PARQOR is the handbook every media and technology executive needs to navigate the seismic shifts underway in the media business. Through in-depth analysis from a network of senior media and tech leaders, Andrew Rosen cuts through what's happening, highlights what it means and suggests where you should go next.
In Q4 2022, PARQOR will be focusing on four trends: this essay is on a trend that hits all four.
I think there are three essays to be written on the topic. One is an essay on how this subtext has been playing out in recent market news (below).
The second will be an essay that highlights how this theme is playing out within and across each of the four themes PARQOR is writing about in Q4 2022. I’m going to write that over the next few weeks.
The third is an opinion piece I’m planning for The Information next week diving into how most of legacy media simply cannot bring itself to move beyond 22 minutes or 44 minutes as a format, and the market implications of that.
I'm keen to connect with subscribers and readers on a free trial to learn more about you need from a subscription service. Click here to set up an appointment: https://calendly.com/andrew_parqor/30min
Towards the end of Mark Bergen’s new book on YouTube, “Like, Comment, Subscribe”, he shares the story of a YouTuber named MatPat who documented changes made by Google to YouTube’s recommendation algorithm in 2015.
In May 2015, videos devoted to “Minecraft” game play had previously occupied 14 slots on YouTube’s version of its home page for people not signed in with Google accounts, and by September 2015 they occupied none. YouTube had “tilted the algorithm to show videos that ‘everybody from my daughter to my mom might like” because it believed it “needed a more broadly appealing welcome mat”. “Minecraft” game play videos - which has been vital to driving engagement - were now too narrowly targeted. Traffic on Minecraft channels subsequently crashed, and it was unclear why. Bergen writes:
Had the audience tired of these? Maybe. Maybe not. "Humans watch what's presented to them," MatPat observed in his video. "What's right in front of their faces."
I love this quote because it succinctly captures a dynamic I wrote about in August: “In a world where YouTube (135MM connected TV (CTV) viewers per month in the U.S.) and TikTok (~80MM monthly active users in the U.S.), increasingly are capturing consumer attention - and advertisers are shifting spend accordingly - the traditional linear TV definition of ‘premium content’ matters less and less.”
I have yet to read or hear anyone define premium content as “what's right in front of [consumer] faces”. You hear or read it more as “attention economy” logic: basically, Netflix telling shareholders that it competes for attention with Epic Games’ Fortnite or linear TV. But I like this definition because it’s a bit meatier than the premise of the attention economy - basically, turning attention into money - and meatier than Netflix’s “if they don’t choose us then they choose something else”.
It’s a ruthlessly simple premise: if content has made its way to be presented to an audience, it is premium content.
If we agree that "premium" content is "content that has made its way to be presented to an audience", relevance and not production value now defines what makes content "premium" in streaming.
Total words: 2,400
Total time reading: 10 minutes
If you think about it, that was and still is linear distribution’s value to consumers and advertisers: Multichannel Video Programming Distributors (MVPDs) provide the pipes, the cable boxes and the User Interfaces to present content on TVs to users. Users turn on a TV and/or a cable box and, ...