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Is the Streaming Media Ecosystem Meeting the Demands of the Moment?

What do streaming and OTT viewers really want these days? Amanda Lotz, Author, Consultant, and Professor, Queensland University, and author of The Television Will Be Revolutionised, discusses this topic with Evan Shapiro, CEO, ESHAP, in this clip from Streaming Media Connect 2023.

Shapiro begins by mentioning Lotz’s extensive experience researching the television industry. “Now, after over a decade of research and writing about this industry, you zoom out and you look at those consumer inputs…and then you hear the two different models from NBCUniversal and from Chicken Soup for the Soul Media, and you look across all the model remodeling that's happening right now,” he says. “I'm interested in what you think of the shape of the ecosystem and whether or not the media ecosystem is actually meeting the demand of the moment, or perhaps the consumer and the providers are kind of passing each other as ships in the night.”

Lotz notes that whether you're Netflix, Amazon, HBO, Peacock, Disney, or Paramount, your viewers will always be a shifting target, and finding that target will always require a mix of strategies and agile adaptations. “I'm most concerned that video is about to redo all of the mistakes of print of the first decade of the century,” she says. “The massive amount of fragmentation in audiences and ad products, and the extent to which that then makes it impossible for these companies to afford to produce content. I mean…so much of the answer is ‘It depends,’ right? The value proposition of Chicken Soup for the Soul versus different parts of what NBCUniversal is doing depends on different viewers wanting different things, having different price point stresses. And what makes it even harder is that those move around. Certain kinds of content, maybe you'll take the ads, other kinds of content you want to have a very specific environment.”

Lotz notes that in her first edition of The Television Will Be Revolutionised, published in 2007, “The word then was addressable is coming next year for TV,” she says. “And I'm a little afraid that that was before social, and we've missed that moment for advertisers…”

“The addressable moment or the moment where we fix what consumers dislike about advertising?” Shapiro asks.

“The addressable moment,” Lotz says. “That targeting would be the answer. Yeah, they wanted some targeting, but now we're in a universe where there's nothing but targeting, and there's no mass. And I just don't see the numbers lining up to be able to support content production.”

“So when you refer to what happened to print in the early part of this century, first of all, we mean this century, the 21st,” Shapiro says. “But secondly, you mean the uncoupling of it all, the unbundling of it all into the ecosphere where everybody could get it everywhere, and everybody had to chase the numbers. So you see that moment [as having] passed, meaning the moment where we could contain all of the revenue that the ecosystem produced in the combination of subscription and advertising. We've let it all leak out, and it's going to be very hard to re-contain it in a way that has a meaningful bottom line for the people who publish. Is that what you're trying to say?”

“Right,” Lotz says. “That when – and it's far more complicated than this – but that critique that gets thrown at the newspapers [that] they shouldn't have put it all out for free, and I think with the pivot to video…”

“That's what a lot of people are doing now,” Shapiro says.

Learn more about streaming video audience engagement and research at Streaming Media East 2023.

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