The Changing Face of TV Platforms
May 26, 2017
44% of TV shows nominated at last year’s Emmy Awards were TV shows that aired on streaming platforms (such as Netflix, Hulu, Starz, and HBO). 60% of American households subscribe to a paid streaming subscription. Considering that the world’s first streaming service offered was by Netflix only ten years ago, the fact that nearly half of the award winning shows came from streaming networks is a huge feat. Less than ten years ago, the majority of TV viewership consumed entertainment via cable networks and DVD purchases. By 2018, nearly 1 in 4 Americans will no longer have a traditional cable or satellite TV subscription. The face of TV today has changed. Cable networks need to change or risk becoming obsolete.
Advantages of Netflix, Hulu, and other streaming websites include the ability to watch an entire series in one sitting without any ads; the ability to watch TV anywhere; and the ability to download shows to watch anywhere at anytime. In fact, Nielsen reports that homes with subscription streaming services spend an average 2 hours 45 minutes a day watching TV whereas homes without a subscription to those services spend an average of 1 hour 57 minutes. It’s not just rewatching favorite shows, but these companies have set up their production companies making their own award-winning shows everything from House of Cards, The Crown, and Mozart in the Jungle. In fact, for the past three years, streaming networks have led the nominations for the Golden Globe Awards and Emmys. Streaming services have an advantage over cable networks because they have full creative control by producing and releasing their tv shows. The revenue and numbers show that video streaming services are a big business. A study Convergence Research Group reports that streaming services’ revenue shot up 32% to $8.3 billion last year and is expected to reach $11.2 billion in 2017 and $14.7 billion in 2018.
With social media and fewer cable customers, the Nielsen rating system used to figure out renewals of cable shows is obsolete and inaccurate. For Nielsen, a family will have a box connected to their cable box that records the household’s live viewership. The problem is Nielsen households account for less than 5% of TV viewership. This means that even if a million Americans watched a TV show, but if only 100 Nielsen households watched the show, the show’s rating would be low. Nielsen also does not account for DVR viewings or watching the show on the network’s website. The current way of renewing shows does not factor in social media trends, which is problematic because online ads and internet marketing are the future of advertising. For traditional ads, advertising agencies rely on Nielsen ratings to determine which shows they will buy ad time for. The corporations that buy ad time that determine the show renewals. Until cable networks can change how TV ratings work, take what little comfort you can from this: It might not have been your favorite show’s terrible ratings that got it canceled.
It was your favorite show’s ads’ terrible ratings.