At this week’s Covington & Burling Sports Media & Technology conference, Richard Greenfield, managing director and media and technology analyst for BTIG, shared his top 10 list of media trends, ranging from personalization to mobile to OTT. His ultimate conclusion? There’s hope for the “unboxing of the cable experience.” The question is “how fast will we evolve?” Here are his top 10 trends.
 
1. The quality of content has never been better. Whether it’s original programming that premium TV provides, or content from basic cable, Netflix, Pac-12 or the myriad individual digital channels available, top-notch content is out there in droves. The challenge: “You’re competing with such a wider array of content than you ever have before,” he said.  

2. With the Personalization of TV Video, It’s No longer a Shared Experience.
“Device-ification” is ubiquitous. “People seem to just love having that personalized experience,” Greenfield said, and the multichannel world has not kept up. The remote control, for instance, leaves much to be desired from a user experience standpoint.

3. TV Is Just Another App. Now, you’re just competing with “ways to cure boredom.” It’s imperative to keep raising that bar of content higher and higher.

4. Mobile Devices Are Content Producers. Mobile devices are becoming what people use above all else—as their primary device. They can be projectors, as Chromecast has shown.

5. Less Urgency to Watch Live Programming. “Every device is becoming a DVR,” Greenfield said. Delayed viewing is a norm.

6. Consumers Expect Ad-Free or Ad-Lite Video Experiences. Given that “people do not enjoy most 30-second spots,” the TV environment will have to adjust.

7. Mass Cord Cutting Unlikely, but MVPD Base in Slow Secular Decline. “There should be more growth” than we see currently, Greenfield claimed. Consumers have a tremendous amount of choice, and that’s in part slowing it down.

8. Internet is Getting Ready to Handle Live TV. Contrary to what network execs said on other panels, Greenfield is of the view that “the internet is ready.” Take NFL’s Sunday Ticket, which amounts to 2 million subs for DirecTV. “I think the Internet is certainly capable of doing that today,” he said. In light of this, he predicts the emergence of virtual MVPDs.

9. Technology Will Improve the TV Experience, but May Disrupt Business Models.
An example? Look at Aereo. It’s good for consumers, but the question is, how does the media industry profit off that?

10. Social Media May Not Increase Ratings, but Viewers More Engaged. When you consider a group that’s watching a series, “a sub-segment of them will be more engaged.” Though it may not translate to more viewers and greater tune-in, social makes it a “communal, shared experience.”

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