importance of cord-cutting and the growth of OTT in the market – there were some holdouts to the trend.
Most notably, AMC Networks CEO Josh Sapan said that AMC will not be offering it’s own over-the-top service. “We live, thrive and feed off the eco-systems of MVPDs,” said Sapan in a fireside chat with Multichannel news editor Mark Robichaux. “Today, we have no intention of going over the top, we think being in this ecosystem is a wonderful place.” AMC does offer shows through Netflix and its own TV app, but no plans to go direct to consumer for now.
In a separate panel discussion, when asked if NBC has any plans for an OTT service, Eric Black from NBC Sports Group answered that the network is “evaluating all platforms right now. We want to be where the viewers are” and mentioned that they will see what the future holds.
Worth noting that both of these networks are heavy-hitters and it is highly likely that they are at least exploring the option of OTT, but not necessarily addressing it at the conference.
While OTT is increasingly gaining traction, MVPDs still have a strong and lucrative hold on networks. Viewers are demanding more options in how and where they watch their content, but we will have to wait and see just how many networks listen. HBO is paving the way, but who else will follow?
Programmatic is Growing, But Won’t Overtake Traditional Just Yet
Programmatic was a big topic throughout the conference, and there was general agreement over programmatic’s rapid growth. The general consensus was that the future of TV advertising will include more automated, programmatic models as audiences continue to fragment. However, few believe that programmatic will completely take over how ads are bought and sold in the near future.
There’s no denying that programmatic is growing, but where you happen to stand in the TV industry influences much how strongly you feel about programmatic.
In Thursday morning’s session title “Will Programmatic TV Automate the Future of Advertising?”, Brian Stempeck, SVP of Strategic Development for THe Trade Desk was quick to chime in that it is “inevitable” that TV advertising goes programmatic. However, Dave Morgan, CEO of Simulmedia was quick to warn the differences between the pure digital and traditional TV industry. Given that digital tends to experience much more supply than demand (with a growing supply), he said it is unrealistic to think that the entire TV industry will shift to programmatic.
The traditional model is not going to disappear anytime soon. But programmatic is growing, and the TV industry is increasingly using it as a way to complement how inventory is bought and sold.
Diversity in Programming Drives Growth
Diversity in programming, audiences and devices was another key topic throughout the sessions. Whether it was multi-ethnic content or ways to watch, networks are paying attention to consumer’s unique needs at a broader level. Given that the 55 million Hispanic market is one of the fastest growing in the United States, that’s a smart move.
In Thursday’s “Mobile & OTT Disrupting the Television Business” panel, Borja Perez, SVP Digital and Social Media for Telemundo Media summarized the boom in his network’s audience. Now one of Latin America’s largest networks, Telemundo relies on providing quality content to Hispanic viewers across continents.
“Telemundo is the 2nd largest content producer in Latin America. People are willing to pay, whether it’s advertising or subscription, because the content is high-quality. You either have to sell in more countries or on more platforms,” said Perez.
In a different room on Thursday, a panel titled “More Than Skin Deep: Diversity Programming” tackled the challenges of creating entertaining and thoughtful programming focused on how African-American Latino and Asian-American families live and work. More and more shows are sprouting up that are specifically focused on these familial issues, including Blackish, Cristela and Jane the Virgin. However, it can be difficult to strike the right balance and too often shows rely on exxagerated stereotypes to make a point.
“We are making progress,” NUVOtv Senior Vice President Lynette Ramirez said. “But then I look at Cristela and I wonder.”
The availability of more content outlets and models has given producers more flexibility to try new things, and break out of the mold. In many conversations, panelists cited the need to create more targeted shows outside of the standard models, and ones that speak to the increasingly diverse TV audience.
Networks are paying more attention to how they can address diversity in show programming and ways their audiences are watching.
Categories: OTTOnline VideoTags: ottbroadcasttelevision week0