Earlier this week, I read an interesting piece by Jeremy Toeman on TechCrunch. In this article, Toeman goes over some of the most hyped buzzwords of 2012. Clearly, “social TV” is there along with “voice gestures”, “TV apps” and “cord cutters”. While I have found some of his ideas debatable, I definitely agree that the future of TV does NOT mean the death of the TV industry as we know it. The industry will evolve but it is hard to see how a $500 billion business will just drop dead in the face of gaming consoles and cheap broadband. As Toeman mentions, traditional TV players were quick to adjust to disruptive technologies like VCRs, DVDs and even long form streaming so we should not expect them to go bankrupt so quickly.
Judging by what we heard from some of the speakers at our recent Kaltura Connect conference, we are more likely to see a new ecosystem that combines TVs, PCs, smartphones, tablets and gaming consoles. Click below to see why Brian Lisi from Qello, believes we will see major changes in 2 years.
Lisi’s vision is one step closer to a new TV ecosystem in which all of our screens (at home, in the car, in a random hotel room, etc.) will be synced to offer a personalized experience of TV shows, movies, games and apps regardless of one’s location. In this new world, the TV industry will include players like ABC, NBC, FOX along with Netflix, hulu, Microsoft and others. For some consumers, this world is very close. If you stream TV via your gaming console, or purchase TV shows online, or if you have ever used UltraViolet – you are almost there. One way to significantly accelerate this process is getting advertisers to spend more of their big $$$ online. CNET is one example of a company that has been trying to offer new ways to advertise on the web. Justin Eckhouse, Video Product Manager at CBSi/Cnet, said in Connect that it is all about educating Madison Avenue.
Some might read/watch this and feel they have heard much of it before (and they probably have, if they have been following any tech blog for more than a week). But this doesn’t mean the times aren’t changing. They are. Today, for example, hulu, AOL, Yahoo, Google, Microsoft and others will kickoff the first Digitas NewFronts. Over two weeks, these emerging TV players will gather leading brands and offer them to buy ad time/words/banners around their new original shows. Following these presentations, the major TV broadcasters will have the traditional upfronts, which is basically the same process. However, the $ figures in discussion are quite different.
While online video ad spend is projected to reach $3 billion this year, TV advertising still accounts for about 20 times that number – $60.7 billion.
Don’t let the numbers confuse you – the shift is real – and the new upfronts is a sign of that. Eventually, as original digital content and distributive technologies become ubiquitous – the advertising budgets will change. As a result, the ecosystem will support a vast array of companies; buzzwords like “digital”, “cord cutters” and “disruptive” will mean very little and words like “TV providers” and “content providers” will dominate our professional discourse.