Leading up to and since my last post, TV Reinvented, I regularly see news about TV game changers and how the TV game is changing. So much so, I'd like to begin a regular series of posts that highlight news around the U.S. (and globe) of the TV and film industry being reinvented as a result of paradigm shifts in consumer behavior and changes in the way video programming is being delivered to consumers. Of course, I'll have particular focus on "over-the-top" (OTT) providers and content. Undoubtedly, changes are happening very quickly, so I believe MVPDs and digital media companies (broadcasters, networks, producers, etc. who are becoming MVPDs in their own right) might benefit from a regular summary of what's happening in this area, maybe once or twice a month. So I'll provide a series of "TV Reinvented" posts here, highlighting "game changers" and "how the game is changing", as long as I see a continued stream of relevant news and events.
No better time than the present...
How the Game is Changing: Cox is targeting "cord cutters" with OTT-TV service being tested in Southern Cal.
Looks like Cox Communications is launcing a beta OTT service, called flareWatch, in Orange County. It's a broadband-only TV service of 97 channels and 30 hours of cloud DVR service for $34.99 per month. This channel lineup looks to be targeting cord-cutters, since it includes ESPN, Disney, CNN, CNBC, and many other top cable channels. With flareWatch, Cox certainly looks like an incumbent provider adapting to the changing TV game. As TDG points out, FlareWatch might also become a game changer if Cox is flirting with a "forbidden fruit", preparing an online-only service to deliver outside of its own territory and competing with other MVPDs.
Game Changer: Crackle finds a hit series with Comedians in Cars getting Coffee.
Crackle, owned by Sony Pictures, has been a bit of an "also ran" behind Netflix and Hulu. But recently their traffic has doubled in large part to a Jerry Seinfeld series played on Crackle, "Comedians in Cars getting Coffee". As Eric Berger, exec vp of digital networksat Sony Pictures Television stated in an interview posted by AdWeek, Sony views Crackle as a global next-gen network for premium long form content. He compares Crackle to AMC and FX, yet Crackle is an OTT-only network. I certainly would consider Sony a game changer, if they continue to come up with high quality programming exclusive to their OTT network, Crackle. If you click on the link to the AdWeek article, and haven't seen Seinfeld's series yet, there is one there to watch there, definitely worth a few minutes of your "TV" time!!
Can't forget about Netflix - Game Changer!
Wall Street Journal did an article this week entitled "How Netflix Is Shaking Up Hollywood", describing multiple examples of Netflix buying up exclusive programming rights for its OTT service. I've talked about "House of Cards" and "The Killing", but apparently Netflix is not slowing down....now to the point that Hollywood is changing the way it looks at Netflix.
Series like "House of Cards" and "The Killing" have story arcs, which seems to be a focus of Netflix's buying spree. Some new examples of Netflix licensing are PBS's "Super Why" and "Orange is the New Black", debuting this week. Hollywood used to think of story arcs as riskier bets due to future syndication limitations. Netflix is changing that, because "binge" consumption lends itself to story arcs and catching up via OTT on-demand, subscription service model. Studios are actually talking about changing production models based on the "Netflix" effect. Talk about a TV game changer! :-)
So, I hope you find this summary of TV "game changers" and "how the game is changing" useful, especially if you're a broadcaster, content producer/owner or MVPD. I'll keep posting and hope to hear from you.
That's how I see it. What are your thoughts?
Paul D Hamm