Social Media will become a viable choice for Content Distribution.
Social Media is defined as; forms of electronic communication through which users create online communities to share information, ideas, personal messages, and other content. Content Distribution, as it relates to television can be generally defined as; the systematic placement of entertainment programming throughout a specific territory. The content distribution team, may currently choose several different strategies and platforms; broadcast network television (ABC, NBC, CBS…), syndicated broadcast television (various television stations throughout the country), cable television (Time Warmer, Comcast..) satellite television (Direct TV, DisH…), internet based streaming sites (Netflix, Hulu,…), internet based social media platforms (Facebook, Youtube…).
Despite the current Social Media definition, there has always been small, personal communities to share ideas and messages. The later was called “water cooler conversations”, “hanging out”, and “talking on the telephone”. However, technology has now connected the populations of the world in ways that most could not imagine 15-20 years ago. In regard to television, the closest program to “go viral”, was ABC’s “Who Wants to be a Millionaire”. The gameshow airing in primetime on consecutive nights, broke virtually every ratings record. Elevating host Regis Philbin, to the status of “The Man who saved the Network”. A statement that is arguably true.
Now the internet, and new tech hardware has taken social media to it’s current form, and placed all content within it’s streaming grasp. SnapChat, the disappearing message app, has launched a new entertainment feed called “Discover”. Facebook’s newsfeed is more substantial everyday, and I wouldn’t rule out scheduled programming going forward. Twitter has increased the availability of embedded video, and may stream content live regularly at some point. And Youtube, has become a viable alternative to television as we currently know it. And with the addition of NFL programming, it’s footprint will only grow at an exponential rate.
What we have in effect, is a convergence of platforms which compete for public attention. The question is, can you get enough Dr Phil, Live with Kelly and Michael, or Entertainment Tonight by liking their Facebook page, or subscribing to their Youtube channel? The television studios are hoping the answer is no, or at least, not anytime soon. However, unlike the terminal, historic decision to go VHS or Beta. Hollywood is making sure their programming is available on all platforms. As the public decides who the ultimate distribution survivors will be. The studios will be ready to expand or shutdown, whatever the situation or business decision warrants.
So the future of Social Media is an ever increasing intimate relationship with Content Distribution. The day may come (sooner than later), when you watch your daily episode of Ellen, on her Facebook page. The same is true for any other programming that you currently find on broadcast or cable television. The technology is here, the studios and social media platforms are just waiting for the FCC, and the Supreme Court to catch up.