Gone are the days when television is the only way to see your favorite programs or movies. Now you can watch shows on your computer or just about any mobile device– all you need is a connection, and in some cases a subscription, and you’re good to go. Real-time entertainment is what people are looking for–we always want something fresh to keep us up to date. But with this demand for real-time entertainment, how has it affected traditional TV?
Time Warner Cable, the second-largest cable company in the U.S., reported a loss of 128,000 subscribers for this quarter, and they are down by 16,000 total subscribers. And while their cable service consumers declined in numbers, their broadband data subscribers increased by 89,000. One possible reason for the shift is real-time entertainment.
More people are subscribing to services like Apple TV, Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, Spotify, Rdio, Pandora and Slingbox, so they’re shifting from their traditional cable subscription to broadband services as these services require internet connections. With more people glued to their mobile devices, real-time entertainment providers are extending their services from home computers to smart TVs, game consoles, set-top boxes, and of course mobile devices at no additional cost.
“Game consoles, set-top boxes, smart TVs, tablets and mobile devices being used within the home combine to receive 55% of all real-time entertainment traffic,” reads an excerpt from the Sandvine Corp.’s 10th Global Internet Phenomena Report.
“Of course, real-time entertainment’s emergence is not exclusive to fixed-access networks. Within the mobile networks surveyed, real-time entertainment is the largest component of traffic overall, and in Asia-Pacific it is even the largest on the upstream, thanks to peercasting applications like PPStream.”
And so real-time entertainment service providers are doing everything to gain more viewers. YouTube is pushing to make itself become channel-centric. They want to provide channels that have hours and hours of on-demand entertainment. They recently live streamed Cold Play to mark their big push beyond amateur videos and further towards the entertainment scene.
ClipSync sees tremendous potential in the real-time entertainment sector, leading the charge in social TV. The social wave is here to stay, but traditional TV is the last media hold out. Itzik Cohen, founder of ClipSync, has uncovered a way to actually create value around social TV, increasing engagement and producing real results for content publishers. ClipSync is big on data, drawing out the necessary metrics to prove its solution. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t challenges still facing the startup, especially with the growing variety in devices that support real-time and on-demand entertainment. Looking to the future of social TV, the consumer steadily moves into increasing power, and Cohen sees the viewer becoming a part of the content itself.
“We’re very focused on taking content designed for passive viewing and adding a layer of social interaction that will improve metrics,” Cohen explains. ”There’s already pretty good content, whether we add those layers or not, but improving things like traffic is still hard to achieve.
“Getting 5% improvement on a show is very challenge, but we’ve done a lot of work with producers and studios. Content in the future will have the viewer as part of the content and story. Without the viewer, there will be no show. Think shows like American Idol that have viewer texting and voting.”
Set top boxes are one of many distribution channels companies like ClipSync look to as potential points of integration for the future of TV. Western Digital set-top boxes are now equipped with Spotify, Netflix, Hulu Plus, and Pandora to give their audience various types of entertainment for hours and hours of media consumption.
It’s a movement that won’t easily die down, as mobile technology in particular empowers consumers to demonstrate their interests and demands more than ever. The industry as a whole is undergoing one of the most profound shifts it’s ever seen, but determining what that really means for publishers, distributors and advertisers remains to be seen.