The Week In Review: CES And Chill

1. Netflix And Chill

Hundreds of thousands of Hollywood, Madison Avenue and Silicon Valley types invaded Las Vegas this week to attend CES, or, for many of them, to take meetings in hotel rooms while CES was going on.

That’s less an aspersion on them as it is an acknowledgement that not much of anything really happens at CES.

The trends— VR and IoT— have been the trends for the past several years, and what’s on display mostly consists of vaporware or the supremely impractical (cabinets that inventory what canned goods you’re storing in them, and our personal favorite, the adjustable belt which (for realz) eases itself open slightly when it senses you’ve eaten too much.)

There were two big announcements that affect the television industry, one far more significant than the other in the long run.

The lesser of the two announcements was the Dish HopperGo, a small portable device that allowed you to play the contents of your DVR virtually anywhere, even when there’s no WiFi.

Given that FIOS now has that watch-your-DVR-anywhere capability on it’s mobile apps,       and others are sure to follow, the Dish device is only notable for its ability to allow you to watch sans WiFi connection, a limited use case if there ever was one.

The bigger announcement came from Netflix, who announced they are planning to expand to over 130 countries this year (with China noticeably absent), creating the first truly global TV company. Not every show will be available in every country, but their plans were far more ambitious than anyone had suspected and that certainly grabbed the attention of much of the industry.

What remains to be seen is how this all plays out. Some observers have noted that Netflix’s business plan seems to rely heavily on a constant influx on new subscribers, which is well and good in the early stages, but what happens when the market gets saturated and they need to raise prices? Will that lead to greater churn or will viewers see a value in a $15/month Netflix?  All that remains to be seen, but in the interim, “Netflix and chill” seems to be well on its way to becoming a global expression.

Why It Matters

U.S. networks and studios make a lot of money off of global rights. In a digital age, many wonder why national borders still matter. Netflix’s expansion may amplify that conversation.

What You Need To Do About It

Talk to your global distribution team and educate yourself on your current position. Once you’ve got that down, talk to them again and understand what your options are if there’s pressure to change.

2. Snapchat And Chill

One other major trend we’re noticing from CES is the rapid rush of mainstream companies to Snapchat. Whereas even six months ago it was dismissed as a toy for sexting teens, this year brands, ad agencies and studios seem to have suddenly discovered its charms and are busy snapping their stays at CES. That’s not a bad thing—Snapchat has many charms and is likely to surpass Twitter as the number 3 social network after Facebook and Instagram.

For TV networks looking at new ways to engage an audience and promote their shows, the platform’s expansion beyond it’s teen base (remember that Facebook was once for college students) is a good sign. The notoriously impenetrable interface will prove to be a sticking point, but we’re still expecting rapid 2016 growth.

Why This Matters:

The ability for networks to put together stories-that-are-longer-than-thirty-seconds gives them a brand new way to promote new and existing shows, allowing for greater creativity and engagement. That’s a win all around.

What You Need To Do About It:

If you don’t have a Snapchat account, get one. And as the esteemed Gary Vaynerchuk notes, if you can’t figure out the interface, YouTube offers a virtual library of explanations.