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Interesting Times Indeed: TV[R]EV’s Year-End Wrap-Up

“May you live in interesting times” is a famous Chinese curse, but for those of us working in the television industry, it’s also a blessing. Change has been needed for so long and to see the powers that be finally starting to bend, change and/or adapt has been pretty heartening.

Looking back over TV(R)EV’s stories this year, we can see several patterns emerging on just how the industry is changing and who the winners and losers are going to be.

We’ll start our tour with the most pressing issue seemingly facing the television industry, cord cutting.  Or is it? In If You Can’t Beat ‘Em Join ‘Em: Why Cord Cutting Has Ceased To Be A Threat, we look at how recent changes and the MVPDs decision to start reselling streaming services like Netflix, may make cord cutting a non-issue. Viewers abandoning pay-TV (or not) was also the topic of Apple’s Original Content Play: Desperate Times Call For Desperate Measures.

TV and advertising go together like peanut butter and jelly and the changes in the industry at large have lead to changes in the way TV advertising is bought, sold, viewed and measurer. In Audience Parting. Because Day Parting Is So 1996, we looked at how addressable advertising is changing TV’s entire value proposition, and in It’s Time For The Golden Age of Measurement and Totaling It Up: Will Nielsen Have An Audience For TAM Or Is It Too Little Too Late? we looked at the problems with and potential solutions for, TV’s often arcane measurement systems, especially in terms of new platforms like native advertising and branded content.

Networks themselves are some of TV’s biggest advertisers, and the new and exciting ways that’s happening were the subject of two in-depth pieces, USA Hacks Into Netflix’s Formula With Mr. Robot and Sponsortunities Available: Contact Colbert @ The Late Show For Info.

The changing relationship between social media and television is something we examined in our Facebook Anthology, where we looked at the shifting roles of Facebook and Twitter and why Facebook was set to dominate this new era we dubbed Social TV 2.0 (possibly to the point of taking on the MVPDS). Twitter, once TV’s golden child, is now struggling, and in Twitter Is A Broadcast Network, Not A Social Network. Deal With It we offered some possible solutions to their current problems.

Facebook and Twitter weren’t the only social platforms on our radar, however. Newcomers like Gen Z favorite Snapchat and live streaming platforms like Periscope were also changing the TV landscape, something we looked at in two pieces, Does Snapchat Have A Viewability Problem? and The Future of Periscope is Always-On, Always-Live Programming.

Sports programming got a lot of headlines as fees for networks like ESPN came under fire along with the high prices being paid for sports broadcast rights. As one of the two “must be seen live” genres (along with news), sports is a unique beast, something we explored in The Heads of ESPN, NBC, CBS, and Fox Sports Walk Into a Bar…

Finally, virtual reality may or may not be ready for prime time, but it’s definitely looming, as various media brands are trying it out in an attempt to stay ahead of the herd. We looked at the New York Times’ recent effort in Cardboard, My Mom and Dad: A VR Experiment, the first of several pieces we’ll be devoting to this medium.

So there you have it: cord cutting’s fading, advertising changing, Facebook’s ascendant, sports are in flux, and new technologies from live streaming to virtual reality are starting to alter the landscape.

Interesting times indeed.