2015 may well be remembered as the year when mainstream media finally embraced the relevance and importance of OTT (over the top or internet streamed) video. Content owners/producers (e.g., HBO, CBS) and TV Provides (e.g., Comcast) announced, pursued and launched OTT services to complement their "traditional" ad or subscription supported TV services. Of course, the new OTT model is still ad or subscription funded, but is the consumption model that has changed dramatically.
Just look at your tweens, teens and twenty-somethings. How are they enjoying television content? On the TV? Nope. It's more likely you will find them upside down in a chair or scrunched up in their beds with their eyes glued to their smartphone or tablet - enjoying their preferred content (which may or may not be produced by a big name studio or network). And, it's not just the kids. We adults have quickly realized the benefits of binging or consuming our favorite programs when our schedules allow - NOT when the networks deem it most advantageous.
While it may be argued that TV was the greatest invention of the 20th century, the most dramatic change to the television industry is happening in the 21st century. Business models are being turned upside down. Content aggregators are becoming producers (yes, that's a call out to Netflix, Amazon and YouTube). Advertising technology is now a major investment area. The result is some really great content.
Greater competition for eyeballs has upped the game for broadcast, cable and streaming networks. It also presents incremental monetization opportunities. Content IS STILL King! None of these viewing alternatives would have evolved if the consumer did not enjoy the content. Game of Thrones, House of Cards, Transparent, The Walking Dead, Scandal. Each of these series enjoys a rabid fan base which drives advertising or subscription revenue.
And now, just as we are adjusting to seeking content on the variety of Subscription VOD (SVOD) or Advertising VOD (AVOD) services available to us, we can consider the appification of TV. This is what Apple announced in September, but what has already been happening in a small way. This is the presence of apps on your internet-connected Smart TV.
Whether it is an app for Netflix, HBONow, CBS All Access or MLB.TV, it is the concept that you will pay for internet access, a service or device such as Apple TV, Sling TV or Google Chromecast, plus the monthly or annual app subscription (e.g., $9.99/month for Netflix; $129.99/year for MLB.TV). It's not necessarily cheaper, but perhaps it is easier. These models address consumer desire for on-demand viewing on the device of choice - which may or may not include the device called TV.
TV as we knew it has changed, but we still crave the experience it provides.
What's your perspective?