6 APR 2020

ROB SILVERSHEIN: “THERE WILL BE NO WINNERS IN THIS DOWNTURN, ONLY SURVIVORS”

The Senior Advisor at TDG Research analyses the current context, the impact of coronavirus on television viewership and the difficulties that the pandemic presents for new streaming services.

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The coronavirus pandemic has forced many people to stay at home and, unsurprisingly, this has led to a huge increase in the consumption of TV, with as much as a 60% spike in viewing. Whether is for entertainment or to stay informed, television consolidates itself as the best ally to overcome this world crisis.

“Television now has to give the customers what they need with a sense of empathy and understanding. People are stressed out and really looking for television as a way to escape and to be informed. This is a time when television can really be a leader in the positive side, if there is any positive side of the crisis,”  Rob Silvershein, Senior Advisor at TDG Research, told Señal News.

However, the increase in viewing does not particularly represent an opportunity for the television industry. In fact, the 20-year veteran media executive considers that “there will be no winners in this downturn, only survivors and casualties”.

“The reality is that the global economies are not going to be as strong as they were two months ago. Companies are going to do fine, they are going to survive. However, they are not going to make a lot off of this. They are going to give the people what they want and understand that, when this crisis is over, the economy is going to be a little bit slower, and people are going to make more conservative decisions. At the end of the day, nobody wins out of this,”  Silvershein analysed.

Other players suffering from this downturn are new streaming services such as HBO Max, Peacock and Quibi, which are set to launch at a time of unprecedented economic uncertainty. “This crisis is not good for their timing. It is a tough time. People are looking at their budgets and thinking about what they can reduce. I do not know to what extent they want to try something new,”  the Senior Advisor at TDG Research said.

According to the expert, this is going to result in lower initial demand; though postponing service launches could alter the outcome. Ad-supported networks will also be impacted, as advertisers scale back on budgets in response to the rapid economic slowdown. Even established streaming companies will be impacted as consumers tighten their home entertainment spending.

“This is not a one day event. This is a long term battle that we are fighting, and it has already changed people’s lives. People are now going to be very careful about their spending habits,”  Silvershein indicated. “At the long term, everybody is going to be fine. Sometimes, when you get a crisis, flowers bloom in the sense of more innovation, better empathetic marketing, and better customer service. Maybe, we are just going to be more realistic and get some more humanity back into what we are doing,”  he concluded.

By Federico Marzullo