Yes. The internet has already changed how people conduct their lives. Now new video over the internet and smart phones will change those lives even more. Google’s YouTube viewers watch more than 1 billion hours a day of video. The large internet players are rapidly penetrating video/TV markets with streaming video, and live video over the internet is already being seen by hundreds of millions of users. In as little as five years, high-resolution video from space satellites could reveal much more about globe events and people. All this new information about the world will stimulate social, political, and economic change. New norms and rules for monitoring everyone’s public activities will develop. National governments everywhere will seek to control the specificity of live video. Public servants and senior corporate officials should expect the public will have access to video of their work activities. Streaming video of the world will become a very large market, and a new generation of technology companies and services will likely be born.
RECENT SIGNALS OF CHANGE:
Imagery satellites are being launched with global video capabilities.
- The Alphabet imaging-satellite subsidiary, Terra Bella, recently acquired in early 2017 by Planet Labs is building and launching a constellation of satellites that can capture the first-ever commercial high-resolution video of Earth from a satellite.
Dramatic rise of video that’s being watched over the internet
- Google’s YouTube’s viewers watch more than 1 billion hours a day. Total video watched on the internet rose from 5 billion hours per day in 2010 to 15 billion hours per day in 2016, while broadcast and cable television hours were level or slightly declining over the same period at around 22 billion hours per day. 400 hours of new content video is being uploaded to YouTube every minute, or 65 years of video per day. Source: The Wall Street Journal, February 28, 2017, p. B1.
- In the United States, all age groups except those over 50 years old are watching less broadcast and cable TV every year. For all age groups, TV watching shrank almost ten percent from 2010 to 2016. Source: The Economist, October 29, 2016, p. 56.
- Alphabet’s YouTube service is launching a new web TV streaming package of over 40 broadcast and cable channels for $35 per month. That is the same price as AT&T’s cheapest bundle. But Alphabet didn’t have to pay $49 billion to buy DirectTV like AT&T did—Alphabet’s margins must be significantly better than AT&T’s.
- Headline of Wall Street Journal columnist, Christopher Mims, on February 8, 2017: “How Millennials Are Turning Snapchat Into the New TV.” Snapchat video clips are never longer than 10 seconds, but they can be strung together into “stories” that can be several minutes. Sims suggests that for Snapchat users watching these stories is a lean-back experience like watching TV. Snapchat in February reported its users view 10 billion videos (not longer than 10 seconds) a day.
Live video over the internet is capturing hundreds of millions of users.
- In January 2016 GoPro teamed with Twitter-owned Periscope to allow users to broadcast live from their GoPro devices connected to iPhones. Users have the ability to switch instantly between the GoPro and the iPhone’s video camera—i.e., each user can do two-camera live action shots.
- Live video is the current big battleground for Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter/Periscope, YouTube, and many smaller startups. China has 200 live-streaming platforms. In September 2016, ii-Media Research predicted there would be over 300 million viewers of live streaming in China, or about half of China’s internet users, by the end of 2016. Source: “Cash Flows in China Live Streams,” The Wall Street Journal, 9/28/16, p. B6. Until recently TV and cable broadcasters exclusively broadcast live video. Live new media video is totally disrupting the traditional media industry.
- In December 2016 China issued new regulations requiring foreigners to submit a formal application with the Ministry of Culture before they can post live-streaming videos from their smartphones and websites.
- In November 2016 The Wall Street Journal reported Amazon has been talking to major sports organizations like the National Basketball Association, Major League Baseball, and the National Football League about providing streaming live sports.
Smart phones are becoming the future platform for almost everything.
- Four of the top five smart phone vendors in China in 2016 were Chinese. The top three companies (Oppo, Huawei, and Vivo) grew significantly in 2016 compared to 2015, with Oppo’s and Huawei’s shipments almost reaching 80 million units. Apple was No. 4 in the market and its shipments shrank in 2016 compared to 2015. No. 5 Xiaomi’s shipments also shrank. Source: The Wall Street Journal, March 18, 2017, p. B3.
- Samsung’s new Galaxy S8 smartphone that will be on retail shelves in late April 2017 will have a larger and better screen than all its major competitors and can also serve as a desktop computer.
Advertisers are rushing to online, digital ads, creating major opportunities for those platforms able to attract the most users’ time. Online, digital ad spending is beginning to approach TV ad spending.
- Digital ad spending is rapidly catching up and could soon be greater than TV ad spending. Global ad spending in 2017 is expected to be ~ $180 billion (33 percent of the total) in digital, online media and ~$220 billion (40 percent of the total) for TV. This compares to global ad spending in 2010 of ~$66 billion (16 percent of total) for digital, online media and ~$181 billion (or 44 percent of total) for TV ad spending.
- An article in The Wall Street Journal on February 1, 2017 titled “Facebook’s Steep Wager on Online Video Has to Pay Off” noted Facebook’s revenue in 2016 is expected to increase 46 percent from the year before, but that this growth is going to “come down meaningfully” in 2017. The article indicated Facebook is betting on video, including Facebook Live, to play a much bigger role in the future. CEO Zuckerberg has apparently said he envisions the company becoming a “video-first” company.
- The advertising world is struggling with this major shift from traditional advertising platforms, such as print and TV, to digital. In early March 2017, the world’s largest advertising firm, WPP PLC, reported its slowest quarter of growth since 2012 of only 2% this year. Magna Global, the adbuying agency owned by Interpublic Group of Cos project global ad expenditures will grow 3.6 percent in 2017 compared to a higher 5.7 percent growth in 2016.
Large internet video players are paying more and more for unique, high-quality content
- The tech companies with streaming capabilities like Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu are developing strong content production capabilities. Source: The Economist, August 20, 2016.
- In early March 2017, Facebook was reported interested in funding or contracting for original TV-like programming. The focus wasn’t on live content. This pivot in paying probably large amounts of money for content is a big change for the company.
- Online businesses are buying traditional media assets. In December 2015, Alibaba Group, China’s e-commerce giant, bought the South China Morning Post and all other media assets from the SCMP Group. Alibaba’s digital strength will enable the 112-year-old newspaper to become a global media entity covering China for readers around the world. While the Hearst Corporation’s Cosmopolitan magazine just announced it is teaming up with Snapchat to launch the Cosmo “channel” on Snapchat’s “Discover” newsstand.
All major corporations now have major digital media presences.
- For most corporations, new digital media has become an important new channel of corporate communications, marketing, and selling the company’s products and services to millions of customers and potential customers. For many corporations—particularly new, high-tech ones—it’s the primary channel. A new book published in 2016, “Super-Consumers,” by Eddie Yoon of Cambridge University describes the importance and influence of the group representing ten percent of consumers that accounts for 30-70 percent of sales and almost 100 percent of “customer insights.” This high-passion group is defined by both its sales size and its attitude to the product. Facebook and Google are focused on developing strong relationships with their super-fans.
PLAUSIBLE DEVELOPMENTS WE COULD SEE IN THE FUTURE
High-quality video content will likely engage billions of smart phone users in the next ten years and likely shape world behavior.
Streaming video will make the world smaller.
- People around the world will have substantially greater access to video of local, national, and global events and places through their smart phones.
- The volume of live video generated by smart phones will continue to increase rapidly.
- Live video from space satellites with the resolution to distinguish a person from a car could be available in as little as five years.
- The demand for high-quality video content to engage billions of smart phone users will grow.
- The need for tools to curate video content quickly will increase.
Live streaming video will be a very large market
- Live high-quality content like sports could be particularly valuable.
- Breaking news and live coverage of global events could become very valuable.
- New live video apps focused on global events like armed conflicts, natural disasters, seasonal migrations, etc. will grow.
- New sporting events that use large geographic areas and can be covered live could develop: ocean sailing, cross-country races, county hide-and-go-seek competitions, etc.
Increased video information of individuals and the activities of commercial and government organizations around the world will be available
- Surveillance and monitoring of everyone in public will increase.
- Demand for full coverage of work activities of elected officials and employees of government organizations, particularly of police, fire, emergency response, and maybe even schools will increase.
- There could be growing demand for information about the lives of senior executives to be made publicly available.
New regulations and tools:
- Governments at all levels will likely develop policies for the capturing and dissemination of video of people, companies, and government organizations.
- New restrictions on how video information can be accessed, transmitted, and used will likely vary significantly around the world from tighter restrictions to fewer restrictions.
- Authoritarian governments could go to extremes to limit access to the new video, particularly video emanating from foreign sources.
- Public opinion will likely vary significantly within each country, and from country to country, on how open and transparent the internet should be and what personal information, particularly about government officials and senior corporate executives, should be private and what protections should be provided.
- Online media companies that search for, gather, store, or transmit personal data could implement new policies to protect an individual’s personal information on video and minimize the ability of third parties to use video information with individuals that can be identified in them.
- New tools and technologies for protecting an individual’s video information online or identifying an individual online may develop.
- With their current global market positions in social media and internet services, US firms could benefit significantly from the growth of streaming video.
- A new breed of firms—the next Snapchat—will emerge focused on video experiences.
- Traditional news organizations will need to figure out a way to provide unique high-quality live video or better analysis of breaking events to remain in business.
- Global social-media campaigns using video may influence governments to discriminate against multinationals they can’t control because of their national origin (e.g., Chinese companies in the United States) more than they do today. Could China treat German companies different from US companies?
- International operations of Chinese and Russian multinationals involved in capturing, disseminating, and storing streaming video will likely be monitored, controlled closely, and possibly severely limited by governments.
- Most advertising monies will likely be spent in online advertising and the most important consumer groups will be spending the majority of their time online. If they already haven’t, companies that sell consumer products or services will need to focus on digital marketing and the use of the internet.
- The massive amounts of video data about events and responses could enable people or organizations to become more effective in predicting or purposely triggering desired surge responses.
- New media campaigns may become much more effective.
- New public affairs capabilities—reaction time (time to get in front of an issue), crisis management, managing the information flow, use of new media tools, participation of more employees in social media responses, monitoring of employees’ social media and online activity, use of live video will likely be required
- New corporate policies about employee behavior outside the workplace or online may be needed, even if only to reaffirm no restriction.
- New corporate policies may be required for executives’ social media postings.