Is pay-TV on the decline? The Oscars ratings are down. The 2018 Winter Olympics viewership was down eight percent. The entire broadcast industry has been reeling from the crack in the NFL’s rating shield. Even the Super Bowl’s viewing growth decreased this year despite an exciting game.
It seems we are in the midst of a seismic shift in viewing habits across not only the U.S. but the entire world. CNBC reported that United Kingdom subscribers to online streaming services now surpass subscribers to pay-TV services—15.4 million and 15.1 million, respectively.
Streaming and social media video content are set to overtake TV within just a few years. While original content has certainly lured some away from pay-TV, the key reason for the shift is the emergence of social media video.
People haven’t stopped viewing content altogether. Instead, they’ve migrated to different platforms. People still viewed and talked about the Oscars, but the conversation was mostly on social media.
The NFL reclaimed some viewers by live streaming its games over social media video platforms like Twitter. People are moving to services where they can act as both the watcher and talker.
So why has pay-TV declined so rapidly? The shift to mobile and social video has taken its fair share of pay-TV’s business. The primary reason, however, is that the cost of pay-TV is too high, and consumers have grown tired of it.
According to TiVo’s Video Trends Report, 87 percent of cord-cutting consumers said they got rid of the service because it was too expensive and they were unsatisfied with the service.
Many in the TV industry are wondering when the cord-cutting will stabilize. Unfortunately for cable companies, cord-cutting is not stopping any time soon. À la carte services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, HBO, and even CBS have accelerated the exodus from cable subscriptions by providing ways to view their content without a pay-TV subscription.
Social media sites have made the biggest headway by shifting almost all of their efforts towards TV content. From YouTube TV’s launch into pay-TV’s domain to Snapchat’s new episodic content, every social media site is delving into the world of social video.
Facebook Is the Market Leader in Social Media Video
Facebook has emerged as the go-to platform for social media video, and that has been entirely by design. Social video has been the focus of Facebook for the past several years, but their recent launch of Facebook Watch was their first foray into creating a standalone video service. Facebook is going all-in on social video, and their vision is to overtake pay-TV in both media presence and advertising dollars.
Facebook’s math is simple. U.S. users today are spending nearly five hours per day on their mobile devices, which is a 20 percent increase from the fourth quarter of 2015.
The interesting thing to note is that U.S. users now spend more time in apps than passively watching TV. Social media is the primary place those users spend their time, at 51 percent. People are moving away from pay-TV and towards social media video.
What better way to continue this trend than to go after pay-TV’s audience? Facebook Watch already provides much of the same services as pay-TV. Watch streams live MLB games, airs original series, and even hosts exclusive reality shows like Ball In The Family. Facebook also inked content deals to bolster their catalog with online partners such as BuzzFeed, ATTN, and Group Nine Media.
Mark Zuckerberg was prescient when he said, “We’re going to be in a world a few years from now where the vast majority of the content that people consume online will be video.” Just as TV supplanted print media as the dominant advertising force in the last 50 years of the 20th century, Facebook and social media video are poised to do the same to TV in a fraction of the time.
Branded Content Presents a Huge Opportunity for Social Media Video
Brands used to be constrained by the TV schedules and audience demographics. With the advent of social media video, now brands can create a personalized and interactive experience with their consumers no matter the time or day.
Video is a powerful medium. It is interactive, it can tell stories without words, and it can convey information in ways other mediums cannot. It makes sense that video would be the next step in media evolution, from print to TV and now to social video.
Social media video platforms, such as Facebook and Instagram, provide ample opportunities for brands to connect to their consumers quickly. Degree Men, for example, launched a 360-degree video on Twitter that invited fans to experience Stephen Curry’s time on the court. The video has been viewed over 24.3 million times since it was posted last year.
Another example was BarkBox and their music video “Dog Dad Love Song” which received over seven million views on social media. Kiehl’s created an educational video and pledged to donate one dollar to Autism Speaks for every share the video received until they reached their goal of $200,000.
Whether their content was interactive, silly, or for a good cause, these brands all got their names out there using social media video. They leveraged behavioral data to understand their target audience and then produced videos that would best engage their audience. In other words, if you’re trying to sell boxes of dog toys with goofy themes, double down on that theme!
Social Media Has Already Overtaken Pay-TV
Despite the hyperventilating by pay-TV executives, cable TV will not evaporate with the snap of a finger. Instead of being entirely replaced, TV’s role will simply diminish. TV advertising in the U.S. is still expected to command $81 billion, according to PwC.
Yet, the writing is on the wall. Digital advertising spending surpassed TV advertising spending in 2016 and is set to take a larger and larger chunk every year going forward. If advertising dollars are any indication, social media video will soon overtake pay-TV as the main source of video media.
Therefore, focusing your brand’s efforts on this type of media could prove to be the best move for your business going forward. Marketers need to start spending more advertising money on social media video channels. Start doing your research now (these tips from INC.com are one place to start) on how to leverage social media video marketing depending on the platform you choose.
Long-form content—videos that are 20 minutes or longer—has emerged as a huge trend in social media video. You’ll encounter more and more premium content to compete with as the market matures. Professional video content has never been more important for your brand, so why not give Aftermarq a shot at creating the perfect video marketing campaign for you?