The Truth

Every day it seems like another TV show is trending—co-workers chattering about the latest season finale, or a new true crime documentary. This evolving landscape of TV & Movies driven by ‘Cord-Cutting’ is forcing long-standing industries to evolve alongside viewership consumption habits. People have more access and more options. As a result, consumption and delivery are changing, offering opportunities for media companies to begin producing their own content to differentiate themselves, without being held back by cable regulation in the now-saturated online streaming marketplace. As consumers continue to engage with multiple platforms, interesting opportunities emerge – both for how to incorporate advertising and how to identify new ways to continually offer value in this new wave of TV & Movies.

The Connection

Content on the go: devices expand consumption opportunities

  • By carrying multiple devices and expecting access to their content anywhere, consumers are more connected than ever, assuming a seamless transition of their content from device to device, location to location.
  • This instant & constant access enables behaviors such as binge-watching, which grew 3.5x since October 2015 when mobile carriers introduced unlimited streaming plans.
  • Consumers are also utilizing multiple devices at once, with 84% of smartphone and tablet users turning to their devices while they are watching TV.
  • As program consumption is beginning to take up more of our time and our commutes, brands have an opportunity to shape the future of content creation through increased interaction — Black Mirror Bandersnatch as just one example.

HBO? Hulu? Netflix? New services fragmenting consumption

  • Want to watch Stranger Things? Netflix. How about Marvelous Mrs. Maisel? Amazon Prime Video. That last season of Game of Thrones that even your grandmother is talking about? HBO.
  • With over 100 streaming channels and services in market now, and 10 more in the works for 2019, one might think “So many choices. How to choose just one?” You’re in good company: 1 in 4 Americans subscribe to two or more streaming services, while 69% of all U.S. households have a subscription video-on-demand service.
  • Netflix is still the leader, adding 24.7 million subscribers in 2018, which is almost as many as HBO – over the course of 40 years. And in 2018, the number of cord cutters reached 33 million in U.S. (+33% increase YoY).

Here today, gone tomorrow: heavy consumption has streaming platforms generating a constant flow of fresh content

  • Trends come and go, and TV trends are no different. With streaming services that release full seasons at once, binging and consuming content quickly is becoming much easier; therefore, networks constantly pump out new original series to keep users engaged through multiple media platforms (i.e. social networks).
  • When looking at search trends of 4 popular shows, demand declines nearly -50% within one week of peak demand, demonstrating how quickly consumers churn through new content, giving producers many opportunities to promote their new shows.
  • Based on a study conducted by FX looking at 465 scripted originals, streaming platforms made up 34% of the group, overtaking both cable (basic & paid) as well as broadcast for the first time. The number of shows that were produced by streaming providers also increased 36% YoY (117 shows in 2017 vs 160 in 2018).

Are awards shows & network television shows a thing of the past?

  • Even in this evolving landscape of new content, various streaming platforms and connected environments, awards shows and beloved network sitcoms still have significant power to drive meaningful viewership, as the public’s devotion to culturally relevant content and nostalgia remains prevalent.
  • While interest did fluctuate from year to year, when comparing this past year to 10 years prior, interest in the Emmys increased 60% and the Golden Globes saw a +7% uptick in search demand.
  • Interestingly, the top 10 shows that garnered the most views on Netflix in 2018 were in fact not original content but instead initially ran as network television shows (i.e. The office, Friends, Parks & Rec, Grey’s Anatomy, New Girl, Supernatural to name a few)

The Wonder

This changing landscape of binge-watching and fragmented consumption is forcing streaming platforms to invest heavily in content creation and to continue to push out new and engaging shows. As we continue to get our entertainment from these platforms, these companies are able to collect more and more individualized data to help decide which genres of shows to produce (foreign films, true crime, etc). Additionally, the amount of personalized data collected also lends itself to hyper-focused advertising within the specific streaming platforms. Roku, Hulu and Amazon are among some of the services that have begun to allow ads that leverage their immense array of data. Brands should look to capitalize on peak moments through custom ads or cross device syncing, zeroing in on opportunities for viewers to consume the most relevant and relatable content of the moment.


Read more insights from Digitas here.

Author: Pavel Dziabkin, Senior Analyst, Search Marketing, Digitas