Variety business editor and interim editor-in-chief Cynthia Littleton joined TV execs Jeff Grossman, EVP, content strategy and operations, CBS All Access & CBS Entertainment Digital; Keith Le Goy, president, networks and distribution, Sony Pictures Television; Alison Hoffman, president, domestic networks, Starz; and Tiran Dagan, Chief Digital Officer of Communications, Media and Technology Business, Cognizant for the “A View From Above” panel discussion at NAB Show’s Executive Leadership Summit, in partnership with Variety Streaming Room, in May to discuss the current state of TV amid fairly tumultuous times.
With a wave of production shutdowns hitting film & TV sets in March and keeping others stuck in pre-production, major TV platforms were had to assess whether or not their existing content libraries could weather the storm of upcoming lapses in new programming.
“We’re seeing increased acquisition, subscriber acquisition, increased viewership, increased engagement, meaning views per customer, I think like a lot of streamers are,” Hoffman said. “The value of library at a time like this I think can’t be understated. People are plowing through content at record pace right now because they have available time. And so I think the better your library, the more diverse your library, and the deeper your library, the more satisfied your customers are and stickier they are right now.”
Grossman echoed this, highlighting flagship “Star Trek” content for CBS All Access. “We’re seeing live TV consumption up over 40 percent,” he said. “A lot of that’s driven by our news content and our live linear news content, and then I think some of our programming has really resonated with audiences, first and foremost, ‘Star Trek: Picard,’ which was an original on the All Access service.”
Grossman went on to note the importance of the nostalgia factor for older series, which spurred Le Goy to agree, saying that shows he once viewed as “maybe a little marginal” are now seeing audiences “explode,” allowing content providers the chance to brand themselves on multiple fronts.
“Traditional broadcasters, new streaming platforms…for the first time in a long time we have the opportunity to re-engage audiences with our products and with our content,” said Le Goy. “And this is an opportunity that I think everybody is leaning in very hard to say, ‘Well, how do I do that? How do I build a new viewing habit?’ So that when we come out of this, and we will, we can come out of it stronger and more connected to our audiences than ever before, and to have a really firm foundation that we can continue to build off of.”
However, while the older brands in the game are clearly benefiting in some respects from the current predicament, there are also several new disruptors, such as HBO Max and Peacock, who are about to enter the fray.
For more information on the NAB Show Executive Leadership Summit, please visit www.nabshow.com/els.