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Three Takeaways from Mary Meeker’s Internet Trends for the TV Industry

Mary Meeker’s much-awaited Internet Trends 2015 report was released this week at the Re/code Code Conference. Each year, Meeker presents a comprehensive view of the internet that serves to highlight growth across a number of business segments.

While the TV industry is in the early phases of its own revolution, and we are just starting to see the fruits of this year’s Newfronts and Upfronts, we can’t ignore where the future of this industry really lies.

1. “Vertical Viewing” takes up nearly a third of the video market

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Say what you will about vertical viewing (literally watching a video in portrait as opposed to landscape mode) but it’s here to stay. Our phones are oriented vertically and the screens are getting larger. Tablets are getting resized daily, and more people than ever before are looking at video vertically.

Advertisers are taking note too, with Meeker’s prominent call-out of the high completion rates for Snapchat’s ad campaign for the Universal movie Ouija. Remember that was only six months ago, a drop in the bucket when compared to the hundred years or so we’ve been serving film and video content to consumers in a horizontal format.

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Vertical viewing is not a problem, it’s an opportunity.

Take note of the $25B opportunity in the US. Mobile aka Vertical Screens aka Portrait Mode = PROFIT MODE. As Meeker points out, today the average adult is spending 51% of their time per day with digital media on MOBILE devices. As “attention” becomes the hottest commodity in the market, where do we expect more ad dollars to flow?

While not every broadcaster is going to reformat every show for every size, the expansion of storytelling platforms integrating vertical and square video (Snapchat, Vine, Instagram Video, Periscope, Meerkat) creates opportunities to reach users in the places they already are, in an environment where they’re more likely to favorably respond.

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Safe bet? Invest in flippable 16:9 4K Camera mounts that pivot from Portrait to Landscape mount

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2. Messaging platforms present new opportunities and challenges to market traditional “TV” content

More and more people are using messaging platforms to engage with one another, meaning they’re spending less time on social media platforms. TV networks will need to rejigger their focus (and budgets) in order to reach them.

Messaging apps aren’t just for plain old text messages. They’re rich playgrounds offering a multitude of content experiences and ways to engage. Group messaging, games, video chat, video attachments, video sharing… To quote Marc Zuckerberg, “We have been building Messenger into a service to express beyond text.” 

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One way for networks to play in this space is to build #CreatedWith assets around a show or community. Some good examples of this are the custom emoji keyboards done by NBC and Comedy Central for SNL and Broad City.

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Another thing to consider here is that during the F8 conference, Facebook Messenger announced it was launching 26 “apps” into beta. What if a few of those apps were actually OTT video apps and Facebook decided to spread this feature out across it’s full arsenal of messaging apps? That would be one powerful video network .

3. The Creators Revolution is here

It took the global marketplace more than 20,000 years to reach one billion consumer participants.

It only took eight years for both Facebook and YouTube to get a billion users exchanging content in their social marketplace.

These social sites helped popularize the idea of the consumer as creator, the notion that anyone could create content so long as they had something compelling to say.

That notion is fully on display at Twitch, where users spend 11 billion minutes per month watching other people play video games.

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The popularity of Twitch and similar services is further evidence of the extent to which content production is being democratized in ways that the industry has never seen before. The power lies with an audience that is passionate about a new generation of creators who are accessible, personal and real. This is what commands the attention of today’s consumer. This is the future of our industry.

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