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More Shifts Ahead

As we say goodbye to a busy and often unpredictable 2014 in the original programming genre, the upcoming year is shaping to be just as evolutionary, as the industry continues to adjust to further shifts in how viewers access and watch scripted and reality shows, sports and movies.

Here are a few predictions for 2015 that will help continue to reshape the cable-programming landscape.

Same-Day vs. Live-Plus-Seven: Live TV viewing will continue to decline as consumers watch more programming through SVOD, DVR, over-the-top services and TV Everywhere offerings.

As same-day ratings decline for most cable networks, more emphasis will be placed on Nielsen live-plus-3 or live-plus-7 measurements as the standard to determine true audience numbers. Networks like FX and HBO are planning to release only gross audience ratings for their top shows, as some series generate more than half of their overall audience after the premiere. It’s still unclear if advertisers will be willing to make the switch until there are more guarantees that commercials will measured across all digital airings.

OTT Services Add Originals: Over-the-top services such as Netflix and Hulu Plus will become even bigger players in original content, competing for writers, actors and producers. Netflix’s four-film deal with Adam Sandler and its announcement of a sequel to the martial-arts fi lm Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon in particular showed that OTT services are willing to go after entertainment’s biggest names.

Other streaming services, such as Yahoo and Vimeo, will launch original scripted series in 2015, making the online space more of a competitive force for the TV industry.

Focusing on the M&Ms: Many content providers will look to serve millennials and multicultural viewers, as both groups increasingly stream their favorite shows over mobile devices. Viewers ages 18-34 along with African-American, Hispanic and Asian-American viewers across nearly all key demos, posted increases in digital video viewing and decreases in TV viewing during the second quarter of this year, compared to the same period in 2013 and 2012, according to Nielsen’s 2Q 2014 Cross-Platform Report.

Millennial-focused ABC Family and MTV have already announced new originals targeting younger viewers, while Oxygen, Lifetime and WE tv will roll out new originals to reach African-American women, who watch more TV than any other demo. Centric has rebranded itself specifically to cater to African-American women. The Real Women of Telenovelas, WE tv’s new reality series, is an effort to reach out to Hispanic viewers.

Scripts, Please: More networks will look to find their own big hits in the scripted comedy and drama space, as scripted shows, will make up the lion’s share of the mostwatched series on cable in 2014. Millennialtargeted Pivot and pop culture channel E! will look to launch first-time original scripted series in 2015. Also look for an increase in short-form miniseries like FX’s Fargoand HBO’s True Detective as networks look to tell shorter stories to maximize ratings.