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Guest blog: choice is good for accessing video


Ryan William Neal, assistant editor of Magnet Media’s blog network, guest-blogged the Future of Television Summit hosted in New York by Digital Media Wire. Here’s his take on the Nov. 15 panel discussion, “Digital Distribution Models: How Technology is Changing the Way Viewers Access TV and Video Content.”



The fourth panel of the Future of Television Summit’s agenda featured a discussion of digital distribution models, with moderator Marci Ryvicker, the managing director of Wells Fargo Securities, asking various leaders in traditional and new media how technology is changing the way viewers access TV and video content.

Ryvicker started by asking Bernadette Aulestia, the senior vice president of network distribution at HBO, and Tim Connolly, the vice president of digital video distribution at Disney and ESPN Media Networks, if the “TV everywhere” and “over-the-top” models can coexist. Both panelists agreed that they can, saying the models tend to handle very different products and that the choice benefits consumers.

“The apps and websites are like the department stores where users can browse and see what they like,” said Connolly. “In our access points, it’s more like a boutique store. [Disney and ESPN] see them as complementary.”

The other panelists included Stephen White, president of Gracenote; Laura Lee, eastern head of entertainment for YouTube; Mukesh Sehgal, president and CEO of RSG Media; and Damon Bethel, executive vice president of strategic planning and business development at DBG. All agreed that having a diverse ecosystem of digital platforms is only a good thing for video consumers.

Lee added that the younger generation is not tuning in as much to TV, and that platforms like YouTube give life to new creative voices. This led Ryvicker to ask whether this decline in viewership is due to the proliferation of devices and platforms or the decline in content quality.

Bethel said there is absolutely a decline in quality, but Sehgal argued that data shows that while people don’t watch as much live TV, they are watching the contention a mobile device. “This is a testament to the content on their TV,” Sehgal said.

The question, then, is how creators can monetize this shift. Sehgal said that more people are willing to pay for content, and digital platforms allow for increased ad revenue. Bethel added that another way to make money is through sponsor-based programming.

The conversation ended with the panel discussing what they see as the biggest challenge facing the industry: gaps in measurement. The panelists agreed that media companies should unify their digital and traditional to compliment each other.