We obviously hit a nerve. The strong response to the release of our first NextBrief [link] — examining the future of television in 14 quick-read pages — indicates, to us, that many people are ready for a shake-up in the TV world.
Via @nextsensing and LinkedIn [link], we have been trying to demonstrate that the views of the nine NextSensors behind our NextBrief were very much in alignment with other avant garde thinkers on the subject.
In case you may have missed some of those thinkers of whom we have made special note, here are three of the best.
Lauren Zalaznick has held several senior positions in the television world and is profiled on LinkedIn as a “Media, Digital, Marketing, TV & Film Professional”. Given her credentials, the true-or-false test she provided [link] was most enlightening. Yet, despite any hope that those who want traditional TV to stay that way, her closing comments bear repeating here:
My prognosis for “my” industry? It’s been outrageously, stubbornly healthy over the course of its lifetime to date. The future? Maybe we’ve gotten run down. We haven’t been taking care of ourselves the way we should. We’re just nursing a slight cough, and tomorrow hopefully we’ll decide to get some innovative inoculations against future viruses. We do need a shot in the arm, that’s for sure. We need to test some new models of production and distribution in a host of ways. We need to listen to our consumers and learn from them how, where, and why they value our content.
[Thanks, again, @awallenstein, for helping us find that link.]
Kelly Day @itskellyday is the CEO of BLIP.tv [link], and here, too, is someone who speaks about the world of television with the benefit of significant experience. Thanks to @Mediabistro, we have access to some of her insights [link] about what’s really changing in the world of television. For example, most of us likely believe that the content for the TV world is generated in those few epicentres around the world where “the big decisions” are made — Hollywood and the like. Yet, allow me to present an abbreviated but absolutely fascinating excerpt from mediabistro’s interview:
Blip works with roughly 7,000 content creators to produce programming for 16 different channel categories. How are these partnerships set up?
We basically have a couple of different ways that we work with content creators. Probably the most common way is that they just come to our website; they apply. We have a pretty simple application process, and we have a human being actually watch your video and look at your application. We review the content; we rate it. And a lot of this — we’re not very apologetic about saying it — is kind of subjective. We’re looking for quality, good storytelling with character development. We’re looking for episodic content, because that is what we focus on. We’re looking for production values, content that is often TV-14 and above, because advertising is the primary way that we support ourselves, so TV-14 tends to be a little more brand safe. Once a content creator is accepted, they can go ahead and start uploading, and then we share the revenue with them 50-50.
More recently, we have done some other types of deals and created some other types of relationships with content creators….
More and more, we are taking bets on funding original content. Some of it is with a brand on board; some of it we are deficit funding, very selectively. But the message, I think, is we’re really flexible. We don’t have a boiler-plate way we work with content creators. We like to find the very best types of content. We work hard to curate it and have a point of view about it. And depending on the nature of the show, depending on who the content creators are, we put the specific deal together.
In our NextBrief, we posited the belief that — via TV controlled more by apps than by broadcast behemoths — more and more people would become involved in creating television. Blip.tv is a prime example of just one next-gen TV player who is actively looking for a wide range of individuals who want to produce TV programmes, not just watch them.
Virtually the entire Nextsensing team has been probing the TV industry as a way to demonstrate that many firms and organisations will be facing some daunting challenges in the years ahead if they refuse to let go of the status quo. It’s been a wonderful exercise for us, but I find — despite the thousands of words and hundreds of posts and tens of videos that I have viewed in the past few weeks — that the ending of a most-insightful post by Benedict Evans @BenedictEvans, of Andreessen Horowitz, [link] stands out.
Benedict first states that defining the future of television with any precision is hard to do, because there are so many issues involved. He then provides illustrations and stats from the US and European TV markets. In the middle of his post, he begins to discuss the “user experience problem”, noting, for example, that “It seems pretty clear we’re in a ‘pre-iPod’ phase at the moment. That is, all of the technology is in place, more or less, but no-one has quite managed to package it up in the right way to give the right user experience.”
Yet his closing comments have not left my mind since I first read them. They come in the section with this subhead: How do people really want to watch?
Ah, the power of a great question! Doesn’t that frame the challenge for each and every person involved in any way with the TV world? Hardware makers, software designers, programmers, marketers, distributors — you name it — all will have to be on top of the answer to that question in order to survive and thrive. Benedict expands on the question in this way: “The really big question here is how TV viewing would change if you did move from the current model of TV as a largely undirected, passive experience, to one that required (/’allowed’) you to make choices.” Precisely right and very well-stated.
If you have not read our own report on this fascinating topic [link], I invite you again to do so. But be sure that you don’t miss the larger message I want to convey: There’s a powerfully great question for every industry out there. Do you know what that question is for your enterprise? Better still, do you know how to begin to answer it?