The new big picture of television programming


The score for television programming has seen a major shift over the last decade. Where once the director of network programming was a highly praised and crucial position, the role is now being redefined. A shift in viewing behavior and the rise in online video watching have set a new landscape for television execs and advertisers as well.

Online video trends

The trends in online video watching are astounding. More than 4 billion hours of video are watched on YouTube each month. More than 2 billion hours a month on Netflix. Last year, Hulu’s subscribers rose to more than 3 million. People are migrating to online video for its convenience and on-demand capabilities.

Exclusive programming and Nielsen

Take the Netflix exclusive show “House of Cards.” Netflix paid $100 million to outbid HBO, Showtime and other networks in order to land the show on its platform. “HOC” quickly became the most-watched program on Netflix. Exclusive content on online platforms that allows viewers to bypass advertisements means the Nielsen ratings must adapt as well.

While Nielsen won’t include Netflix because it doesn’t show advertisements, the company will begin to measure what you watch over broadband this fall. This includes consoles like Wii, PlayStation and Xbox, and when you watch streaming TV through your laptop.  This puts whole new spin on advertising.

Network programmers must shift gears

When the choice of viewing time falls into the hands of the consumer, programming times become less important. What becomes more important is how quickly that content is uploaded online. Meeting the demanding needs of Internet video watchers is what network stations should focus on. Advertisers have to revise their strategies to reach these consumers; keeping in mind that online video makes it much easier to skip through ads.

If you need more proof, just take a look at Red Bull’s video of Felix Baumgartner freefalling from the edge of space. The video had 8 million live views and currently has more than 32 million total views. To put this in perspective, that’s more than the audience of the top seven cable networks combined! Fusing this popularity with the ability to engage with your audience on the spot makes online video platforms hard to beat.

The network programmers’ job is now in the hands of the on-demand TV viewer. Do you think television programming will become obsolete?

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Brianne Boysen contributed to this post.


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