Every day brings news about an exciting new deal to stream some live event on Twitter. Today, we learned that Bloomberg will stream all three presidential debates. Last week, the first Twitter-streamed NFL game went off without a hitch. In the future, more and more live events will be streamed on Twitter, Facebook, and elsewhere.
The problem is, live events are one of the last things keeping the traditional TV industry healthy. Audiences for scripted shows have fragmented, and DVRs have made the idea of watching commercials seem antiquated. But at least TV networks had a monopoly on live events like sports and awards shows. Now, that's coming apart at the seems. In a blog post today, BTIG analyst Rich Greenfield talks about how the streaming shift could exacerbate a downward spiral for the media companies that own TV networks:
"The initial problem caused by ratings declines are advertising shortfalls. The larger risk is that less time spent watching TV drives an acceleration in [cord-cutting], which has already reached the 2% per year level. If both core revenue pillars of the media ecosystem weaken, it is only a matter of time until programmers will need to cut back on their original programming spend to protect margins…"
[Photo: Flickr user JHill] CZ