In the traditional sense of the word, a television is simply a device that allows you to consume images from your home. It’s one-way communication, with broadcast networks sending signals across vast distances using massive towers to reach TV sets in millions of consumers’ homes. TV shows are broadcast, and viewers take them in from the couch.
But that old-school vision of TV has shifted dramatically, and TV is so much more than a family of four huddled around a set-top box at 7:59 PM, waiting for their favorite show to be beamed to them. Viewers are rarely, if ever, consuming TV without some other device on-hand, and have the ability to participate in conversations about and influence their favorite programming like never before.
None of this is news to Mike Proulx of Hill Holliday, who quite literally wrote the book on Social TV. As Mike tells us in his most recent Spotlight on IMS, social media, the web and mobile devices have all invaded the TV landscape so completely that we need to re-think the way we consider TV itself. The name may be the same, but for marketers and consumers alike, TV is anything but the same-old traditional media it once was.
One of the driving forces of change in the TV landscape is Netflix, which is in many ways re-defining the ways that TV viewers take in their favorite shows. Netflix continues to roll out broadcast-quality shows like House of Cards and Arrested Development , and they do it in a way that seemed unthinkable just a few years ago; they’re releasing the episodes all at once. Netflix has embraced the brave new world of social TV and jumped in head-first, feeding their subscribers’ desire for binge viewing with no apologies.
By embracing social media and viewer feedback, allowing viewers to watch whenever and wherever they want, without the traditional advertising model getting in the way, all while still creating quality TV content, Netflix is in many ways at the forefront of TV as new media. In creating their original content, Netflix is able to accomplish many of the tenets of Mike’s WATCH model at a high level. But this new approach for Netflix doesn’t come without any risks. As The Atlantic points out, their original content approach is a significant financial gamble.
As Netflix creates original content, their own approach to TV will adjust over time as well. In a recent interview, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings even discussed how Netflix will begin to look more and more like a cable channel over time. But ultimately, the viewer and his or her devices of choice have the power to dictate in a large way the future of television and of video consumption in general.
Check out the rest of our Spotlight On IMS New York Series, featuring some of the brightest minds from the IMS Community, as we roll them out over the next few weeks leading up to the show.