The Future of TV

Apr 11, 2022

5 Trends for the Future of TV


Television has been a staple of the entertainment world ever since its introduction in the 1940s. Over time, the medium has evolved from traditional broadcast television to cable, and now, to streaming. Just in the past few years alone, we have seen dramatic changes in how audiences worldwide consume video content. There are many directions that the future of TV can lead; here are the trends we’re betting on.

Interactive Content

The future of television is exciting to imagine. Eventually, watching tv will become an immersive experience that will let the viewer make choices as to how the story unfolds. In 2018, Netflix’s Black Mirror attempted this with Black Mirror: Bandersnatch a 90-minute interactive film with multiple paths, and up to 12 total endings. As the viewer was watching the program, the user had the option for the character to make one decision over another allowing the viewer to (more or less) choose their own adventure.

Participating in the content can keep the viewer more engaged and therefore more likely to finish watching the program. Mixing TV watching with games can be rewarding for the viewer because it keeps the audience coming back for multiple viewings to determine which ending they enjoyed the most.  How cool would it be to become involved in your favorite TV show? If you had the chance to alter the way content was viewed, would you?

Rise of Streaming Content

Streaming has taken over the mainstream in recent years. As broadcast TV and cable have declined in ratings, over the top streaming has risen in popularity. In 2007, Netflix took the industry by storm by introducing internet TV. Hulu quickly joined its predecessor in the landscape. As Hulu got in the game, it gave viewers the ability to stream current series the day after it aired on television. It nicely supplemented the content that was available on Netflix. Soon after, every company slowly started entering the market. From Disney+ to HBO Max, companies are following this trend as the ways of the past slowly decline. Today, there are nearly 300 services that are available in the United States.

The number of streaming services is only projected to rise. Shudder caters to the horror crowd and Paramount+ is targeting the demographic who enjoy CBS shows. But, as the number of services increases, so does the cost. Some consumers say the amount of money they pay for services is equal to or more than what they used to pay for cable. It’s all relative to what content they really want to watch. 

Consolidated Streaming Packages

Cable companies have bundled channels together in packages for decades. Now that you must individually pay for each service, the industry could revert to how it used to be. Companies such as Google or Apple could create an aggregate platform where you can bundle all your streaming services together for a flat rate. If you want to subscribe to multiple services at once, it’ll become easier to keep track of how much you are spending. Hulu has introduced this feature recently. You can bundle Hulu with ESPN+ and Disney+ for a discounted rate. Other streaming services may take this route later including Paramount and even Warner Bros Discovery, the parent company which owns HBO Max. It is likely that that both HBO Max and Discovery+ could be bundled.

Another option is personalized packages. Everyone loves options and if these parent companies give people the option to pick and choose which streaming services get bundled together, then they won’t have to pay for ones that they don’t watch. Unlike traditional cable, you wouldn’t have to pay for different tiers of channels. If you want to choose Netflix and Amazon only, then that’s what you would pay for.

No Content Restrictions

When broadcast television was introduced in the late 1940s and early 1950s, the networks had to provide content that was free of explicit language and at one point, couldn’t even show a married couple sharing a bed. As cable was introduced and later streaming arrived, more content became less restricted in what it could show on television.

Netflix became a trendsetter when it started producing its own content in 2013. Soon after, competitors, such as Hulu, began following suit. It is more cost-efficient to produce your own content than to license it from another studio . As the streamers invest in creating their own shows and movies, they will have more freedom with what kind of content they make. Eventually, the streamers will have total control over the content they produce.

Back in the day, broadcast produced approximately 22 episodes of a series that were 42-45 minutes in length. Now, content providers can produce as many episodes as they want per season and at whichever length they want.  Because the platform is under their own control and they can require agreements prior to purchase, as well as create parental control systems to enact, they can determine the ratings and content of their shows.

Sports and News will mix live with On Demand:

Two of the biggest reasons why customers continue to pay for traditional broadcast television is the ability to watch live sports programs and get the daily news. Streaming giants such as Netflix and HBO may introduce add-on features that will enable the customer to view live news updates or watch programming events such as the Super Bowl.

The interactive menus of these services might provide the viewer the ability to navigate through different channels to get the content they want. Gone will be the days when you must change the channel to get to your favorite show. The option to include news and live sports will let viewers keep local affiliate channels such as FOX and CBS on the broadcast spectrum.

One of the programs Americans love to watch on broadcast every year is the Academy Awards. Soon, award shows will join sporting events as must watch events on streaming services. Netflix or Amazon Prime could obtain the rights to these award shows. Every streamer will be competing for these event-based shows as the streaming wars go on.

The future is a place filled with wonder. Television as a medium has been evolving for decades. As this golden age continues, new technology will come and go and change how and when we watch television. It will be very interesting to see where television goes in the next ten to twenty years. There are so many directions that the industry can go in and it is an exciting era to be in. One of the most ambitious changes could be the mixing of live sports with scripted shows on streaming. How exciting would it be to go from streaming your favorite tv show to switching to the NFL Playoffs. Which trends are you excited for? Tell us on Twitter @Mediacomcable with hashtag #FutureTrends

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