KEY POINTS

  • Television continues to be a lucrative industry, but viewing habits are changing dramatically. Increased competition from digital services like Netflix and Hulu as well as new hardware to access content are shifting consumers' attention away from legacy TV programming.
  • Across the board, the numbers for traditional TV are bad. US adults are watching traditional TV on average 18 minutes fewer per day versus two years ago, a drop of 6%, according to Nielsen. In keeping with this, cable subscriptions are down, and TV ad revenue is stagnant.
  • People are consuming more media content than ever before, but how they're doing so is changing. Half of US TV households now subscribe to SVOD services, like Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu, and viewing of original digital video content is on the rise. In addition, viewing is moving to internet-connected TVs and mobile devices.
  • Legacy TV companies are finally recognizing these monumental shifts and beginning to pivot their business models to keep pace with the changes.
    • They are launching branded apps and sites to move their programming beyond the TV glass.
    • They're distributing on social platforms to reach massive, young audiences on Snapchat and Facebook.
    • And they're forming partnerships with digital-first media brands to create new content that can extend legacy networks' reach.
    • In addition, cable, satellite, and telco companies have created skinny-bundle packages aimed at enticing cord-cutters to pay for cheaper, slimmed-down cable subscriptions.
  • The TV ad industry is also taking a cue from digital.
    • Programmatic TV ad buying especially is gaining traction: It represented just 4% (or $2.5 billion) of US TV ad budgets in 2015 but is expected to grow to 17% ($10 billion) by 2019, according to recent research from Magna Global.
    • Networks are also developing branded TV content, similar to publishers' push into sponsored content. TV networks are hoping branded content will reduce ad loads and create less intrusive, more effective TV ads.
  • Finally, the measurement industry is beginning to more effectively measure audiences across screens and platforms. Nielsen is rolling out its Total Audience Measurement product, which combines audiences across linear and digital platforms in a single metric. 

Introduction

Over the last few years, there’s been much talk about the “death of TV.” However, television is not dying so much as it's evolving: extending beyond the living room screen — and especially onto mobile screens — and broadening to include programming [...]