CES 2013, or the consumer electronics show, could very well be renamed the Content Everywhere Show. While the show’s focus is primarily on devices, I clearly saw the potential for all of the forms of media that consumers will consume on each of these devices of the future.
Rather than convergence of technology, I saw a proliferation of devices with an appreciation for content that can be tailored to each device. From interactive, to short-form, to motion-detected, there are no limitations to the type of content that can be produced and therefore a device that is best suited to display a particular type of content is required. And CES delivered.
The show floor is a great opportunity to see how content works and appears on the thousands of different devices on display. The panel discussions were also valuable. Companies such as Xbox, AwesomenessTV, Roku, Time Warner, Machinima and Wenner Media discussed topics, including Digital Hollywood and Content as well as Disruptive Technologies. These conversations were great opportunities to share the types of content that is resonating with audiences.
Content; niche is not narrow
It’s clear that content is going niche and that niche is definitely not narrow. Many compare today’s content explosion to what happened in cable TV 30 years ago. The only difference is today even more niche programming will emerge and will be designed for specific devices. Just like channels emerged on our TV’s, expect channels to continue to proliferate on our phones, tablets and on our TV’s — but in the form of applications. And expect content to continue to achieve even greater scale though devices that will all essentially be 100 percent internet-enabled.
Expect over 100 million smart TVs to be shipped by 2016 and internet TV applications such as Roku and Vimeo to continue to provide niche opportunities for content producers. For example, today there are over 700 channels that can be found on the Roku and only 5 could be classified as “mainstream”. This niche specialty entertainment, which is largely watched on tablets and laptops today, will continue to find its way to the TV in the living room.
There will be entire new markets online and old markets, like music videos, that will re-emerge. Cable companies will have to continue to adapt as advertisers will measure their reach by the billions of devices they have the potential to reach instead of the millions of “subs” cable companies can reach. As Russell Simmons, of the once popular Def Comedy/Poetry Jam said, “Expect that old people will continue to get younger” largely driven by their kids alternative media consumption habits. If you don’t believe him, just observe the people around you on your next commercial flight. Scan the devices people old and young are using to consume different types of content.
Brands; Be the media
In a world where one tweet can do the job of driving millions of views, distribution will be fast, content will be cheap to produce and every day will bring a new idea. Brands should pay special attention to this trend as they clearly have the opportunity to not just surround the content, but to also be the content (albeit in a strategic way). Brands must develop their own right to win in the content space. Whether this is through a strategy such as Red Bull’s involvement in the space jump or to Coke’s recent investment in Spotify, brands must find ways to make their presence felt on the variety of devices that consumers will interact with today and into the future.