Half-Full or Half-Empty?

It’s been more than a decade since the first YouTube video was posted in April of 2005, and the impact of over-the-top video remains hotly debated.

Some look at the increase in multichannel-video subscriber losses in the first nine months of last year as confirmation of a generational shift, with millennials coming of age as cord-cutting OTT consumers. Based on those trends, Magna Global is now predicting that multichannelvideo subscribers will decline by more than 6 million homes between the end of 2015 and the end of 2020.

Others dispute those projections and go even further, contending that terms such as cord-cutting make it di_ cult to truly understand how the market is changing by reducing the behavior of younger consumers to headline-grabbing stereotypes. Yes, pay TV subscribers are declining, these researchers have said. The losses remain small, though — roughly 1% of the market — and the oft-predicted dramatic collapse has yet to occur. In fact, cable companies in 2015 had their best year since 2006.

This “glass half full”vs. ”glass half empty” debate, as researcher Howard Horowitz has called it, won’t be settled anytime soon. Nonetheless, “the market changes aren’t trivial,” Horowitz said. “Complacency is out. You have to take the market seriously and pay attention to millennials by providing them with the kind of services they want.”

We hope that imperative will make Multichannel News’s annual Viewer Watch report, with its focus on the impact of the changing use of video, more valuable than ever.

As usual, this report is based on interviews with a wide array of senior TV executives and a number of top researchers. The features based on those interviews are then followed by eight pages of data, covering virtually every aspect of the industry, from trends in traditional pay TV subscribers to subscription video-on-demand customers and the use of new consumer-electronics devices.

Taken together, the features and data are designed to help readers to dig deep into the trends that are transforming their businesses, and to better understand the opportunities and challenges facing the industry.

Like previous versions of this annual report, the 2016 Viewer Watch was made possible with the help of a number of researchers. Among the organizations that were particularly helpful in providing data, we’d like to thank Horowitz Associates, Magna Global, PwC, Nielsen and SNL Kagan.

Contributing writer George Winslow compiled the data, conducted the interviews and wrote the articles.

To access the full report, including charts, please click here.

RELATED:Viewing Shifts: Hype and Reality | Embracing the Enemy: OTT Services Pose Big Risks, Bigger Opportunities