Ad Week brought together a panel of influential media players on Thursday, including AMC Networks’ Josh Sapan, AOL’s Tim Armstrong and Time Inc.’s Laura Lang. Here are some of the mega trends proposed by media’s top brass.
1. OTT & TV: Frenemies by Necessity. Pay TV used to be about “who wins and who loses,” according to AMC Networks’ pres & CEO Josh Sapan. But the “competitive,” almost “nuclear” attitude has “probably eroded or all but disappeared” as new ways to consume content on digital platforms continue to emerge. TV content being available outside of the ecosystem “turns things that we used to consider our foes into friends by necessity,” said Sapan. In fact, when content plays on OTT platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime, the data indicates that ratings actually increase during the next season.
2. It’s all About Mobile. Time Inc. CEO Laura Lang sees a profound shift in the way people consume content, particularly via a mobile device. “Mobile could be the biggest game changer that we see out there,” she said, and demands “telling stories with no primary platform in mind.” Dan Rosensweig, pres & CEO of digital textbook company Chegg, agreed: “The thought that mobile is a separate platform just doesn’t make sense to [the younger generations].” He predicts the education field will be completely disrupted by technology, and that “content creators and technology will come together to create interactive learning.”
3. Growth of Closed Networks. Pres & CEO of AOL Tim Armstrong said that it’s a closed network digital world out there, despite the fact that “it may feel open.” This is a “very dramatic shift” from the past and is requiring companies like AOL to define how the business fits within this new paradigm.
4. Products Incorporating Technology. Look no further than Nike+ Fuelband, a bracelet that measures consumers’ activity with an accelerometer, Nike’s recent foray into a tech product. AOL’s Tim Armstrong predicts more and more brands will be entering the tech space.
5. Social TV. “It seems to be heading up in a big way,” said AMCN’s Sapan. Take AMC’s “The Walking Dead” as an example. After realizing that viewers wanted to continue the conversation after the show ended, the net created an entire show devoted to that precise theme: “The Talking Dead.” “It’s a true, profound trend… We’re hustling to keep up,” said Sapan. “It’s quite goddamn phenomenal!”

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