“The End is Near” for Traditional Models of TV Networks and Cable Providers



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Television as we know it will soon be no longer. The notion of tuning in to a TV network will be a distant memory, and the proverbial cord will someday be forever cut. These changes will disrupt the marketing industry in ways that the onset of the Internet itself didn’t achieve, and the phrase “We live in exciting times” is an understatement to say the least.

At #SMWNYC, Crowdtap’s CEO, Matt Britton, explained the future of television and content consumption, and how cable networks will likely be replaced by a combination of individual content creator channels, such as celebrities and digital influencers, highly-popular shows with their own application, and live sports programming.

TV and digital streaming is more and more fragmented

In the past year or so, and as recent as this month, new options for streaming content enter the digital ecosystem. CNN just launched a streaming service, YouTube TV just became a reality, NCAA March Madness goes completely digital, DirecTV now offers HBO as a perk, and the list seems to go on from one cable network to the next, extending all the way to cell phone companies, film studios, social media influencers, multi-channel networks, traditional media companies, and everyone in-between.

If content models change, so too do devices and distributors

Matt believes the end is near for television broadcast and media companies that solely “aggregate eyeballs” and lump together a variety of programming. Since he expects these models to drastically change, the way we consume content in our homes and on-the-go will change as well. For example, fewer people will own cable boxes in the near future, which means most of us will consume content through devices such as Apple TV, Chromecast, and Roku. As more of these devices enter our homes, it also changes the way brands and advertisers are selling their products.

Joe’s Pizza in Anytown, USA will compete with Papa John’s during Super Bowl broadcasts

In November of last year, Facebook announced its plans to sell TV ads through devices such as Apple TV and Roku. The plan? Facebook’s “Audience Network” will deliver ads to these “over the top” video apps in the same way it delivers ads to publishers’ apps and websites outside of Facebook across desktop browsers and mobile devices. This means that Joe’s Pizza down the street from you can be hyper-targeted with its TV ads just like it is on Facebook. Further, Joe’s Pizza can finally compete with national advertisers that previously used it’s deep pockets to target an incredibly wide, but not-so-accurate range of individuals watching television.

Why this is important for marketers

If this “programmatic television advertising” becomes our reality, marketers must be prepared to enter the wild west of television just like they entered the world of paid social media. The same principles of targeting, demographics, psychographics, lookalike audiences, and other practices used for Facebook and other major platforms will become even more important.

Even though this reality is likely several years away, marketers should be prepared for some more serious changes going down in the TV, digital streaming, and even influencer marketing landscape. Whether influencers replace networks themselves, or cross-over into the world in completely new ways, the lines are blurring much more and much faster than many of us anticipated, and if you want to think like Matt Britton, you better skate to where the puck is heading, and not where it already is.

Further analysis and commentary from Matt’s #SMWNYC talk

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