The Future of TV: A Clubhouse Chat

April 1, 2021

It’s been a busy few weeks for television. Announcements came out of all corners, from Roku to the NFL. With so much going on, Rich Greenfield, General Partner at LightShed Ventures, and I thought it was an opportune time to gather some of the brightest minds in the industry to discuss the impact of recent announcements on the future of TV.

Last Thursday, we did just that. Rich and I hosted a Clubhouse chat and set out to discuss the current state of streaming, the NFL rights deals, and the tvOS wars. The conversation went above and beyond, though, as friends joined in from Entertainment Studios, FreeWheel, LUMA Partners, Samba TV, and Tubi.

A few highlights from our conversation:

  • Live sports has been one of the last strings binding consumers to linear TV, and the announcement of the NFL’s new television deal was a watershed moment. Thursday Night Football is leaving linear TV and moving to Amazon, where it will be streamed across connected devices, primarily connected TVs. Not only is this a signal that the NFL believes digital viewership will one day surpass linear viewership, but it’s also a signal that Amazon is committed to television (after all, it’s no small feat to broadcast games from all across the country!).
  • The NFL announcement is obviously huge for the streaming world, but how will the viewing experience change for the consumer? What kind of personalization can we expect to see in the coming years? Perhaps we’ll be able to choose between sports commentators, buy merchandise, toggle between viewing angles. Making the viewing experience more fun is table stakes.
  • There’s been a renewed excitement and interest in ad tech. Between the continued struggles faced by traditional advertising channels and the explosive growth of CTV (and the entire ecosystem that’s developed around it), everyone is looking for big players to surface in this space. Who, if anyone, is going to emerge as a clear winner in the streaming wars?
  • Advertising is here to stay, and that’s not a bad thing. Sure, people hate repetitive, untargeted ads, but everyone is realizing the possibility of making advertising so relevant that it can actually be enjoyed as content. Who hasn’t intentionally scrolled back up on their Instagram feed just to watch an ad they’d initially missed? 
  • Roku seems to be winning on multiple fronts. Will other challengers emerge? Can others still catch up? What does seem to be certain is that we’re moving towards a future in which TV will become fully digitized and will remain a focal point of marketers’ omni-channel strategies.

Thanks again to Rich and to all of our friends who joined in from across the industry for a thought-provoking Thursday evening! I look forward to picking everyone’s brain again soon. For those who missed the chat, be sure to join the “Is It Ad Tech or Adtech” club on Clubhouse to be alerted to all future events.