I decided to watch “The Resident” on Fox.com to analyze the advertising and to see if that can tell me anything about who Fox is trying to target. Since I am watching digitally, there are fewer commercials. There are five commercials in total. The first commercial at 12:10, but it skipped right through. At 20:53 I received the option to select one ad or multiple ads. First I watched a heartwarming commercial for Nationwide that felt family oriented. Next up was a Verizon commercial. Then a Hidden Valley Ranch “without ranch, pizza is naked” advertisement. Then a Royal Caribbean ad. I would then assume “The Resident” is trying to advertise to adults with families, which is why the 18-49 audience makes sense. Finally, Showtime showcased its original drama “Homeland”. I found this ad odd since Showtime is owned by CBS Corporation, not Fox. On the next commercial break I selected the “one ad” option. FoxNow asked me questions to make my ad experience more relevant by selecting my gender and age. It asked me about children, pets, housing, vehicles, entertainment, if I buy the latest technology and gadgets, if I travel, and if I want to watch ads in Spanish. I find it fascinating that the technology to target audiences and enhance the viewer ad experience exists.
By Ali Zaslav
What’s Changed in TV Distribution?
In the television business, distribution is the key component in making content accessible and viewable by consumers on traditional and new platforms. Distribution is not only the way programming reaches audiences, but is a large component of programmers and distributors business models.
Traditionally TV distribution used to be much simpler; it was primarily through TV and consumed on the TV set. In this old media structure there were barriers to reaching consumers, (you would have to own a network or have a program carried by one). Today broadband allows for video content to be carried and viewed on the web. Countless individuals and companies can now reach viewers in new ways with all types of video content.
Television is still the primary way people consume video but new devices and new content are beginning to change consumers viewing behavior. Viewers can watch traditional TV or now have the option to aggregate their favorite videos through many new options like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, or TV Everywhere and watch them on their TV, or a tablet, phone or computer. The rise of new platforms to distribute TV content through DVR and VOD plus online viewership has resulted in a number of exciting developments for programmers and distributors, as well as real threats and challenges.
Right now television content distribution can be broken down into three categories: traditional distributors, new challenging distributors, and programmers that try to take advantage of all avenues of distribution. Programmers now distribute through the traditional multi-channel operators (Time Warner), phone companies (Verizon & AT&T) and satellite distributors (like Dish and DirectTV) and new avenues like apps, TV Everywhere through a cable operator or digital offerings like Netflix.
Traditional Distributors in the TV Market
MSO’s, satellite, and phone companies are actively trying to delve into the growing market of cross platform viewing and video streaming. A recent development is TV Everywhere.
Comcast successfully released Xfinity on demand and struck deals with cable networks, broadcasters, and pay TV to stream their content online for Comcast subscribers. Applications like TV Everywhere are being released by a multitude of distributors, allowing consumers to stream their carried programming on any tablet, phone or computer. Time Warner now has TWC TV and Cablevision has TVtoGO. Phone companies also provide online streaming; Verizon streams FiOS TV and AT&T streams U-verse.
In February, DirectTV joined the online game and released DirectTV Everywhere. For traditional distributors, “TV Everywhere” has become an important part of their distribution model. But their applications have a lot of competition coming from Netflix, HuluPlus and Amazon which offer library’s of content and more recently original or exclusive programming.
Rising Challengers to Traditional Distributors
The development of broadband as a vehicle for video has spurred huge entrepreneurial investment in companies like Netflix, Apple, Amazon, Hulu, YouTube as well as user-generated content. Traditional distributors are being challenged by new online distribution channels like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, Apple TV, and Google (YouTube). These distributors are offering very appealing services to consumers and at low costs (Netflix & HuluPlus: both $8 a month and Amazon Prime $79/ yearly), or in the case of the web, Google or YouTube for free (you only need to have broadband). In addition, there is easy access through many devices like the computer, Xbox, iPad, etc with a wide range of content. We know this is appealing to consumers since Netflix recently grew to almost 28 million subscribers.
For the past few years Netflix, Amazon and HuluPlus have provided old shows, almost like a library service. This year Netflix shook up its programming strategy when it released original content “House of Cards”. They did what no distributor or programmer has done before: presenting an entire television series “House of Cards” to subscribers upfront. The viewer can than choose to watch the show all at once or at their own pace instead of once a week. In some ways, this strategy makes Netflix a competitor to HBO and cable channels. It also has blurred the lines as to what kind of company Netflix is: a distributor or original programmer? Further following a similar lead, Amazon is now promoting that they have exclusive content that you can only find and watch on Amazon.
Cable channels like A&E, Discovery, History, Lifetime and many others have iPad applications. Disney offers “Watch” to stream ESPN and Disney Channel to computers and other devices . Recently on the broadcast side, broadcasters have been making more content available on their websites and through services like Hulu. Since broadcast don’t rely on sub fees they have been much more aggressive in moving their content to other platforms than cable. And just this month ABC and CBS both came out with tablet applications to stream their television series.
Distributors have been and must adapt to new technologies, platforms and consumer demands. Despite the buzz that cable and broadcast are “dying mediums,” the Neilson graph below shows that while online viewership is increasing, people are still consuming a large percent of content on the TV set.
The real measure of the success of TV distributors will be how well their offerings satisfy consumer interests in viewing content how and when they want too. If the traditional distributors don’t provide it, new companies like Netflix and Apple will meet that demand.
by Caitlin Desjardin
In the television world, and the entertainment world in general, distribution is where it all begins. Distribution, and all the various facets that it encompasses, is the machine. It is the force behind every production that is made, behind every network deal that is signed, and behind every advertisement that is created. Essentially, distribution allows the television business to be a business.
When discussing television in the broad sense, it refers to everything from the syndication of programs, to brand creation, to network affiliates, to satellite agreements.  It is the way that consumers gain access to content and the way that production companies, networks, and stations earn revenue. The term “distribution” is such a blanket word, because it could be argued that almost everything done in the television industry relates back to some sort of distributional motive.
That being said, the modern state of the distribution world can be divided into three main categories: broadcast, cable, and other media distribution deals. What is so interesting about the current state of the distribution market is that “other media” has increasingly become dominated by internet distribution deals, on services such as Netflix and Hulu. The future of distribution and the television industry in general seem to be heading in this direction, and distribution will be a huge factor in its success.
- NBCUniversaland Verizon (FiOS TV) reached a long-term agreement that would allow Verizon to carry and distribute all NBCUniversal programming live and
on-demand to subscribers. This access to NBCUniversal programming includes broadcast as well as cable, meaning that Verizon can now distribute NBCU subsidiaries such as USA, Bravo, Style, Syfy, Telemundo, E!, and the NBC Sports Network. In the second part of the deal, Verizon was promised rights to carry Olympic Games and four Comcast SportsNet channels, of which include those in the Philadelphia and New England market areas. 
- As sometimes happens in the distribution world, and a testament to how powerful those who hold distribution rights can be, there can be disputes, such as the recent one between Cablevision and Tribune TV that strongly impacted Fox affiliates. Cablevision subscribers in states such as NY, PA, CT, and NJ were slammed with no access to Fox stations when Cablevision and Tribune clashed over retransmission fees in late August. As a result, Tribune denied Cablevision customers access to seven affiliates that were Fox, CW, and MyNetwork stations. After two months the blackout ended (terms of the agreement were not released) though it would not be surprising to see these distribution issues regarding retransmission fees appear again in the future. 
“We sincerely appreciate the patience of our customers as we worked to reach an agreement that is consistent with our focus on minimizing the impact of rising programming costs.” – Cablevision
- One of the best scenarios for a distribution company is when syndicated television shows prove to be continuously successful. This is certainly the case for the CBS4]) recently renewed both of these games shows for 2015-2016, meaning that the ABC-owned stations will continue to be able air these shows on their affiliate stations. Television Distribution company, who distributes Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy! in the United States, both of which have been the top syndicated game shows  and recipients of countless awards. The ABC Owned Television Stations Group (that reaches over 20% of US households [
- Stepping away a bit from the specific broadcast television distribution deals, CBS Television Distribution president Scott Koondel was recently named senior VP and chief corporate content licensing officer. Why this is important when talking about the current distribution snapshot is because it shows the change in the structure of5] television distribution, and where it will most likely go in the future. Because of this restructuring, Koondel will now take on a roll that will require him take on the CBS licensing issues on the Internet, something that CBS was not previously actively involved in. This immense increase in distribution on Internet platforms has grown exponentially as of late, and is really where the entire television industry is headed in the future, with distribution leading the way. [
- CNN has created a new subsidiary called CNN Films, that will allow it to integrate documentary films into its television network. CNN Films will buy the desired full-length documentaries, and then distribute them during primetime on CNN. Having this new unit will allow CNN to manage the distribution of their desired documentaries both in terms of showing it on their network, as well as give them the added bonus of potentially distributing the documentaries in theaters. 
- ION Media Networks, Inc. partnered in a recent distribution deal with DIRECTV. This deal, while not specifically released, will allow ION Television to be available nationwide to all subscribers of DIRECTV.  Recently, at a Leadership in Communications panel in Syracuse, NY, ION Media executive Doug Holloway discussed the journey of the ION television network, and how important it is to fill the “white” areas of distribution where ION is not currently carried.  ION Media Networks Overview (Video)
- In what has been regarded as potentially one of the biggest distribution deals of the past couple months, CBS Corporation finally announced that they would be engaging in a licensing agreement that would allow the CBS television library to be distributed via Hulu Plus, the paid subscription service facet of Hulu.com. This means that users will now have the ability to stream classic shows such as “Star Trek” and “CSI: Miami” on Hulu, as opposed to only being able to watch CBS video on the CBS website, as exists now. This is expected to go into effect January 2013. 
“This marks another agreement that meets the growing demand for our content on new platforms.” – Scott Koondel, Senior Vice President of Corporate Licensing, CBS Corporation
The overall trend of the current distribution market can be seen clearly, whether it be in Koondel’s position switch, CBS’s licensing agreement, or many of the other recent distribution deals. While television is still the most popular platform to watch content on, more and more consumers are turning towards the Internet. As such, and because distribution is essentially the backbone of the television industry, it must adjust with this rapidly changing market, something that is occurring now and that we will continue to see in the imminent future.
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