Biggest Threats to Broadcast Television: Episode 3

May 31, 2016

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Much like Facebook and Netlix, which we discussed in episodes 1 and 2 of our blog series – Amazon is positioning themselves to be one of the biggest threats to broadcast television.  Not only is Amazon creating and distributing their own original content – much like the aforementioned companies – but they’re also revolutionizing live content and e-commerce.

Amazon’s scripted content division – Amazon Studios – has been on a bit of a spending spree lately.  They’ve green-lit everything from a Woody Allen series to a live-action American Girl Doll series and they continue to snatch up feature films as well.  The lineup for this year’s Cannes Film Festival – the most prestigious film festival in the world – included 5 titles owned by Amazon Studios.  Last year at Sundance, Amazon bought the rights to 1 movie… this year: 6 (this includes the 2nd largest deal of the festival, valued at $10M).  Amazon’s eagerness to spend has helped inflate the price tag for a lot of indie movies.  Additionally, they’ve caused a new shift in the acquisition strategy going into these major film festivals.  Companies like Amazon and Netflix are buying the streaming rights for films and – in many instances – the theatrical release dates are an after-thought (or a non-factor).  This has caused other studios to start adapting their long-term plans as well.

Film and scripted series aside, personally, I think Amazon’s live content is making an even bigger impact.  Billed as part of Amazon Video (not Amazon Studios), “Style Code Live” began airing nightly back in March of this year.  The 30-minute program, which airs week days at 9pm EST, is dedicated to fashion and beauty and features tips from fashion experts – it’s billed as “QVC for the YouTube generation”.  What makes the program interesting is that it features interactive elements that allow you to buy products directly from Amazon while continuing to watch the program.  For example, let’s say a guest on the show is talking about a specific shirt.  Guess what?  You can click to buy that exact shirt while never taking your eyes off the live show.  While this program is the first of its kind for Amazon, it’s safe to assume that they’re working on developing additional shows built around different kinds of merchandise.

Programming like “Style Code Live” is a huge development.  It takes so much of the guesswork out of advertising.  In theory, you could track your sales in real time and you know it’s directly related to a specific piece of content.  And by creating their own original content, Amazon is not only syphoning potential viewers from other networks, but their approach has the potential to completely change the way advertisers approach live content.  It’s the perfect blend of content and commerce and I can’t wait to see what they come up with next.

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  • Andrew Ryback Reply
    2018-03-07 21:55:41

    We're glad you found this to be useful, Margaux. Let us know if there's anything we can help with.

  • Margaux Ford Reply
    2018-03-07 05:57:06

    I appreciate the tips on hiring a production staffing company to have more time to focus on the creative aspects of the project. Hiring a production crew is a tedious task, and can take up much of your time. We're currently working on a huge production, and I'll share this article with my boss so he'll consider on delegating the recruitment to a staffing company. I like that you mentioned that staffing company can ensure to have the right team onboard for the project. Thanks!

  • Robert McWilliams Reply
    2017-10-31 19:05:18

    Todd: I have an ad agency in addition to our production company. We put one of our clients on OTT two months ago up in Nevada. Seems to be working! Thanks again for the work earlier this month. Rob

  • Nicole Rohde Reply
    2017-05-27 22:28:45

    Hey Andrew, Any word as to whether or not the Jokers will be back for Comic Con this year? Please let me know. Thanks!!!

  • Aaron Estabrook Reply
    2017-02-23 16:26:57

    I'll be tuning in for sure!

  • David Patton Reply
    2015-01-16 13:16:02

    Interesting blog post Andrew. For those who are nearly ready to cut the cord, but still want access to key channels such as ESPN, I'd recommend checking out Dish Network's new service, Sling TV. It provides access to a handful of channels for $20/month. https://gigaom.com/2015/01/15/sling-tv-details-price-devices-networks-resolution-bandwidth/

  • Andrew Ryback Reply
    2015-01-13 14:44:19

    Go for it! I'll admit that I was a little apprehensive about pulling the plug at first, but honestly, the transition away from DirecTV has been seamless. The only missing link is live sports, but there are a few work arounds depending on what sports you watch. Good luck!

  • Gregory Hart Reply
    2015-01-13 06:35:00

    While I am part of the 55 year old demographic that still has TV boxes and does TV viewing, I do my viewing using DVRs and networked PCs playing video files from an in-home server. I too have noticed that I view a handful of shows on a regular basis and have found various other sources for these shows. And now it has gotten to the point to where I am seriously considering ending my very long relationship with DirecTV and going streaming. Working in the TV industry also helped to open eyes to this as well. This transition from "old" TV is coming and the networks (Les Moonves, I am looking at you!) had better plan for it.

  • K. Lona Lymen Reply
    2014-01-31 17:54:25

    You are spot-on that voters don't believe that Obama can accomplish any of his plans. I vote in every election, but I am disgusted with all the arguing and last minute actions that band-aid a problem for a few months, and then break out into new arguments. The comparison to the Superbowl was interesting because, like politics it is a great American sport. But, instead of Peyton Manning giving a State-of-the Union, the President's address should get better commercials!

  • Gary Reply
    2013-08-08 09:44:39

    You've left out a HUGE part of this story by not mentioning Howard Stern's effect on the Sharknado buzz! #siris-ly

  • Marybeth Harrison Reply
    2013-08-07 14:46:29

    I can almost hear the theme song from Jaws as I read your post!