With the television business evolving and technology changing viewers’ habits, the analysts at Hub Entertainment Research have mapped their top 5 predictions for the TV industry in 2022.
❶ ROKU GETS BOUGHT
A leading player in the market buys Roku, which facilitates Roku’s expansion to the international market. Roku could be a perfect fit for a company like Apple, as it would give Apple’s TV service a boost by offering consumers a lower-priced alternative to the Apple TV box.
“Roku’s efforts to catch up to competitors internationally would get a significant boost by partnering with a company already well established outside the US. At the same time, a company looking to expand its advertising business would benefit from Roku’s robust data collection tolos,” said Peter Fondulas, Principal at Hub Entertainment Research.
❷ SMART TVs RULE
Sales of standalone streaming devices will begin to decline as smart TVs become the norm. This is because smart TVs are affordable, easier to set up and use, and come preloaded with streaming apps as well as social apps.
“One thing today’s viewers need more than almost anything else: a simple way to navigate and use all their TV sources. Smart TVs provide this capability right out of the box, are easy to set up, and your account info carries across all of the household’s TVs running the same operating system. No need for people to switch inputs, mess with HDMI cables or keep track of another remote,” commented Jon Giegengack, also Principal at Hub Entertainment Research.
❸ MORE COMPANIES WILL CREATE THEIR OWN TV OPERATING SYSTEMS
More companies are recognizing that smart TVs will allow them to control the beginning of the discovery process, collect data, and serve ads so their own sets with built-in operating systems can be valuable “real estate”. Comcast and Amazon are ahead of the competition with their own products already in market.
“After almost 100 years, the TV set is poised to become its own gatekeeper, eclipsing ‘middlemen’ like broadcasters, cable providers, and more recently streamers,” predicted David Tice, Senior Consultant to Hub Entertainment Research.
❹ NETFLIX FEELS THE HEAT
Consolidation and mergers will drive greater competition than Netflix has seen before. The Discovery and WarnerMedia merger will result in a new streamer to rival Netflix.
“Netflix has dominated streaming, but as competing media companies invest more in content and networks to save their best IP for their own platforms, Netflix will have to fight harder to maintain its position as the ‘home base’ for streaming consumers,” Jon Giegengack noted.
❺ LIBRARY CONTENT WILL BECOME MORE VALUABLE
As the original productions arms race continues to heat up, compelling library content will be an antidote to “content inflation” - especially for big organizations with lots of IP to leverage, like ViacomCBS and WarnerMedia.
“Buzzy originals attract new subscribers. But catalog shows like ‘Friends’ and ‘The Office’ have often out-performed originals on streaming platforms, while platforms like Pluto have acquired big user bases with very few originals. For many viewers, a good show is a good show, whether it’s brand new or just ‘new-to-me’,” Jon Giegengack said.
● WHAT PANDEMIC TV WATCHING HABITS ARE HERE TO STAY?
With theaters closed down and consumers having more time to fill, viewership of premium VOD of movies still in theaters surged, Hub also noted. In fact, in July 2020, only a fifth of respondents said they had paid to stream a movie that skipped the theater because of Covid. By June 2021, this number had risen to a third. Among those with a smart TV, almost 40% said they had bought a smart TV during the pandemic (i.e. during 2020 or 2021).
“The pandemic has fundamentally changed the way people watch premium video content - especially movies. When theaters were closed, they invested in platforms and devices to watch first run movies at home. When things open up, many of those new habits will remain - that genie will not go back in the bottle," Giegengack concluded.