THINK: The Four Ideas That Matter in Digital Media This Week
Your 60-second read for 10/18: Is Netflix too much TV?; oh, this election; what’s Twitter’s problem; and more. This is what matters this week in digital media.
1/Netflix crushes growth numbers. But who is going to watch all this TV?
Added: 370,000 domestic subscribers. Added: 2.3 million international subscribers. Rolled out a price hike. Increasing the hours of original content by over 60% in 2017. For cord cutters and cord nevers, Netflix is generally, wonderful news - it’s easier than ever to get by on a streaming patchwork of Netflix + HBO + Hulu. Depending on who you ask, we are in the golden age of TV. Media consumption is up an hour this year vs. last (per Nielsen) but at what point do we disconnect because we need to buy milk? There’s an upper limit, and therefore diminishing returns, to how much we can watch. We're not there yet but we're getting closer. And old series (like LOST, at 92 hours long) are waiting to be discovered by those who never caught them the first time around, which competes for time with new shows like Westworld. Winner: viewers. Loser: our social life. More from WSJ.
2/This election isn’t over November 8.
I miss cat videos. And dog videos, and cuddly cross-species co-mingling of horses and goats. This is because my Facebook feed is overrun by coverage of this election. What Trump said. What Hillary did. Who will win. Politics aside, Jane Democrat is unlikely to convince Joe Republican to change his or her vote (and vice-versa). Does anyone doubt the political drama will continue November 9, in our 21st century reality TV show nightmare, America? This is why this matters in digital media: because social networks like Facebook are some of the largest news sources, and are essentially reinforcing the worldview we already have by serving up the news we want to hear, and suppressing the stuff we do not. So we lose out on alternative points of view, and become more entrenched in our beliefs. Our job: do not take anyone’s word - or Facebook post - for it, but seek out the facts, and get informed. At least there's SNL.
3/We need to stop complaining about advertising.
You can’t use ad blockers to read The Atlantic anymore. Your choices: let ads in (via whitelisting), or upgrade to the ad-free subscription model for $4/month. I’m the first one to get on the “ads are terrible” bandwagon, because many ad experiences (hello, pop-unders) ARE pretty shitty. But here’s the truth - all the content we consume must be paid for in one fashion or another. Facebook isn’t free. HBO isn’t free. And ABC isn’t free either. Either the viewer pays, or the advertiser pays. Advertising needs an upgrade in this digital era, and rest-assured the ad industry has a lot of passionate people trying to figure that out. In the meantime, we should cut media companies just a little bit of a break. More from Ad Age.
4/Why is the most visible social network of this election struggling so?
In political news, the top three news topics are Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton and Twitter. Every day, the headline is about who said what to whom on Twitter, and the networks put up on their screens actual images of the Twitter product. Free marketing, built right in! Twitter, for all it’s woe-is-me growth, is critical to the world of media. And yet, it’s struggling. Nobody wants to buy it. User growth has stalled. This is Twitter’s problem: it’s great as a news source, it’s terrible as a social network. I follow thousands of people and never, EVER scroll through my Twitter feed. Do you? Twitter is difficult to use, and for non-users, difficult to understand. Facebook is so much better at being a social network for us, and is encroaching into news as well (see point #3). Twitter, on the other hand, is the perfect 21st century version of the “we interrupt this program to bring you” breaking news. Why then, is Twitter broadcasting NFL games? Twitter is live, Twitter is news. That’s how I’d think about it. Twitter is at a unique place in its lifecycle - it’s the wrong product, but it’s also a product we can’t live without. More from The Drum.
Todd does marketing at CakeWorks Video and digital strategy at Hastings Studios. Check out CakeWorks’ Worth Reading Video News, the once-a-week must read video newsletter!