The Shifting Paradigms of Television Viewing

Shane Peros

There’s no question that television has changed a lot in the last few decades. And these changes haven’t been limited to the move from analog to digital delivery, creation of increasingly beautiful and lifelike images or even an ever-expanding diversity of programming. The way in which viewers consume this content has changed, too.

Shane Peros, Google’s managing director of global partnerships, will explore this latter change during today’s Super Session “Google at NAB Show: Media Innovations — Bridging the Gap Between Linear TV and Digital.” Peros, along with several other industry leaders, looks at the “quantum shift” in content consumption habits enabled by today’s technology, as well as the business model shifts that have followed.

“If you think about traditional TV, it [was] a one-way street — a uniform mass media experience. Everybody saw the same shows, at the same time, with the same ads, on one stationary screen,” said Peros. “Programs were created that appealed to the widest possible audiences. Advertising [was] sold on very basic demographic information. Everybody tuned in at a specific time or they missed out.

“Today, digital technology is changing how viewers experience and interact with TV. It’s a much more diverse and personal experience; because of the availability of data, TV is now a two-way street. Shows don’t have to cater to the highest common denominator to find success anymore. They can thrive on a very specific niche audience. Audiences can experience these shows whenever, wherever they want, be it live, on demand, inside the living room or on the go. Advertising can be specifically targeted to individuals using data.”

While the clustering of an entire family around a single TV set doesn’t often happen anymore, content consumption in a nonlinear fashion on smartphones, tablets and computer screens has not yet replaced conventional viewing on the big screen. This creates some big challenges for media producers, advertisers, program distributors and others in the TV content chain. The “gap” in the presentation’s title refers to the differences in these two content consumption modalities.

“From a business standpoint, the industry is transitioning between these two states, and it’s a complex issue to solve,” said Peros. “Linear TV is still how viewers spend the majority of their time, and is where the majority of advertising dollars are spent. So you have this entire ecosystem of linear distribution and advertising technology and business practices on one hand, but on the other, as people continue to shift their viewership to digital, you have a somewhat different tech stack and business model.

“It’s an interesting dichotomy — technological innovation can produce new opportunities for growth, but these opportunities may interfere with legacy business models. That’s why it’s critical for today’s media CTOs to work in lockstep with their C-Level counterparts on the business side. TV companies need to operate not only as producers of world-class content, but also as high-functioning technology companies.”

Peros is optimistic that this “gap” will be bridged in time, and feels that all players will benefit.

“TV companies [will] increase the value of their businesses; advertisers [will] reach audiences more effectively; and most importantly, viewers [will] continue to be transported with immersive entertainment experiences,” said Peros.

Attendees interested in a look at television’s future and the potential that its changing landscape will offer should attend this session to learn more about the increasingly tighter interaction between media and technology.