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Report: Streaming, VOD Impacting Future of TV

17 Dec, 2013 By: Erik Gruenwedel

SVOD, search features, mobility and binge viewing impacting TV programming of tomorrow, according to Ernst & Young

On-demand, mobility and binge viewing are among new consumer habits impacting every aspect of the TV content supply chain — from story creation to distribution — according to a new report by consulting giant Ernst & Young Global Limited.

EY identified six TV trends from the analysis of thousands of hours of interviews with executives from media and entertainment companies. Specifically, the report found that TV storytelling will evolve to make better use of a multiplatform user/viewer environment. Multiple screens that work seamlessly together will enable new story arcs and create greater opportunities for content producers to innovate with their audiences. Metadata that enables synchronization between screens will be a key enabler.

Ubiquitous access to TV programming will demand greater content mobility. As more screens appear in more places — from different rooms in a house to vehicles and public spaces — there will be an increased demand for content that can follow the viewer wherever he or she goes, according to the report. Advertisers will have more screens and greater potential for consumer impressions in this new, multiscreen lifestyle.

Social dynamics and synergistic experiences will drive more event-based viewing. While the viewing landscape grows increasingly fractured, consumers still want to be part of the collective social experience of events such as the soccer World Cup, Olympics or the Academy Awards. If content creators can build a strong social experience around a program, viewers will not want to be left out and be driven back to the screen so they can be included.

“Media and entertainment companies need to develop much closer relationships with viewers to create deeper engagement with both the content experience as well as advertising,” said Howard Bass, global media & entertainment advisory services leader, Ernst & Young. “Ultimately, it is going to come down to creating compelling content offered in a preference-optimized environment that viewers are willing to pay for directly.”

EY found that innovation in program discovery and TV controls is key to viewer integration going forward. Despite the evolution of televisions, the channel guide experience has not changed much during the past several decades. Viewers are often frustrated when trying to find something that will appeal to them on television. Tablets and other devices make program search and discovery more intuitive and tailored to an individual’s preferences — trends pioneered by Netflix. Content providers will ultimately have to optimize their content for searching, much like they do for search engines, to enable relevant and appealing content to be pushed to the viewer.

Binge viewing (watching several hours of back-to-back content in a single sitting) will drive more innovation in measurement and personalization, according to Ernst & Young. With the rise of video-on-demand (VOD) platforms, consumers are now content binge watching, and with increased frequency. Media and entertainment companies will need to develop methods to measure and better understand this unique viewing pattern in order to better package content that will cater to viewers’ needs, create dedicated lifelong fans and create opportunities for advertisers.

With TV programming now being produced exclusively for different platforms, and the ability of viewers to watch pilots on demand and vote on which ones they like best, is redistributing control over what gets produced outside of the traditional format of television program production. Content producers increasingly have more time for character and story development because the need to rehash previous episodes will be eliminated due to the ability of viewers to readily watch and re-watch previous episodes on demand.

“The story isn’t about making content available on multiple platforms,” said Chris Gianutsos, executive director of media & entertainment advisory services for EY. “It’s about enabling experiences with compelling content tailored to an audience of one. The relationship between content and viewer is going to get more complex, but potentially also more lucrative.”

About the Author: Erik Gruenwedel

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