Too Much Television and 5 other 2015 Video Highlights

Untitled designIn the final days of 2015, let’s have look back at some of the key highlights from the world of streaming and over-the-top-video.

1. Too Much TV?   It’s an odd thing for a network executive to say, but John Landgraf, CEO of FX, went on record saying there’s “simply too much television“. With over 400 scripted dramas in production during the year, there’s an overwhelming volume of content for viewers to choose from, and cutting through is challenge for producers. Landgraf’s point was that new business and distribution models are needed as the industry evolves. Did we reach Peak Television in 2015?

2. Mobile Operators as Media Outlets Millennials who don’t watch TV, yet spend their days glued to screens, are increasingly elusive for programmers and advertisers. Are the mobile networks in the best position to capture these fickle young audiences? Verizon’s Go90 is one example of the global trend of operators launching targeted mobile-only services. Verizon is fine-tuning the business model, and a “sponsored data” version is mooted for Q1. AT&T also has a new service for Millennials in the works, which will feature original content produced with Peter Chernin’s Otter Group.

3. Snapchat Discover and the rise of Social Video With much fanfare (and CPMs to match), Snapchat launched their Discover service, an aggregation of editorial video from providers like CNN, ESPN and Vice. I’ve always liked the idea of Snapchat as a kind of Millennial cable company, bundling “channels” of content with a 24-hour lifespan. We’ll see how that goes, but one of the most interesting ideas has been publishing original content, created as “native” mobile video. Native is still in its infancy, but one that will see huge growth as mobile-first video services gain traction.

4. The media stock meltdown Media stocks had a volatile year, especially since August when the sector saw a sudden sell-off. Concern the old business models unbundling, high fixed costs and fickle audiences have seen declines in the major studios and networks. Disney’s ESPN lost 3 million subscribers during the year, with total subs back to where they were 10 years ago. It will be interesting to see how these iconic businesses restructure and reposition their offerings in the coming year.

5. Direct to your device, all the OTT you can eat It’s no surprise that 2015 saw a number of new direct OTT services come to market. I count SeeSoCuriosityStream, Showtime OTT, HBO Now, Stan, Presto, Sling TV, ViuTV among dozens of new OTT initiatives globally. Millions have been invested in securing rights and creating wonderful new UXs for multiple devices platforms. The OTT story of 2016 will be how these services gain traction, who survives and who doesn’t.

6. Pushing Video  Forward-thinking entertainment/sports companies like CW’s Seed and the New York Rangers have started pushing video to their mobile users, via pre-loaded notifications. In a world with hundreds of video apps, having content predictively find audiences is an important step in differentiating mobile VOD services. Expect to see more entertainment brands adopting Push Video in 2016.

That’s all from me for 2015. Thanks to all for your support. I hope you all have a productive, safe and successful year head. Let’s keep creating the future of streaming video together in 2016!