The following opinion piece is a guest post and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of this publication. Read more about MediaShift guest posts here.
We’re suckers for change, particularly those that improve experiences. Sure, some may complain that another moved the cheese, but transformative change is something we generally embrace once the value is visible and understood. Take television viewing. An experience that began as a square, black and white (with slightly rounded edges) experience housed inside a massive wooden box has morphed into one where many of us own screens approaching 60 inches or better, with resolution and colors that exceed imagination. Television has transformed, no doubt.
Today’s television viewing experiences have moved beyond traditional transmission and delivery models. It seems that you must live in a cave or Rwanda (one of the world’s least IP-connected nations) to not be aware that every day, more episodic television and feature length movie content is available at your fingertips on the device and screen of your choosing. Again – that news may be old hat for some. So what and where are the next emerging trends?
Dick Tracy, meet Tom Cruise
Perhaps the 40s era detective Dick Tracy was onto something way before Tim Cook and Co. at Apple reinvented a wrist based communication device. While Detective Tracy may not have been watching video, he was talking to folks all over town on his nifty wristwatch. Today, specifically at June 2015’s Worldwide Developer Conference, Apple’s Kevin Lynch showed a couple video clips from Vine being played back on the 312×390 pixel Apple Watch. While this isn’t as sexy as the science fiction movie magic displayed by Tom Cruise in 2002’s “Minority Report,” where Police Chief John Anderton (Cruise) moved around transparent video frames with his hands, playing and stopping them at will, the addition of new, smaller and more personal screens for video consumption has arrived. This isn’t to suggest that you’ll want to watch an entire episode of ABC’s “Blackish” on a small screen attached to your wrist, but you may well be watching Vine clips, short YouTube videos and short social snippets from Facebook in that fashion very soon. As viewers are signaling to those who produce entertainment fare as well as those who architect and deploy the workflows to deliver said clips (like yours truly), the desire is to consume this variety of clips on screens of all size, shape and resolution. Yeah whatever, you argue – my phone battery is massacred anytime you watch a few episodes or a movie. So how in the world is a device one-eighth the size on my wrist going to be able to render video clips for more than 10 minutes or so? This is a valid concern, and I believe we still have a long road to travel before power consumption on wrist based devices is sufficient to support extended viewing sessions. However, I do think that in today’s selfie driven world that a good number of consumers who embrace wearables will make (very) short form video content part of their experience with these devices.
Changes in syndication syntax means new viewing options
For many of you, this number may be higher, but the average social network (Facebook/Twitter) user spends an average of 1.72 hours per day with their content. These represent the latest, most addressable viewing audiences in today’s marketplace. Even though you may go to Facebook to keep up with Grandma in Grand Rapids or head to Twitter to read the latest tweet of wisdom from Taylor Swift, more broadcast brands are planning to offer some form of their episodic entertainment for you to consume on network.
This is one new model of syndication – follow the audience to where they are reachable. HBO and Facebook recently partnered to enable this for the new Dwayne Johnson show, “Ballers.” To be clear, this didn’t happen live as the episode aired on network, but was offered a couple days later in its entirety. Interestingly, it wasn’t offered on YouTube – which shows the growing reach and relevance of social networks besides the latest pics of the kiddos or likes for your shared shopping list. Viewing experiences are permeating an ever increasing number of pathways to our eyeballs. Expect these content creators and their brands to continue to find new and innovative ways to deliver content to you. Here’s one example. Let’s say you like “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon” on Facebook, and you also follow Tom Hanks. Using new technology, NBCUniversal could tag Tom Hanks in an appearance on tonight’s Fallon show, and he would appear in your feed based on those parameters. However, your Mom isn’t a Fallon fan, but does follow Tom Hanks. She would now see the same clip as you, given her Tom Hanks parameters. She might even laugh at the skit featuring Fallon and Hanks and choose to follow “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.” Viewer gained. This new methodology of reaching viewers within the experiences they are engaged in and presenting content relevant and timely to them at the right time will be a trend to watch.
Video – on the cornea next?
I joke with the heading, but the future of video looks (pun intended) as immersive as the previous “Minority Report” reference suggests. Today, expect to see video on your wrist, on your social feeds and pushed to corners of your life – especially those that are device driven, to grow exponentially. While we may not be able to view video via contact lens or on the cornea today, the road ahead holds promise for experiences that are both exciting and hard to predict (and visualize). I for one am keeping my eyes wide open.
Matt Smith is presently Chief Evangelist for Anvato – the leading, turnkey platform solution that enables media companies, content providers and broadcasters with a robust, powerful and complete toolset to enable their content to reach any screen, anytime.