Posts made in June 2020

“Big” networks in the midst of technological reform

The what’s what and who’s who:  Media. This word is seemingly abstract and perhaps daunting in that it encompasses a platform through which entire societies escape, or become more connected to, reality. One of the most common sources of media includes television, which in itself contains an abundance of layers and implications. From cord-cutting to greater use of digital platforms, television has rapidly transformed over the past decades. Consumer control has increased, forcing networks to succumb to expectations in fear of losing audiences and ratings.

The traditional television ecosystem includes several big, linear-styled networks that dominate programming with limited consumer choice. According to Guillaume Morel’s “Linear vs. Non-Linear Television” article, a linear system of television is defined as having a schedule, decided unilaterally by someone at the channel headquarters. On the other hand, non-linear television is considered to be more modern, allowing us to choose what time we watch what we want to see. As a result, many consumers are transitioning into the non-linear sphere, drawn by a sense of autonomy that comes with the power of choice and on-demand access to programs.

What’s really happening, and why? National and centralized networks are already witnessing a steady decrease in audiences. In fact, Nielsen reported that over 30% of American households tuned into NBC during primetime in the 1950s, but that figure decreased to only 5.2% in the early 2000s. This decrease is exacerbated by high programming costs, such as an average of $3 million needed to run a one-hour network drama. Thus, networks struggle with charging high advertising rates in the face of declining ratings. Coupled with a competitive television playing field, these challenges accumulate into great levels of uncertainty about sustainability.

A saving grace: It’s easy to overlook local television stations, stereotyped as small players amid the “Big 5” networks. But they may be the key to helping their affiliates stay afloat. The Knight Foundation indicates that here, revenue remains strong, costs are dropping, and the regulatory environment is likely to allow consolidation, which suggests local stations’ strong advantages in the face of the overall ecosystems’s adversity.

Still, though, that may not be enough. More and more, we’ve seen social media play a pivotal role, and it’ll likely become even more useful for local news and non-news programs. As local stations learn to monetize their social media efforts, they might see payoff in terms of reach and increased audience engagement.

What should they do? Despite the potential decrease in traditional, linear television programming, social media will become more than a mere supplementary tool; it will become the backbone to longevity. The possibilities for change are truly endless. The sort of popular addiction to such media opens an array of opportunities for television leaders to infiltrate and advance the programming ecosystem according to profitability and consumer preference. Consumers dictate and act upon their preferences, leaving programmers with no choice but to adapt to demands.

Streaming: the past, present, and future

The past: It’s all relative. That’s probably one of the most applicable phrases when talking about technology. We often label the days without streaming services as “simpler times” without considering the context in which past generations lived. Sometimes, they’d rely on routinely scheduled programs, resting assured that their favorite sitcom would appear every Tuesday at 8 PM; other times, they’d browse through vast collections of DVDs and VHS tapes to rewatch a movie for the seemingly one-hundredth time. Albeit in-person mediums, Blockbuster and Redbox quickly became the links to new content, essentially serving as the modern equivalents of Netflix.

Yes, looking back, those days may seem “simple” to us. But for many, those days were colored by unprecedented options and complexities, relative to witnessing and experiencing past limited access to media. Blockbuster, Redbox, and even the television alone were revolutionary to those who knew nothing else, just as our current digital media might become outdated in the years to come.

The present: Who could’ve predicted the massive impact streaming services would have on our access to digital media? 2007 witnessed the emergence of Netflix; 2008, the emergence of Hulu; 2019, the emergence of Disney+. The list goes on, with 165 million hours watched daily across the globe on Netflix alone. All it takes to gain access is internet connection, a device with a screen, and less than 20 bucks per month. It’s like a digital utopia: thousands of programs available with the click of a button. We no longer need gas to get to a video store or remote controls to robotically click through channels.

But is it really all that different? Our media consumption has certainly changed, but upon closer inspection, the similarities are glaring.

Sure, content options have quadrupled. We expect everything to come at an on-demand rate so we can binge watch entire seasons without interruption. We even find ourselves posting to social media to bond with strangers over that one plot-twisting scene. Yet, we still have our routines. We make pacts with our families and friends to watch programs of mutual interest together at specified times. We take our time in choosing what to watch, swayed by ratings and critics. We use media as a way to connect, a way to share laughs and anger and cries. The mediums have changed, but have our behaviors?

The future: History repeats itself. The future is guaranteed to see even greater technological developments and advancements toward the online sphere. Perhaps, the television may become obsolete in similar fashion to Blockbuster and Redbox. Years down the line, streaming may evolve into a powerful medium beyond our wildest expectations. Future generations may look back on 2020 with sentiments similar to our current views on past generations’ access to media. Moreover, streaming in 2020 could eventually be considered a mere stepping stone to future media hubs. However, like we’ve repeatedly observed, we’ll always be drawn to a basic human need: meaningful connection to others beyond the digital realm.

Consumers are craving video content. Are you feeding them?

What’s hot in marketing? Videos! Video production and video marketing continue to evolve and lead as one of the most important marketing strategies. Whether utilizing videos for your company’s website, social media platforms, or email campaigns, video content proves to be one of the most effective marketing strategies for consumers. Marketing professionals predicted video would become more important during 2019, and as we are already well into 2020, their prediction proved to be correct.

So, how does this affect your company? If you’re not currently developing video marketing content, let’s get started. The chances are high that your competitors will invest in marketing campaigns (if they aren’t already) because consumers are craving this type of content. Gemstone Media will facilitate a discovery phase and learn more about your organization. From there, we help you develop marketing strategies to reach your target audience. Start now to find the types of content that best represent your brand and engage your followers, before the internet becomes saturated with similar content.

According to Brightcove’s 2018 Video Marketing Survey, 53% of customers engage with a brand after watching a video on social media. This number increases to 66% with millennials.

Consider how you utilize social media and especially how your target audience scrolls through platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn. Providing consumers with engaging content that shares a compelling story with a call to action increases traffic to your website, direct purchases, and requests for more information.

Let’s talk ROI: Over the past five years, more and more marketers have increased their budgets for video production because they’ve seen returns on their investments. According to the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s 2018 Video Ad Spend Study, 93% of businesses say they’ve obtained new customers thanks to videos on social media. And, when asked what type of content gets the best ROI, video came in at 63% over photos and graphics (56%), blog posts (25%), and infographics (22%).