Google and Microsoft putting content at the centre of their TV strategies

We’ve had two big announcements in two weeks – first Google announced it would be bringing Google Play movies, TV shows and music to Google TV, then on Monday Microsoft announced that it is launching a new music subscription service on Xbox, dubbed Xbox Music.

It’s a clear signal that the big technology platforms (Apple included) are putting content at the centre of their TV strategies. And rightly so; consumers turn on a television to be entertained. But what does it mean for the likes of Spotify, Netflix and Amazon for whom these platforms present a critical route to the consumer?

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It’s not about “linear vs. on demand”; linear itself is about to change

I seem to repeat the same discussion with every media executive I meet – I argue that connected TV is going to fundamentally change the way we watch TV, but the response, usually from those with a few more grey hairs than me, is to argue that consumers want a “lean-back” experience and that’s exactly what they’ve got with linear broadcast TV. I don’t disagree with this argument – I think linear TV is a great product and will prevail long into the future – but to couch it in an argument of “linear vs. on demand” is too narrow in today’s market.

Here’s my rebuttal:  I agree that most people don’t want to be leaning forward to select the next programme as the last one finishes, like selecting individual tracks from a music library. My argument is that linear itself is going to change, and that is what’s going to drive our shift in viewing behaviour. Let me explain…

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Connected TV: the future of content discovery

Broadcasters have always been the key marketing engines of TV content, defining the programme choices we make and dictating the schedule by which we watch them. Connected TV begins to challenge these traditions, placing greater emphasis on programme rather than channel brands and opening the door for software players to take a more sophisticated data-driven approach to marketing and personalisation. The mechanisms by which consumers discover content is changing.

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