Every year in mid-May, agencies and clients flock to New York City to catch the new programming announcements from the major TV networks (and stand in lines to get their photos taken with celebrities). In the last few years, there has been rumbling that TV is dead and digital is the way of the future. Let’s review some stats, then dive into some programming updates.
There is no question that the media landscape is evolving at a rapid pace, and with the evolution comes changes in consumer behavior. TV content is no longer being consumed just on a TV. There are countless ways to access it, although the TV still remains number one. Although number one, in the last few years, research shows that time shifted and smartphone usage is growing and taking shares from live TV viewing (albeit still the most heavily utilized).
The technology boom has had its impacts on the broadcast world in many ways. The rise of socially interactive programming (voting, checking in and show-specific hashtags) is one way in which consumers are encouraged to multiscreen. According to the iab, 78 percent are using another device while watching TV – most commonly a smartphone (69%); computer and tablet nearly tied (54%/53%). While show engagement is one type of multiscreening usage, two research sources show that what people are doing most, while using multiple screens, is not interacting with the TV or its content – they’re doing nonrelated tasks. This multitasking activity poses a challenge for advertisers across all platforms – not just TV, where creative must be attention grabbing and engaging and media placements must pop in front of engaged viewers.
So, onto the fun stuff … what will you be watching this fall? There were some themes that emerged across the week of presentations:
- Everyone was No. 1 overall in something (except Fox, although Empire was the No. 1 new program):
- NBC is No. 1 in adults 18−49.
- CBS is No. 1 in total viewers and adults 25−54.
- ABC is No. 1 in 18−49 when you remove all sports shows.
- Networks taking on digital
- If we had a dime for every time a presenter said the words “data,” “viewability,” “premium content,” “transparency” and “no bot traffic,” we’d be able to throw one hell of a party.
- ABC spent time discussing its On Demand viewership and equated it to the third largest cable network.
- Turner/TBS went as far as to say “dayparts are dead” and pushed audience guarantees, data, analytics and advanced targeting.
- Programming trends:
- Live shows
- It’ll follow its formula with the Sound of Music and Peter Pan, and release The Wiz.
- Undateable (comedy) – after the success of its live show a month ago, it’ll do this next season.
- Fox (stealing from NBC’s playbook) will have a live performance of Grease.
- ABC will celebrate Disney’s 60th anniversary with music.
- Sports – key to live viewing since it’s DVR-proof.
- CBS hung its hat on the NFL.
- NBC is proud to have the Olympics in Rio.
- ABC will air ESPN programming.
- Even more diversity (from 14/15 season)
- Success with Empire, Black-ish and Fresh off the Boat has pushed networks to add more diverse cast members in a variety of shows.
- X-Files, The Muppets, Supergirl, Coach, Limitless and Minority Report will all get a second go-round on TV.
- Less reality
- Not one new reality show is on the fall schedule for any network.
- Continuing series such as Dancing with the Stars, The Voice and Survivor will be back.
- Has the day really come?! American Idol will end its run in the 15/16 season.
- Fewer comedy blocks
- NBC has nearly abandoned comedy after many failures.
- TBS/TNT are doubling original programming over the next three years.
- TBS repositioning itself to be younger and more male, closer to Adult Swim and its Millennial core.
- Live shows