The End Of The Golden Age Of TV

There is little that annoys me more on telly than those dreadful perfume ads. You know the ones - pretentious, preening, obscure and often risible. But if you’re going to make your smelly water stand our from the next company’s smelly water, then it’s really all you have. It’s called brand building and perfume companies often spend more money on this than they do on the product itself.

Now, as countless new players pile into the streaming TV market, this model is set to repeat itself.

To date, streaming companies have used big production budgets and have heralded a golden era for television, eclipsing the movie industry and attracting the top talent to partake in bingable box sets (Sorry.. ‘series’). 

Now, they will be fighting over subscribers and the quality of their programming will need to be marketed and sold with the objectives of maximising subscriptions and ARPU and minimising churn.

The result will be that budgets that could have been spent on content will be spent on marketing (yes, benefitting the likes of Facebook and Google disproportionately).

And as other commentators have pointed out, online TV is about to become really expensive for the consumer if you want access to everything. There are only so many subscriptions at £8 a month a household can bear. And once more, companies that use data not subscriptions as their main revenue streams are likely to be the winners.

In the meantime, we should be thankful for some of the precedents set by the pioneers in streaming media services: people watching more is a good thing not an additional expense; higher quality is better, not more expensive; original content drives audiences; bigger budgets are a good thing; keep subscriptions low.

I just wonder how many of the above will be true a decade from now.