Last week, the Television Critics Association (TCA) announced their nominees for its annual awards ceremony. “As professional consumers of the medium, TV critics are often the first to spot exemplary work in television,” the TCA says of the awards. Interestingly, it seems much of the exemplary work the critics recognized for the 2016-2017 season didn’t appear on traditional television at all.
Half of the nominees for Outstanding New Program appeared on Netflix or Hulu, and both streaming services received multiple nominations across other categories. Also last week, after news broke that Netflix now has more subscribers than cable television in the United States, outlets claimed “the reign of cable television is officially over.” While the TCA nominated plenty of actors and shows from network and cable shows—HBO and FX garnered 12 and 11 nominations, respectively—it seems cable’s critical domination may be nearing an end. Netflix earned the third-most nominations, ten in total, while Hulu pulled in four nominations, and Amazon two. This is a stunning achievement when one considers Netflix and Amazon received their first nominations less than five years ago, and this season marks Hulu’s first time being nominated.
The television critics’ nominees reflect an industry-wide trend towards moving away from traditional television: In March, Tony Lenoir, an analyst with the communications intelligence firm SNL Kagan, predicted as much as 83% of homes in the US would subscribe to broadband but not cable by 2021. Describing this as a “conservative” prediction, Lenoir said SNL Kagan’s 2016 cord cutting data, in which record numbers of people canceled their television subscriptions, “should settle the debate” over whether young people are turning away from traditional television.
And consumers aren’t just doing this by watching streaming services on their television sets. According to the consulting firm Accenture's 2017 Digital Consumer Survey, which included 26,000 people from 26 countries, only 23% of respondents said they preferred watching content on a television set. US respondents were slightly more likely to prefer watching content on TV, at 25 percent. Both numbers are a dramatic decrease from the 2016 report, which found that global and US respondents preferred TV to other platforms by 52% and 59%, respectively. Now, 40% of respondents say they prefer watching content on their computer, while 13% prefer watching content on their phones. "The dominance of the TV set as the undisputed go-to entertainment device is ending," Gavin Mann, Accenture's global managing director for broadcast, said of the survey.
But, even with all the exciting new online content outlets to choose from, the reigning platform for watching video content on online is YouTube. According to a recent survey of 13- to 24-year-olds by digital media firm Defy Media, viewers watch 12.1 hours of video per week on free online platforms like YouTube, and another 8.8 hours watching video on subscription services like Hulu and Netflix. They spend just 8.2 hours per week watching television.
YouTube was the most viewed platform, with 85% of respondents saying they regularly watch it. Netflix came in second, at 66%, and television in third, at 62 percent. When asked which platforms they couldn't "live without," YouTube topped the list, at 67 percent.
Major stars are taking notice: In May, YouTube announced a foray into original content, with programs starring celebrities like Ellen Degeneres, Kevin Hart, and Katy Perry. Earlier this week, YouTube’s Global Head of Original Content Susanne Daniels announced deals for 40 such programs, with plans to reach 50 original programs by the end of the year. ““I’d like to see us get to a point where we’re 50/50 on the platform,” Daniels said at a presentation in Cannes, referring to the split she’d like to see between original programming and user-generated content.
For now, though, that user-generated content remains YouTube’s bread and butter. The popularity of YouTube and other social media platforms has spawned genuine stars, with millions of followers. As we have documented in our 2017 Consumer Trends Report, these social media stars provide a unique opportunity for marketers, as they are typically seen as more relatable and trustworthy than their Hollywood counterparts. In fact, according to Google, which owns YouTube, 6 in 10 YouTube subscribers “would follow advice on what to buy from their favorite creator over their favorite TV or movie personality." Read more about how to leverage this trend and others in our 2017 consumer trends report.
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