Netflix sweeping onto the Emmy Awards scene has television executives freaking out. It should also have advertising executives freaked out, and studio executives, and brand CMO’s.
Emmy nominations for a streaming service is the latest proof point that the industry silos that have dictated how we experience pop culture (television, movies, music, the internet and advertising) are in the middle of a giant mashup. By this, I mean a colossal convergence of industries. Consumer product brands are creating their own media channels, studios are working directly with advertisers, rap stars are premiering new albums on smartphones… and Netflix, a digital streaming service, has crashed the Emmys.
Here’s why industry leaders should be freaking out.
Unlike networks, Netflix isn’t limited in the kind of content they can present, so they have tremendous freedom to produce compelling content, much the way HBO does. But Netflix isn’t hampered by the affiliate deals that HBO and the rest of cable have. Which means Netflix can create any content it wants to, and it can offer a single monthly cost directly to consumers instead of the bundled packages that are currently offered by cable providers.
Netflix’s symbolic ascension may well be the tipping-point for the most popular of the cable networks to go it on their own… off the affiliate-driven cable pipe, direct to the consumer on the internet, rocking the foundations of the television industry.
next. Hit shows are great for advertisers. Advertisers are always looking for new ways to reach their audience. Television has been the financial heart and soul of advertising agencies, but Netflix doesn’t sell advertising. No media buyer in the world can buy time on its hit shows, no matter how right the audience is for their brand. This pushes marketing even further into alternative media, rocking the advertising industry.
And then there’s the creation side of Netflix. Netflix created the Emmy-nominated series House of Cards using big data. Their own big data. Years of information-gathering on consumer preferences about genre, stars, duration, viewing habits… Network and studio executives do not have access to that kind of sleek data because, historically, their relationship with consumers has been through their distribution partners. Netflix’s consumer knowledge changes the game. First, studios will expect data to back up creative pitches, something consumer advertising has been doing for years. And then, for the first time in their history, broadcasters will need to have deep knowledge about their consumers in order to compete.
Netflix is changing industries the way Apple does. Knowledgeable about consumer desires, unencumbered by industry standards, avoiding entanglements of the past.
So, despite what’s being said in the press… awards matter. Time to freak out.