Shifting Focus In a Multiplatform Age

Cord-cutting has proven to be much less of an issue than many people were predicting just a few years ago, prompting some analysts to raise their projections for multichannel subscribers. But if the cord isn’t getting widely cut, the business models that have long sustained the multichannel TV industry are showing some signs of fraying, with the launch of new over-the-top ventures from Sony, Dish Network, CBS and HBO.

How successful these products will be remains open to question, given the problems faced by some earlier OTT offerings like Redbox Instant, which was shut down last year. But the plans are a clear sign of widespread unease about the growth potential of multichannel TV in an era in which Magna Global’s upwardly revised multichannel counts still show a drop from 103.6 million in 2014 to 102.9 million in 2019.

In the light of those worries, we hope that Multichannel News’s annual Viewer Watch Special Report, with its focus on the impact of the changing use of video, will be even more valuable than ever in helping our readers navigate changing audiences in 2015 and beyond.

As in earlier years, the report includes an extensive compilation of data covering virtually every aspect of the pay TV industry, from trends in multichannel subscribers and over-the-top homes to online video ad projections and the use of new consumer electronics devices. In addition, it includes two features based on extensive interviews with more than two dozen top TV executives and researchers.

As always, the goal has been to dig deeply into the data to uncover insights that often upend conventional wisdom about consumer trends and to provide readers with a deeper understanding of how the business is really changing.

Like previous versions of this annual report, this year’s Viewer Watch was made possible with the help of a number of researchers. Among the research organizations that were particularly helpful in providing data were Horowitz Associates, Magna Global, PwC, Frank N. Magid Associates, Nielsen, Fox Cable Networks (which compiled some Nielsen ratings data for this report), and NBCUniversal president of media research and development Alan Wurtzel, (who provided some charts).

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

To view the full Viewer Watch report, please click here.