If Matt Britton’s vision of the future comes to fruition, marketers will be reaching consumers on TV screens used like iPads—consumers will swipe between individual apps to find TV shows they like, instead of relying on traditional networks to bring them content.
"The TV will become a giant iPad hanging on your wall," said the Crowdtap CEO at Social Media Week on Wednesday, passionately addressing a packed audience at the Times Centre in New York City. "The TV and the computer will become one ... Already, I see kids—eight, nine, ten years old—in Best Buy going up to a TV and trying to swipe it. They should be able to swipe it. Why can’t you?"
In a presentation called "Instagram Killed the Television Star," Britton said TV networks are becoming redundant with the rise of live TV content on social channels, seen most recently in Google’s announcement of $35-a-month subscription service YouTube TV.
"TV networks only aggregate and curate content," said Britton, "I don’t need NBC to curate what I watch when I can see what any of my friends are watching at any time." To Britton, Google’s strategy—bringing live TV to a platform where consumers already are, and at an avoidable price—is the future.
Like Google, Britton sees Facebook, Apple and Microsoft taking aim at TV networks with their own live TV offerings. He calls them the "ecosystem players" because they all have mobile operating systems, social platforms and most importantly, ways to deliver entertainment into the household. Facebook already has live capabilities, Microsoft will lean into Xbox and iTunes is "a beast," he said.
It’s a transition that he predicts will happen quickly, within the next one to two years. "When Apple came out with the iPod," he said, "all of a sudden, CDs were gone. When streaming happened on Netflix, DVDs were just to fill the racks at Walmart. It happened quickly. It happened in 12 to 18 months. This will be like that."
When this shift eventually happens, he said, there will be three types of content users will be interested in—channels dedicated to influencers, scripted shows and sports. Influencers, like the Kardashians, will go direct-to-consumer with their own networks funded by their own investors. "There will be a Casey Neistat app on Apple TV which basically has all of his content," he explained.
Similarly, Britton predicts scripted shows, which continue to be popular, will have their own apps that consumers can go to. Finally, sports, he says, will continue to dominate TV. "If the NFL were to do a deal with Apple, Google or Microsoft, as opposed to the $4 billion deals they have going right now with Direct TV, Fox, NBC, etc., that would drive cord-cutting en masse right away," he said. "Hasn’t happened yet, but that’s what you’re going to see. That’s going to change everything."
Although this might sound like a death sentence to advertisers, it’s actually the opposite. Thanks to the data marketers can utilize from social platforms, it will make it easier on advertisers to target individuals. "TV is going to be addressable," said Britton. "Marketers can say I want to reach Sally Smith, who likes Victoria Secret, who lives in two miles of the mall, and that’s the only person I want to target.’" For this reason, brands, he said, will redirect their large advertising budgets to these platforms.
"It’s about to get super fragmented," said Britton, "and it will probably roll up at some point, but it’s not going to roll up in a traditional model."