TV[R]EV Week In Review: Facebook Makes It’s (TV) Move & Hulu Comes To Cablevision

1. Facebook Makes It’s Move

The biggest move in TV this week didn’t happen on TV at all, but rather, on a mobile app. We’re talking about Facebook’s decision to double down on Facebook Live, creating a separate tab for it on the mobile app along with live reactions, Snappy new filters, and better search results for video.

While it may initially appear as if they’re creating a G-rated version of Chatroulette (and this map feature doesn’t help) what we think they’re really doing is priming the pump for the introduction of “professional video” (aka “television”) onto the Live channel along with lots of YouTube Creators content.

To facilitate the latter, they’re making it okay to include branded content in the newsfeed (so long as it’s marked as such.) That gives Creators a way to monetize their videos on a platform that forbids them from running traditional pre-roll and mid-roll interruptive ads, making Facebook and it’s 1.5 billion users all that much more attractive.

Why It Matters

Facebook is moving into television in a big way and Live is their not-so-secret Trojan Horse. They are looking to bring in Creators too (they get that most people aren’t going to want to broadcast themselves, and that like Periscope, Vine and YouTube, Live will be a Creator medium.)

But imagine Live broadcasts of sporting events and “event” shows like the Oscars or even “Sound Of Music.” Think of all the data that Facebook already has on the people who are watching these shows, liking them, commenting on them. Think about how valuable that data is going to be to the networks. Think about how valuable that data is going to be to Facebook as they begin running some form of advertising against it, either during the show or afterwards, using the targeting information they’ve collected.

Add in the possibility of stealing large numbers of Creators away from YouTube by offering them better deals and more easily identified audiences. (YouTube is launching its own Live product sometime soon, but we’re not all that enthused about it’s prospects due to YouTube’s lack of any real social functionality. We don’t expect it to fail, we just don’t expect it to be a runaway hit.)

What You Need To Do About It

When Facebook calls, pick up the phone.

You’ll also want to examine what your brand or network is currently doing on Facebook, so that when they do launch their TV play, you’re well positioned in terms of data collection.

Finally, take a look at what (if anything) you are currently doing with Creators and how that might translate to Facebook where you can actually learn who your viewers are.

2. Hulu Comes To Cablevision

Cablevision announced this week that they’ll be offering Hulu to their subscribers as just another premium cable network, up there with HBO and Showtime. It’s something (to pat ourselves on the back) we’d talked about at TV[R]EV back in November 2015, and we believe it’s the wave of the future.

As we explained in the aforementioned article, having the MVPDs offer streaming services is a win for everyone involved: the streaming services get free sales and marketing, the MVPDs get additional revenue, additional stickiness and the potential to keep potential cord cutters on board where they can continue to try and upsell them. Consumers get a single bill and a single interface. Everyone wins.

Why It Matters

As the whole notion of “cord cutting” disappears, the tech press can dispense with the whole “TV is Dead” meme. Having everything on one interface makes it easier to track user behavior as well, not just for advertising, but for programming decisions and for recommendations, paid and otherwise.

70% of Hulu’s streams are already being viewed on actual television sets via Roku, Chromecast et al. Moving to the set top box just solidifies a behavior viewers are already engaging in and makes Hulu a good complement to traditional broadcast and cable TV for advertisers.

What You Need To Do About It

Stop stressing about cord cutting and focus on changing monetization models where subscriptions and exchanges of information (email or social log-in for access to content) are the norm. And make sure your local MVPD knows you support Cablevision’s move.

Originally published at on April 8, 2016.

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