TV Trends

Bellow is an Industry analysis and Audience analysis of the TV industry through Trends that I did for an assignment for my Entertainment Marketing unit.

1.      Industry analysis

The industry I have chosen to analyse is the television industry this will be achieved by identifying current trends in the industry. The television industry has evolved and changed over time but for a period has stayed stagnant, since the advent of high speed internet television has begun to change in many ways with the advent of convergence having given birth too many new trends. The trends I will be looking at are Binge viewing, IPTV and mini series/ limited event series.

One of the most prevalent trends currently affecting the Television industry is binge viewing. Binge viewing heavily relates to consumption as it is a new form of how the consumer makes use of the entertainment products; it is commonly viewed as the practice in which the consumer quickly consumes all episodes of a television series in the shortest amount of time possible. But this is not always the case as Wallenstein (2013) states “there’s two separate breeds of bingers: We’re both deviating from the typical week-by-week episodic allotment of live TV, but one type is engaging in marathon viewing sessions while the other spreads a smaller dosage across a greater number of days.” Binge viewing does not just relate to consumption, it is facilitated by convergence and conduit. As Zhang (2013) states “new social trends such as binge watching rely heavily on features like video-on-demand that many pay-TV services lack or charge extra for. Increasing prevalence of smartphones and tablets, combined with new, faster wireless networks and new data-heavy plans, provide viable alternatives to traditional couch surfing.” This shows that Binge viewing is also affecting the conduit of TV, whilst it can take place through the use of DVDs and Blu-Rays these are not the only outlets for binge viewer’s, convergence into digital Streaming services such as Netflix and Hulu have intensified the practice (Yorio, 2013).

The shifting of audiences towards IPTV services and their growing power in the industry is not just to facilitate the trend of binge viewing it is a trend of its own effecting convergence, conduit, consumption and content. As of April 2013 Netflix had 36.3 million subscribes and had a presence in, North and South America, UK, Ireland, Sweden, Norway, Finland and Denmark (Mackay, 2013). In North America alone the number of houses who regularly stream content through Netflix’s rose 20% in the last year but Netflix is not the only growing IPTV service (McMillan, 2013). McMillan (2013) states “Netflix saw the biggest gain in audience size, going from 20 percent market penetration in 2011 to 25 percent; Similarly, Amazon Instant Video went up from five percent to eight percent with the latest study. Hulu’s rise was smaller, up just one percent from four to five percent year-on-year.” This convergence into IPTV services is changing the conduit of Television. These new conduits are facilitating the Binge viewing trend through their ease of access on pretty much any device you can think of as well as access to large amounts of content all at once which in turn is affecting the way consumers are consuming television. Netflix is further affecting conduit by now beginning to partner with consumer electronic makers to further their own brand on these platforms (Schaal, 2013). Netflix has even begun producing its own content such as ‘House of Cards’ and the latest season of ‘Arrested Development’ and releasing their entire seasons in one go in a bid to appeal to the binge viewing audience (Gay, 2013).

The next trend that is affecting the television industry is related to content. This trend is the shortening of TV show seasons from the traditional 22 episodes down to 10-15 episodes.  These shorter seasons are known as mini series or limited event series in the American Market (Barker, 2013). This model is nothing new in the British market as they tend to only film 12 episodes for dramas and 6 episodes for comedies (TV Tropes).  The American Market is familiar with this model in its cable programming, event series such as ‘Game Of Thrones’ and ‘The Walking Dead’ all run for less than 15 episodes per season. Due to the dominance and success of these event series American broadcasters have begun commissioning large amounts of mini series and event series (Barker,2013). This change in content does not just mean a shortening of seasons but also means a change in the TV show content itself, serialised shows benefit immensely from smaller numbers as the plot is able to move along at a good pace and creators aren’t forced to make up time by filling the season with filler episodes which interrupt the momentum of the story (Prudom, 2013). But whilst this is true it does depend on the show itself as well as the episode running time to determine whether a shorter season would work better, shows such as comedies and procedurals benefit from longer seasons as this content is generally not serialised and can have shorter episode running times (Prudom, 2013).

1.    Audience analysis

Sayre (2008) states that Audiences of entertainment products can be described as “people who come together in one place to give attention to live performance, gaming, or viewing a spectacle. Audiences have been characterized from a variety of perspectives according to where they watch, what they watch, and with whom they watch. Venues, programming or content format, and membership all determine how groups form.” (Sayre, 2008, p.83-84).The Primary Television audience is the mass audience and televisions secondary audiences are categorized by taste cultures which include spectators, participants and fans.

A trend that is affecting the Audiences in the television industry is the growth in fan culture and fandom. These are the consumers that have surpassed even regular fans of the entertainment product. Members of a TV shows fandom are the audience members who invest extra time and money into the product (VersusTheFans, 2013). Members of fan culture and fandom are highly devoted to the entertainment product of their choice, they are immersed in the products world, they interact with other members of this audience and even produce their own fan content whether that be music, art work or fan fiction (Mackay, 2013). Fandom presents a great resource to marketers as members act as invaluable promotion tools (VersusTheFans, 2013).

A further trend that is affecting the primary and secondary audiences of Television is the rise of social media interaction with TV. Social media mostly affects the participatory audience of television, through a new ability to interact with others over the internet as the show is airing. As Papworth states (2013) “show hosts direct the hearts and minds of viewers by asking them to tweet with a hashtag or to leave comments on Facebook. Or download Fango or Zeebox apps. The ad breaks become an exercise in diverting eyeballs away from TV sets.” This results in the further ability of audiences to interact with a TV show and other audience members removing the geographic restrictions of television.

Crowd sourcing for a long time has mostly kept away from television but it is now beginning to slowly emerge. This affects both primary and secondary audiences as the mass audience is likely to view the finished product whilst fans are likely to be the ones contributing to it. The IPTV service Amazon has now taken a foray into original content releasing 14 pilot episodes on their service and using crowd sourcing they asked users to rate the shows, from those ratings they have determined which five shows they will option for further episodes (Kafka, 2013). Amazon are also continuing this idea with a new batch of pilots that will include a pilot based off a script uploaded through their online script submission process for the public (Del Ray,2013).

References

Wallenstein, A. (2013). Why everything you know about binge viewing is wrong. Retrieved from http://variety.com/2013/biz/news/netflix-breaking-bad-everything-know-binge-viewing-wrong-1200586747/

Yorio, K. (2013). Armchair marathons: Binge viewing is the way many watch TV today. Retrieved From http://www.northjersey.com/arts_entertainment/television/199804291_Binge_viewing_is_the_way_many_watch_TV_today.html

Zhang, J.J. (2013). Why the Pay TV model faces a Millennial Threat. Retrieved from http://www.marketwatch.com/story/why-the-pay-tv-model-faces-a-millennial-threat-2013-05-23

Barker, C. (2013). Why the current mini series trend is a good thing. Retrieved from http://www.tv.com/shows/hostages/community/post/why-the-current-miniseries-trend-is-a-good-thing-137580439162/

Gay. (2013) How will Binge Watching Change TV. Retrieve 30, August 2013 from http://www.newsday.com/entertainment/tv/how-will-binge-watching-change-tv-1.5619328v

TV Tropes. (2010) British Brevity. Retrieved from http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/BritishBrevity

Prudom, L. (2013). The River Trend: Are shorter season the way to go. Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/laura-prudom/the-river-trend-are-short_b_1265210.html

Mcmillan, G. (2013). One in every four houses in America has Netflix streaming. Retrieved from http://www.digitaltrends.com/home-theater/one-in-every-four-houses-in-america-has-netflix-streaming/

Schaal, E. (2013). Does new executive reflect netflixs frowning influence? Retrieved from http://wallstcheatsheet.com/stocks/does-new-executive-reflect-netflixs-growing-influence.html/?a=viewall

Mackay, C (2013). AMB 207 Entertainment Marketing : Week 6 lecture notes. Retrieved from http://blackboard.qut.edu.au/webapps/portal/frameset.jsp?tab_tab_group_id=_4_1&url=%2Fwebapps%2Fblackboard%2Fexecute%2FcourseMain%3Fcourse_id%3D_103706_1

VersusTheFans. (2013).  Fandom VS General Audiences. Retrieved from http://versusthefans.wordpress.com/2013/04/24/fandom-vs-general-audiences/

Papworth, L. (2013). Social Tools hijack TV audiences. Retrieved from http://www.theaustralian.com.au/media/broadcast/social-tools-hijack-tv-audiences/story-fna045gd-1226679295107

Kafka, P. (2013). Amazon shows off its first tv shows and wants to know what you think. Retrieved from http://allthingsd.com/20130419/amazon-shows-off-its-first-tv-shows-and-wants-you-to-know-what-you-think/

Del Ray, J. (2013). Amazon studions may crowd source a selection of its TV show pilots. Retrieved from  http://allthingsd.com/20130729/amazon-studios-chief-wants-to-crowdsource-web-series-pilots/

Sayre, S. (2008) Entertainment Marketing Communication: Selling Branded Performance, People, and Places Pearson/Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ.
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