Variety has published a story about a new reality show called @SummerBreak. That might not sound too interesting, but what makes this show stand out is that it will unfold over four social media platforms (Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, YouTube) and completely bypass television.
The ways in which people view and interact with television are being completely transformed.
A number of providers are broadcasting ‘online’ only programmes and YouTube and Amazon have been investing in original programming. The CEO of Netflix, purveyor of on demand programming, has published an opinion piece which outlines a vision for the future of television. Netflix has seen a sharp rise in its share price and has added three million new viewers so far in 2013.
The document explores the drivers for a move away from so-called ‘linear’ TV towards ‘internet TV and apps’. Although linear TV remains popular, the steady growth of such services as BBC i-player, HBO-GO and Watch ESPN demonstrates how TV viewing habits will continue to change. Drivers for change in television viewing include:
- Increased internet speeds and reliability
- Increased sales of smart TVs – eventually all TVs will have Wi-Fi and apps
- Mobile viewing will increase
- Internet video advertising will become personalised
- Innovative new entrants
- Internet TV apps will improve rapidly, just as mobile phones have done over the last 20 years
Viewers are changing
While the technology is moving forward, consumers’ behaviours are also changing. New research from the US shows that mobile app usage reaches its daily peak between 7pm and 9pm – traditionally TV prime time. As app usage between these times increases (rising to 50 million during these two hours) viewing figures for almost all prime time TV shows are declining. The only shows not losing out are those with older viewers.
TV is not simply losing out to apps of course. Alternative providers (including HBO and Netflix) continue to grow their market share. What is known as ‘long form video’ is the fastest growing content segment for tablets. On demand/ internet TV services facilitate what is known as ‘binge viewing’ – where viewers may watch several episodes or indeed entire series of programmes in one go.
To quote the CEO of Netflix on the future of TV… TV, as we know it is coming to an end.