TV killed radio, so will digital video kill TV? Absolutely, say some market experts … and they are predicting a relatively quick death – by 2020.
As you may expect, YouTube is one of the standard bearers of this expectation. In a speech at the Consumer Electronics Show, YouTube chief business officer Robert Kyncl said, “Digital video will overtake television to become the single largest way people spend their free time before the end of this decade.”
Shifting trends and the rise in mobile viewing seem to favor Kyncl’s vision of the near future. YouTube made possible the rise of performers like Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande, and seems to be paving the way for up and coming rapper Tyler Cassidy (aka Froggy Fresh), and this changed the music industry every bit as dramatically as iTunes.
Likewise, digital content from streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon are becoming more popular. YouTube recently released a premium service that will begin offering unique content, and you can bet others will soon be making the switch.
From a PR perspective, TV needs to re-evaluate what it offers consumers, and how those consumers view those offerings. The days when choices were either cable or broadcast are long gone. Most people look at cable as yesterday’s tech and are hard at work trying to cut the cord and go completely digital streaming.
As more original programming begins to crowd the movie and TV programming already available on streaming services, expect a generation to come up who never even knew you could watch something other than streaming video. They will look at cable the same way millennial’s think about rabbit ears. By then, of course, we will be having this conversation about virtual reality.
So, what can cable do to keep up?
First, they need to capture and hold their current audience. There are two entire generations out there who don’t yet stream anything. And they watch a lot of TV. Keeping them hooked with a solid mix of good new programming as well as the right amount of nostalgia should protect that market block for the near future.
Now TV needs to go after the folks on the fence. Currently, many younger households who would cut the cord don’t for one reason: live sports. TVs top cash cow is also its current saving grace. As long as live sports – particularly college football – remain only available with a cable subscription, TV will be a force to reckon with. But, if the streaming services can do with ESPN and Fox what they did with HBO, TV will be in serious trouble.
This might be the year streaming reaches critical mass. Will be interesting to watch.