The "Journey" is the Message at VideoSchmooze

The great and unprecedented change occurring in the media industry today is taking many twists and turns. Many of the panelists at the recent VideoSchmooze spoke of the consumer and the content journey as it wends through various platforms and takes on different forms and formats. Some described it as a "journey" of discovery. 

Making sense of these journeys is the key to success for media companies and requires astute strategists that cull through big datasets for insights. What we accept as common wisdom may not be true at all. We need to differentiate historically accepted shibboleths from the current realities.  Here are some trends identified at the VideoSchmooze and what they really mean for the future of the business.

VideoSchmooze is an annual event hosted by VideoNuze (, an online publication that provides daily industry analysis and curated news for industry thought leaders. President and founder Will Richmond focuses his firm on online and mobile-delivered video.

Help the Consumer Discover Content but Expect Upheaval
According to Dounia Turrill, Nielsen's SVP of Client Insights, those companies that focus on positive consumer experiences in discovering content will succeed. "There is now an ease of use and accessibility of devices to provide content that is seamless and provide the viewer with a good experience.” And while technology is driving the increasing number of content choices for viewers, this can upend the other industry sectors. Turrill noted, “SVOD has a long term impact on syndication.”

Consumer Behavior Does Not Necessarily Pull Industry Trends. It Could Be Industry Push.
Bruce Leichtman, President and Principal Analyst of Leichtman Research Group, spoke of the losses and gains in the pay TV industry. “The industry”, he said, “is controlled primarily of the big players where the top 13 providers control 95% of the market.” These big players impact industry trends. "The industry has a seasonality to it – subscriptions are up in the first quarter and down in the second every year."  But what causes these trends? According to Leichtman, it is not consumer holiday shopping, for example. "Consumer adoption has nothing to do with consumers. Subscriptions take off because of industry push not because of consumer pull."

We Talk a Brave Game but Dark Clouds Are Gathering
Leichtman rattled off a series of findings, “Cable is slowing losses though year to year. Share shift is happening. Telcos added 1.1 million. Satcom gaining too. Empirical data says major providers lost 0.1% of industry. The industry is saturated. Penetration is decreasing. The industry started to decline in the digital transition. 2011. All the housing growth in last ten years is renting.” What all of this means is that there is little actual current growth. It is more shifting loyalties where one type of MVPD gains at the expense of another. And since homeownership for the future generations is deferred, future growth is not assured. 

But we have the wherewithal to forge a great future for television --

Personalization is Here and Enhances Viewing Experience
The viewer experience continues to improve. Technology is enabling companies to more easily personalize content for their customers. This is especially evident in sports programming as Clark Pierce, SVP of Mobile and Advanced Platforms for Fox Sports explained, “We can get that granular - seeing one team play on your television on one side of the street and see another game on the television on the other side of the street.” Even Big Data is being used more strategically and individually to improve and sustain viewer satisfaction. Chris Ambrozic, Senior Director of Products, Digitalsmiths (a Tivo subsidiary), said, “We need to get the heartbeat of a subscriber with second by second data and what motivates and drives their satisfaction. With the Pay TV industry, the heartbeat of subscriber correlates with success. “When you make the viewing experience more enjoyable and make it easier to pay for it, piracy should go down. Greg Clayman, General Manager of Audience Networks at Vimeo, believes that “the easier you make it to purchase than it is to pirate, the more people will buy content and not try to find it for free.”

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