With Google recently making the SDK for Chromecast open to all developers it has opened the floodgates to a rapid expansion of content streamed direct to your TV using web infrastructure instead of traditional broadcast or satellite methods. While the potential is there, whether or not content owners and broadcasters make use of the new platform is another question. TV streaming services from Roku and Apple TV are already well-established. PS4 and X-Box moved beyond video games into media streaming years ago and continue to develop these services. Even Amazon is poised to enter the market. However, streaming media services have yet to revolutionise TV consumption on mass as consumers stick with traditional broadcast, set top boxes and DVR for now. Adoption may just be a matter of time as the platforms broaden content, improve user experience, move into new markets and educate consumers to their existence and benefits. Once we see broader pick up by both users and broadcasters, expect to see three distinct benefits that will trump traditional TV broadcasting:
1. Higher Quality Niche Programming: The advent of digital, cable and satellite television gave us hundreds of new channels aimed at ever more specific interests from fishing to weddings. Streaming services will allow broadcasters to reach global audiences and thus a higher number of people with niche interests making budgets for higher production values more feasible. More exciting will be the entrants of new niche content and innovation around new genres. YouTube has given us a glimpse of this with the advent of new unforeseen popular genres such as Let’s Play and Haul Videos while performing art institutions are finding new audiences by streaming performances to cinemas. Currently, individual territories and markets may not have enough of an audience to support content for specific niche interests but global audiences could deliver the eyeballs needed to make previously obscure content viable.
2. Global Access to Local Interests: Year on year, the number expatriates living around the world is increasing with internal migration in most countries reflecting this trend as well. Yet for Brits abroad, just because you live in Copenhagen doesn’t mean you don’t want to catch up with Coronation Street. ITV has recognised this and has begun trialling a subscription service for overseas access to its most popular soap operas. In the USA, the National Hockey League offers viewers access to games across a huge range of streaming media services through subscription. This allows fans to follow their teams anywhere they live even if the local network affiliate isn’t broadcasting their game. In the search for customers and eyeballs, expect more and more local interest content to become available on global platforms.
3. TV When and Where You Want: Broadcasters have already accepted that viewers value the ability to watch content outside of TV schedules but how about being able to watch outside of your house? So far this idea has been limited to offering content on multiple devices such as mobiles and tablets. What streaming media services offer is the chance to take your subscriptions to whatever TV is near you and simply plug and play – whether in a hotel or over at a friend’s house. Roku, Apple TV and especially the flash drive size Chromecast are all easily transportable for those on the go. Now a business trip or visit to in-laws needn’t get between you and watching the latest episode of Game of Thrones on proper size screen.