Running Scared: Should Cable Worry About the Target On Its Back?

By | February 1, 2013

I’m happy to say that after nearly 40 years on this planet, I’ve never truly known what it’s like to have a target on my back. Or, if anyone HAS ever been out to get me, they’ve been sufficiently dulcet about it that I haven’t noticed.

I doubt that the Chiefs at the major MSOs can say the same. January saw two bold “cable-killer”  pronouncements – one from the ever-brazen Netflix CEO Reed Hastings;  the other from a far less likely culprit, Intel, whose plans to launch a next-gen set-top-box spins the tale of network unbundling. Um. And, I promise that I’ll one day own a small island in the Caribbean.

But, I digress.

What’s common in both of these edicts – aside from the same-old “we’re coming to get you” message to MSOs – is the emphasis on how these approaches appeal to what audiences expect in the brave new content world.  They want:

  • Content now
  • Content that meets their interests
  • Content everywhere

Duh. That’s old news. “That’s TV Everywhere,” shouts the Cable Chief in response.  Sort of.

But here’s what’s new. The ante is increasingly being upped against the MSOs, because now the ability to capture, analyze and respond to audience behavior in real-time is possible through an array of alternate channels.  As users access apps through mobile devices, log-on to VOD services online –  or even through the set-top-box of today – they’re all but screaming out their likes and dislikes.  It’s a whole lot of data about what, when and how they’re watching.

The “new” capabilities being unleashed by Netflix and Intel aren’t just the domain of Netflix and Intel. They’re the rightful capabilities of any content creator or distributor (whether you’re OTT or MSO or something in between) who has harnessed the ability to analyze player logs, viewing behavior, Facebook likes, click-stream data and more.

With the right data and analytics in hand, every content-related business decision becomes clearer:

  • What content should you license, based on KNOWN consumer demand?
  • What VOD offers or recommendations will drive the greatest engagement?
  • Which audience members have the most social influence in their network? And, how can you get real buddy-buddy with that guy as soon as possible

This isn’t just the domain of the “new media” guys, like Netflix. It’s not even just the domain of the “big guys” like the MSOs (who, you guessed it, can combine the data from STB and TV Everywhere into a powerful analytics cocktail). The “little guys” – at least the smart ones – are onto this as well.

Check-out a replay of a recent webinar from Machinima , where COO Nanea Reeves shares content analytics tactics and strategies that have shot Machinima to the top of YouTube’s preferred networks.

In the meantime, I’m off to see about making a few enemies.  Life in the hot-seat just might be exciting.

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