The world of the TV set is dying even faster than we thought when we pub­lished our NextBrief [link] last March. Check out a new video sum­ma­tion of where TV is head­ing here [link]. With­out doubt, the rate of change in the TV world this year has been dizzy­ing, as I’ll detail after a quick reprise of our NextBrief process and find­ings.

Nine of our NextSen­sors used the Oppor­tu­ni­ty Can­vas [link] to cap­ture their obser­va­tions about the cur­rent state of tele­vi­sion and their fore­sense of how the TV indus­try would evolve. Over three months, all the data from the can­vas­es was col­lat­ed, analysed, and point­ed to five changes in tele­vi­sion that we sensed was high­ly prob­a­ble. We said that tele­vi­sion con­tent:

  • Would soon be avail­able for all iDe­vices and not just stan­dard tele­vi­sion sets
  • Would increas­ing­ly be decid­ed by the view­er, not by indus­try exec­u­tives
  • Would be viewed when the audi­ence want­ed to watch it and not lim­it­ed to a network’s sched­ule
  • Would be “app-cast­ed” — con­tent would be col­lect­ed via user pref­er­ence rather than a broad­cast chan­nel
  • Would be ful­ly social­ized, with view­ers able to com­ment on (even edit) what’s being watched instan­ta­neous­ly

This does not do jus­tice to the 12-page brief [link], but allow me nonethe­less to report on just some of the events we have been track­ing since the NextBrief was pub­lished that indi­cate that our find­ings appear to be well-val­i­dat­ed.

YouTube-Future of TV

Apple CEO Tim Cook (@tim_cook) [link] said in an inter­view that the tele­vi­sion world was “stuck in the ‘70s” and that Apple was well-aware of the grow­ing expec­ta­tions of its cus­tomer base for Apple to rev­o­lu­tionise the indus­try. Report­ed Chris Welch in The Verge (@Verge): “On TV, Cook said it’s an area Apple con­tin­ues to have ‘great inter­est in’ — a com­mon refrain — and reit­er­at­ed that from his company’s per­spec­tive, the entire indus­try has been left behind and lacked inno­va­tion for decades. ‘If we’re real­ly hon­est, it’s stuck back in the 70s,’ he said. ‘It almost feels like you’re rewind­ing the clock and you’ve entered a time cap­sule and you’re going back­wards.’”

Jacob Sie­gal (@JacobSiegal), how­ev­er, report­ed that Apple doesn’t have the lead in the race for lead­er­ship in the world of 21C TV, at least in a hard­ware sense. In a post on BGR.com [link], Sie­gal says (cit­ing a Wall Street Jour­nal report): “Accord­ing to the report, Google is cur­rent­ly devel­op­ing a dis­play which will be made up of small­er screens inter­con­nect­ed to form a seam­less image. By sim­ply snap­ping on or snap­ping off a few screens, the mod­u­lar dis­play could be cus­tomized to suit any giv­en sce­nario, from class­room to con­fer­ence room to liv­ing room.”

Kelsey McK­in­ney (@mckinneykelsey) post­ed on Vox (@voxdotcom) [link] that HBO (@HBO) was not wait­ing for Apple, Google or any­one else in regard to mak­ing 21C a real­i­ty, soon: “HBO is about to change the way we watch their shows. At the Time Warn­er Inc. Investor Meet­ing Wednes­day morn­ing, Richard Ple­pler, the chair­man and CEO of HBO, announced that the com­pa­ny will offer a stand-alone HBO stream­ing ser­vice in 2015. In short, that means that view­ers won’t need a cable sub­scrip­tion to pur­chase access to HBO.”

Cyn­thia Lit­tle­ton (@Variety_Cynthia) answered a key ques­tion in a Variety.com (@Variety) post [link]. The ques­tion? If 21C TV is hap­pen­ing soon­er rather than lat­er, is the tra­di­tion­al TV world quak­ing? Yes! Wrote Lit­tle­ton: “Steve Burke is not an exec­u­tive prone to exag­ger­a­tion. If any­thing, the NBCU­ni­ver­sal CEO is known for his under­stat­ed style in pub­lic set­tings. So when Burke made a blunt state­ment about rat­ings growth poten­tial for the Peacock’s domes­tic cable chan­nels dur­ing Com­cast Corp.’s Oct. 23 earn­ings call, heads turned on Wall Street and in media biz cir­cles.” The main rea­son for the head turn­ing seems to be that peo­ple in the TV indus­try are start­ing to see that a suc­cess­ful adver­tis­ing-based rev­enue mod­el is less and less real­is­tic — as report­ed in our NextBrief.

I could go on and on. Such as The New York Times sto­ry about Hol­ly­wood slow­ly accept­ing that its future lies in Sil­con Val­ley [link], or Glob­al Voic­es (@globalvoices) report that “Russia’s Largest Social Net­work Now More Pop­u­lar Among Young Peo­ple Than Any Web­site or TV Chan­nel” [link], or the TechCrunch report [link] that “TV’s Dis­rup­tion On Dis­play As Net­flix And Ama­zon Go Head-To-Head At Gold­en Globes”.

Per­haps it’s enough just to report that Adobe put for­ward this sta­tis­tic in an Octo­ber, 2014 post [link]: “Over­all, online TV con­sump­tion has increased 388% YoY, dri­ven by its flex­i­bil­i­ty in let­ting view­ers watch shows how­ev­er, when­ev­er, and wher­ev­er they want.”

Per­haps the real les­son of what’s hap­pen­ing in the TV world is not the many shifts inher­ent in the move to 21C TV. The real les­son may be in how fast things can hap­pen in any indus­try when the cus­tomer is mov­ing faster than the com­pa­nies that once prof­it­ed from his or her sup­port. Why should you care about What’s next? for your com­pa­ny? Sim­ply put, that’s where your cus­tomers are head­ed.

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