Vision 2024: How TV Triumphs in the Next Media Evolution
As the world gears down for the holidays, I too am powering off for my annual week of digital detox. Yet, as I unwind, one question is persisting in my mind: What if the TV industry not only survives the next 12 months but thrives in the media revolution ahead?
At first glance, this might seem a tale of David(s) versus Goliath(s), pitching the traditional TV industry against the towering might of big tech. But this isn't a zero-sum game. The reality is more nuanced, suggesting a future where entities will not only coexist but collaborate for mutual success. No single player, not even the tech giants, can monopolize media and entertainment when it includes such vast components as intellectual property creation, bundling and distribution, as well as data capture, processing, and advertising.
The bear case paints a grim picture: TV fumbles the streaming play, big tech is invincible, the youth are lost to the bite-sized distractions of social media, and AI's benefits are hoarded by the usual suspects.
But let's entertain the bull case for a moment.
As someone with decades left in my career, charged with leading a team brimming with potential, I remain steadfast in my belief in TV's vibrant future despite the bears.
Before trying to land the plane with next year’s predictions, let’s first fast forward 10 years.
TV in the 2030’s
In the future TV landscape, premium offerings will not be defined by their duration but rather by their curation. This means both short-form social videos and long-form scripted entertainment must be crafted with intention to survive. Observing my own six-year-old's equally keen interest in both short-form clips on YouTube as well as his love for family-friendly shows on Netflix, Paramount+, and Disney+, underscores the need for diverse content that caters to different contexts and viewing preferences, along with safe and integrated advertising.
Intellectual property will remain the cornerstone of the entertainment sector, yet the integration of AI into the creative process won't diminish the human touch; it will enhance and augment it … when deployed with intentionality. Forward-thinking content companies will distinguish themselves by providing creators and fans with domain-specific AI tools to craft and monetize compelling stories through multiple channels, from subscriptions to advertising.
As consumption devices evolve, so too must distribution strategies. The key to success lies in delivering exceptional viewer experiences economically by leveraging smart bundling that prioritizes user privacy and convenience.
While the future heralds many changes, the desire for choice—balanced against the threat of choice overload—will persist as content continues to be predominantly consumed at home, delivered through the internet, and watched on the big screen (mostly) in the home.
For TV to win, it must embrace its core strengths: exceptional content, broad distribution, immersive experiences, and unmatched value. This isn't just feasible; it's already happening among the pioneers of the industry. TV's history of bundling, its unparalleled talent for storytelling, and its demonstrated commitment to data privacy have set it apart. Companies like Blockgraph and OpenAP (among others) are also a testament to the industry's innovative and collaborative spirit, leading the charge in data collaboration and audience-based buying respectively.
So now let’s turn to 2024. 2024 won't be the finale where everything clicks into place just yet. Instead, it will be a year of laying down the building blocks for a prosperous future. Here are a few key highlights of what to expect:
- Bundling 2.0: The next wave of bundling transcends mere content packaging and 2024 will be the year this begins to come into focus. While the end result of bundling will be a harmonious fusion of data analytics, subscription models, and streamlined advertising across platforms – 2024 will see a few new bundle experiments come to fruition. Anticipate a handful of meaningful partnerships that will redefine the value proposition for media consumption across distribution, connectivity, data, premium video services, and advertising rights.
- The Data Quality Renaissance: The TV community should be commended for calling attention to the need to define what constitutes professional-grade premium video and advertising quality. I expect a similar shift on the data side as the industry demands higher quality data to facilitate advertising in 2024. As 'easy data' becomes a relic, usurped by privacy concerns and shifting platform strategies, the industry will pivot toward 'first-party quality data and identity'. This evolution will reshape how advertisers and publishers connect with their audience, forging a path toward more ethical and efficient targeting and measurement.
- The Political Advertising Explosion: Buckle up for a historic surge in political advertising spend, poised to shatter previous records. In the heat of the election cycle, expect every screen to become a battleground for hearts and minds. While TV will continue to play to its legacy strengths in helping candidates get out the vote and build awareness in the swing states, it will also be a harbinger of what to expect moving forward – more integrated premium video buying strategies executed at scale.
- Small is the New Big: With Generative AI driving down the cost of creating premium ad creative and TV addressability becoming ubiquitous, buying CTV and TV audiences will become as simple and intuitive as a few clicks on a digital platform. Massive advancements in the ease of onboarding first-party data to TV ad sellers and programmatic platforms will also serve to democratize advertising, allowing even the smallest players to make a big splash in premium video much like they have in digital for years.
- The M&A Crescendo: The latter half of the year will likely see a flurry of (long anticipated) consolidation. As media companies seek to solidify their footholds, mergers and acquisitions will become the order of the day, setting the stage for a more competitive and integrated industry. The end result will be positive for both those companies standing, of which there will still be many, and more importantly, for audiences who will benefit from more integrated content experiences at a lower price point.
As we stand on the precipice of change, it's clear that the TV industry's narrative is far from over. It will require resilience, adaptation, and ingenuity. In a world that prizes agility, TV’s readiness to evolve and its commitment to collaborative success could well be its crowning glory.
At Blockgraph, we're excited to play a pivotal role in this journey, empowering TV to reclaim its identity and steer the media landscape into a new era. What's your vision for the future of TV?
Here’s to a great year.
Jason Manningham is Blockgraph's CEO and Co-Founder.