Monday, August 31, 2015

The Glut of Video Content

In my blog on August 7, I suggested that there were too many cable networks, resulting in bloated cable line-us and high subscription pricing.  My suggestion, that it was time to drop cable networks, reduce the glut, and hopefully try to lower prices.  Today's NY Times takes a different direction, but sees a similar solution.  In the article, Soul Searching in TV Land, writer John Koblin finds that there is too much content on TV and notes that "Mr. Lombardo and other executives say it is harder than ever to build an audience for a show when viewers are confronted with so many choices and might click away at any moment." 

There are so many original shows being created and aired, that fragmentation leads to lower ratings.  In the Golden Days of TV, many shows may have been created as pilots, but with fewer outlets, only the best could make it to series and to air.  There is no need to wean out anymore so that many more shows make it to the screen, either on a linear line-up or a streaming service.  We are inundated with choice.  Add to that all the older series now accessible on services like Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon, "So a new season of 'Scandal,' for example, is also competing against old series like 'The Wire.'”

With so much content at our fingertips, it may be harder and harder for quality shows to get noticed and viewed.  Fragmentation of content choices also makes it harder and harder to find; we rely more on social media to tell us what is trending and where to find it.  Fragmentation has also made it harder for networks like Univision to grow even for Hispanic viewers.  With so much choice, revenue is harder and harder to increase.  The NY Times also speaks to this issue in the same edition. 

Too much, whether candy or content, leads to a tummy ache, or revenue challenges.  The economic laws of supply and demand apply to video content like anything else.  It may be time to reduce the supply to maintain the right balance for demand.