Tag Archives: Perspective

If All Screens Are TVs, What Then?

TVolution Last week, the Television Academy of Arts and Sciences announced that they would be awarding prestigious Emmy Awards in an expansion of the short-form series category. The deeper explanation of categories and requirements is:

The Emmys has expanded the short-form series awards to four categories: comedy or drama; variety; reality/non-fiction; and animation. Series must have a minimum of six episodes with an average length of 15 minutes or less, and be shown on traditional TV or via the Internet. Awards have also been added for short-form actor and actress as well.

What struck me is the inclusion of something that was not traditionally television within a “traditional” television environment. While not completely out of line with what the academy has done in the past – they have a membership group that focuses on digital content and they already expanded the meaning of Primetime when they included cable shows that could effectively be consumed at any time (a la HBO, Showtime, BBC) nearly two decades ago, before even DVRs and time shifting came around – it certainly seemed a bit of a land grab for an organization to stay relevant in the shifting of landscapes to an unknown future.

Then, there’s a lot of noise about Facebook making a play for the streaming rights to NFL games over the past day or so that really brings to question:

What do we consider a TV moving forward?
If all screens are TVs, how are people going to interact with them and content?
When will we start gaining from data insights in making it a better experience?

Just looking at Facebook and their want for live sports content, they’ve already driven video views on the platform to 100MM per day. The opportunity to completely do away with second screen environments – where your friend’s comments appear adjacent to the video, effectively making it a huge virtual sofa – is an evolutionary game changer. And, the predictive opportunity for delivering content based specifically on what you’ve been interested in that day or even that hour is mind-numbing.

One challenge in all of this is how closely tied to the past TV – of any form -remains. Though the rising interactivity allows for lean forward video consumption, there are far more viewers sticking to the lean back model. They still might make a selection off their DVR, VOD, or even that time-worn event of choosing a channel, but why can’t we start moving toward content delivered in linear fashion based on what you would probably be interested in right now?

Why do we see a huge amount of content highlighted based on what we watched in the middle of the night on Netflix when I’m logging in with my kids mid-day on a weekend? How come I do an incredible amount of searching on Google, yet their owned YouTube only prompts videos that I’ve already showed my kids on my computer a month prior? When will Facebook come forward with a “You’ll Also Like” product based on what video I’ve consumed and not what my friends post? (To give Facebook credit, they’ve done something like this, but it comes across as being more advertising than value-add.)

I do see a time when we will be able to turn on a stream of content – both short and long-form – and predictive technologies will line up the content and you can choose to watch or skip. The reality is that there is so much data there, it’s sort of silly not to use it. Whether it is Google or Facebook that have people exploring on a daily basis – and they also deliver content – or Cable/Satellite providers who might have relationships with data providers, there should be an ability to curate in real-time what the viewer might want right now. The use of data right now is usually only good for showing me what I was interested in then. Imagine the possibilities if we could have what is top-of-mind now delivered to us.

Perhaps this thinking isn’t even breaking enough from the TV norms as we know them. As much of content is evolutionary, perhaps this will just be a step to opening our minds and experiences to enable an content distribution/consumption cycle we can’t even yet conceive of.

For those reasons, I’m excited about the question of “What Then?”

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Keeping Your Eye on the Ball – AKA Perspective

Listening to some of the fallout from last night’s astonishing finish by the Dallas Mavericks, the point that hit home for me is that “old” athletes are actually still, oh so, young.  The supposedly old players on the Dallas team (with the leaders being in their early 30s) relied on experience and perspective to push through to the win.  On the other side, the younger Heat (mid-late 20s) seemed to revert to inexperience and play to not lose rather than play to win.  They celebrated instead of playing hard the entire game. I am a heat fan, having grown up in Miami, and do feel that the Heat will learn from last night and end up winning the series, but it was still disappointing on many levels.

Throughout the season and even as recently as the game against the Bulls last week where the Heat superstars repeated the touch points that are so important – “From Buzzer to Buzzer”, “Have to fight through and keep the intensity up so the opponent cannot catch up”, “Maintain patience and composure,” and “Stay within the gameplan.”  With the repetition of those mantras, how did someting like the comeback happen?  I think back to buzzwords that have been thrown around over the years – paradigm shift, outside the box, push the envelope, innovation, best of breed, scalable, viral, social, relevance, omnimedia, targeted, optimization – you get the point.  Many people know how to execute on them, but from most, it just feels like lip-service.

I was then reminded when a good friend, David Aaronson,  was taunting me about the loss and how the Heat are the most hated team ever.  And its all because of Lebron James’ show and the spectacle of the party in Miami after the announcement of “The Decision.”  We all look up to athletes as if they are wise beyond their years, but again, they are relatively young.  How many of us were making decisions like that in our 20s and trying to figure out how to announce those decisions?  Guaranteed, its an extremely small percentage of us. Also guaranteed that Lebron has learned from that mistake, has become more humble (slightly?) and certainly gained perspective.  Even without the support team and Network that Lebron had around him for that “Decision” Debacle, we have all made questionable decisions when we were that age – both personally and professionally.

With that, it all comes down to perspective.  Certainly in the digital media and entertainment world, youth is held aloft as the key.  Youth is certainly a plus when it means an openness to try things or look at things with an entirely new POV.  But, that same youth can lead to bad business decisions when those decisions do not take into consideration what came before.  There are certainly some amazing young leaders and thinkers in all industries, but much of that success is found in visionaries who rely on a whole perspective before executing. Alternatively, it is interesting or concerning to see “Strategists” in their early 20s. Don’t get me wrong – I’ve stated before that there are young visionaries, but I am concerned about the perspective coming from people who are so new out of college or have only been working in the digital space.

The quest for the shiny new thing even takes seasoned professionals under their spell when they jump without maintaining a view of the big picture. So, no matter how young or old, experience and perspective is key.

Perhaps if the Heat had made use of their experience and kept perspective, they might not have been celebrating at the 7 minute mark as if they had already won the championship. Hopefully, the loss was a lesson so that the Heat don’t have to learn a much harder lesson by losing the championship…