I’ve spent a lot of time recently thinking about digital media startups specifically in regards to television. While many people are focused on the “second screen” and what else we can ADD to our current viewing experience, I don’t think that is the right way to look at the future of TV viewership.
When a show is great, it draws you in, captures you, and holds you there for the 30 minutes or hour that it’s on. I’m the ultimate multi-tasker, always focusing on powering through my RSS feed to get to “unread 0”, which moderately entertaining sitcoms allow me to do. This becomes exhausting at times, and the truly great shows allow me to put down everything and enjoy the characters, the plot, and the journey as intended. It has my undivided attention. This is what television is about for me.
While the second screen is exciting and supplemental apps can add to the experience of watching a sport or other live broadcasts, we need to be more focused on getting the right content to the right types of people. Whether it is in regards to advertisers pushing targeted ads to the correct eyeballs (looking at you Simulmedia), or built in analytics that allow my TV/media to suggest what I should watch next, I want to be more engaged and targeted, much like I am when I surf the internet or look for a place to eat.
Companies have started popping up in regards to adtech, so let’s hope there is more innovation on this end as well as on the recommendation side of things. Consumers have proven willing to give up valuable data if it makes their experience better. In addition to that, the major service providers have proven willing to pay for usage data that adds to their own, so lets start using it on a more hyperlocal basis.
While there are clearly bigger issues at play in the television realm than “get better content to me” I think this may be the next realistic progression that service providers aim for to try to stave off “cord-cutters”. It may not be the radical change we are looking for, but change often happens incrementally.