The Future of TV
By Jean-Claude Saade
“You’ve gotta move forward … as soon as you can figure out what that
means.” Don Draper in Mad Men, Season 2, Six Month Leave
Abstract: TV is a very important medium in our life and the TV
industry has been always changing and adopting new ways and
technologies. This time, the change is big and will take the “TV
product” that TV stations and media companies are offering to a
different level. This might be alarming for some people, but we believe
it will lead to more control and better experiences for consumers. It
also can be great news for the prepared brands.
Like Everything Else, TV Is Changing
New trends and technologies are changing the way we live, interact
and consume everything including TV programs, news and content. If the
television set has given its name to a whole industry of content
producers, media houses and broadcasters with all the companies and jobs
that revolve around them; the same TV set is not going to remain our
main tool for news, movies and entertainment watching.
Moreover, consumers’ relationship with TV watching is also changing.
Technology innovations are actually going in the right direction, as we
see it at least, and giving consumers more and more control over their
content consumption as well as their relationship with their preferred
programs and stations. The more technology will develop, the faster the
current TV model will evolve to give place to a more personalized TV
Things are bound to change; either by throwing all these elements in the
“market pot” and wait for a new balance to come out; or by actively
contributing to creating the future of the TV business with one clear
objective in mind: to offer customers a better experience – Money and
success usually should follow.
TV Media Business
This curve jumping change is also going to change the nature of the TV
ad business. The products and the tools of the TV media sales will not
be the same.
• The “holy grid” of TV stations is eventually going to disappear.
• Linear TV model for All where the stations and the network control
the delivery is going to shift into a more personal and flexible TV
experience that is more controlled by the viewer.
• The new TV experience will go outside the current home viewing
setting thanks to the growing coverage of Wi-Fi and mobile internet.
• Telecom companies will be in a position to provide the backbone and
delivery networks for TV services and will be able to claim a bigger cut
of the market.
• Global brands like Google and Apple might come up with complete
ecosystems for their TV experience that can bypass many players in the
• Channels will be replaced by applications (that will offer a new
experience and on multiple viewing devices including smart TVs)
• Waiting for TV programs, and having to watch advertisements will
become something of the past if not from the past already in some other
In addition to TV stations, the TV related media business would have to
reinvent itself. It also can take the lead in change in order to
maintain the competitive edge of the brands they represent.
TV stations that are funded by governments do not follow the same market
dynamics and do not have the same concerns; but eventually will embrace
the same technology and the same consumption mode.
With the disappearance of the linear model, TV advertising and the whole
model of TV monetization will need to be reinvented to link the new TV
experience with a fair economic model that is good for both the TV
industry and for the consumer who is used to Free TV in many markets.
The way we see the future model is a combination of a lot of free
general content combined with very affordable paid premium content
whether through subscriptions or advertising.
Consumers will be able to customize their viewing experience, using
their online profiles across different devices and platforms which will
offer marketers with new possibilities for accurate consumer
segmentation and profiling.
Create Content and Adapt Content
The change is not going only to affect the TV consumption mode and TV
advertising but will also need a new strategy for Content.
Viewing time, place, mode, and device will all have their influence on
content consumption and the type and format of this content.
Besides political and business News that has to be Immediate, Accurate
and Insightful, but will fade very fast; other types of content will
have a longer shelf-life, and even they can have many lives through
reruns, re-diffusion, dubbing and adaptation to different markets and
different audiences around the globe.
Here we are still talking about the same old formats of movies, series
and entertainment programs in initially designed to be consumed via a TV
set facing people on a couch with relatively an uncompromised attention.
However, this is not going to be the only consumption mode. Therefore,
content has to be adapted and new content created for different devices,
occasions, timing and places.
The new TV consumption devices are highly reliant on broadband and Wi-Fi
and have smaller screens, and follow a different consumption mode
especially for smartphones that are by nature used “on-the-go” “when
people do not have the kind of time and attention compared to
traditional viewing scenarios.
Factors like these will command new content or new formats of the same
The Drive of Change
Change is not something we fear and try our best to deal with it when
it comes. Change is the real market driver that will keep pushing brands
and businesses to constantly improve and deliver better products and
services to consumers.
Even more, change is more likely to happen when we are not satisfied
with the status quo, or the current state of things or technology.
Change is necessary for each and every category to keep improving,
offering better products and better services.
For brands with clear purpose and real consumer focus, the drive for
change is the desire to offer a better consumer experience with every
new product and service. This is what differentiate between brands that
are driven only by the economic side of things and those that are
keeping an eye on a mission beyond business that can varies in terms of
the articulated “mission statement” but at the end it will contribute to
What Could Be exactly the Future of TV if left to reactive
corporate decisions? – It will be difficult to predict.
However, what “Should Be” the future of TV for innovative and inspiring
brands? – We can give you some hints about it:
• The Future of TV is more enjoyable, more personal and more rewarding.
• The Future of TV is more flexible and can happen anywhere anytime.
• The Future of TV is going to be free or very affordable for some
• The Future of TV is going to be more diversified with programs adapted
to small screens, big screens, long viewership, short viewership, high
attention, low attention, etc.)
• The Future of TV is going to need a new format for advertising or
monetization in general.
Now, what choices do we have? – Wait or Innovate.
Wait or Innovate
If “the best way to predict the future is to invent it”, the best way
to deal with the changing TV scene is to be part of this change and
innovate instead of being forced to adapt to innovations.
Let us offer consumers new and more enjoyable experiences instead of
keeping them imprisoned in an old system.
The only two alternatives available for all the players in the industry
are Wait or Innovate.
Wait until others try the new models then follow with some learning or,
Innovate, lead the way and be the first to come up with new offerings
and better experiences for consumers.
We usually expect the market leaders to innovate invent and come up with
new ideas and systems. But the good news is that you do not necessarily
have to be the market leader or the biggest player in the category to
reinvent the category.
Nokia, was not the inventor of mobile phones when it managed to ride on
a booming category to the top of the world. Falling from the top was
very hard; but that is a different discussion.
Apple was not even a mobile phone brand when it entered the market with
innovative and enchanting products that changed the mobile phone
Red Bull was not the market leader in beverages, when it created a
completely new market and changed the category forever.
Tesla was not the market leader in automotive when it has managed to
change many old perceptions about the electrical car through innovation
and “visionary common sense”. Now the market leaders are catching up
while they had all the time and resources to be first.
The same applies for TV. Globally the best innovations are not coming
from the biggest networks. On a regional level, the next TV market
leader position is still up for grabs.
Jean-Claude Saade (firstname.lastname@example.org)
manifesto is a consulting firm specialized in brand
strategy, innovation and communication.
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