The New Digital Era of Television

“Cutting the Cord.” It’s been a common phrase for the last few years as consumers continue to favor streaming services over their standard cable box.  The switch makes logical and economic sense for many people, especially younger generations who have grown up streaming content.  The average price for cable packages is between $100-200 depending on which premium channels you pay for.  The alternatives, at just a fraction of the price, range from streaming services like Netflix ($8-12 monthly), Hulu ($8-12 monthly), and Amazon Prime ($99 annually), or cable replacements like Sling TV ($20-40 monthly), PlayStation Vue ($40-70 monthly), DIRECTV Now ($35-70 monthly), and YouTube TV ($35 monthly).  The list of alternative services continues to grow as they all fight for their share of viewership.  While cost certainly plays a role in this shift, it’s not the only reason millennials are jumping the cable ship.  There are countless ways to consume media today and some of the biggest social networks are launching their own media channels outlets.

Screenshot of Facebook watch displaying episodes of several video series that are available on Facebook Watch only.

Facebook is jumping into the original video content landscape with the launch of Facebook Watch.  Facebook Watch provides an outlet for publishers such as Buzzfeed and Discovery to create and distribute original video content.  There’s no debate that video has grown to be the to be one of the most most consumed medium medias in today’s digital environment, so this is a natural move for Facebook.  It will be interesting to see how Watch rivals YouTube and where the advertising dollars will be spent as Facebook will most likely incorporate branded, native advertising on this new platform.  

Not to be outdone, Twitter has been pushing for more users watching their live streams.  Just last week they hosted the live stream of the VMA’s Red Carpet and they continue to feature live streams on the desktop feed.  Even though they lost the bid for Thursday Night Football to Amazon Prime, they did get the streaming rights to the MLB, changing the way those who are “Cutting the Cord” consume sporting events.  Similar to Facebook, Twitter is also becoming a channel for original creative content.  Converse is becoming the first brand to launch an original video series exclusively on the platform.  Starting September 5th, “Public Access” will feature “Game of Thrones” actress Maisie Williams.  This partnership will strategically capture young audiences during the back to school season and reinforce the brands cool rebel persona.  

As the lines continue to blur between steaming service, content producers, and social media giants, traditional media will have to creatively adapt in order to capture younger audiences.