Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Cable Network Executives: Think Outside the TV

In a time when streaming has become increasingly popular, HBO has joined other companies, like Netflix and is going to offer a standalone streaming service for non-cable subscribers. In this article from Salon.com, Ben Branstetter discusses how the premium cable channel faces challenges from Netflix in competing for millennial audiences. A comScore study released concurrently with HBO’s announcement shows Netflix leading in premium digital content, with Amazon and Hulu lagging behind. Netflix especially has the lead among millennials, half of whom subscribe to some form of online streaming.

Image Source: Appleinsider.com

With every device becoming our “television”, television networks have more options in on how they distribute their content and what platforms they use. This New Yorker article titled Outside the Box discusses how television is changing and where the industry is headed.

After reviewing these two articles, here are three action items I recommend you consider:    

Distribute content across all Digital and mobile platforms to allow viewers choice in how and when they watch “television” programming: Expand offerings that reach across all channels. Millennials make up half of subscribers of online streaming and are the first generation of viewers who may not have grown up with traditional television viewing habits.  As the New Yorker article pointed out, “the linear TV experience, with it’s programs offered at set times, is ripe for replacement.” Viewers, particularly Millennials, binge watch and consume programming on their own time. This trend will only continue and become the norm in the future.

Expand Children’s Television Programming on Mobile and Digital: More children are consuming content through mobile devices than ever before.  Viacom’s Nickelodeon is a good example of a cable network adapting to the TV revolution that is underway. “Welcome to The Wayne” is the network’s first original cartoon series that was created for digital and mobile channels, including the Nick app.

Continue to create original, drama and comedy series that are distributed across both traditional and digital channels: It’s important to build original programming to attract new audiences and keep existing customers engaged. Successful cable networks, such as AMC, are increasing viewership by creating high-quality, original programming and moving away from unscripted television. Demand for good television shows is higher than ever; however, cable networks need to ensure these programs are reaching audiences across platforms.

Danielle Pizmoht is a corporate communications professional and writer who loves comedy and film. She is pursuing a master’s degree in Integrated Marketing Communications at Northwestern University’s Medill School. Connect with her on Twitter @DaniellePizmoht


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