There have been all too many failed predictions about the future of the TV industry over the years, but one of the ones that persists relates to the demise of linear viewing (i.e. where the publisher/broadcaster curates the content and presents various pieces of content back-to-back in a ‘linear’ stream). Earlier this year, Rene Rechtman, President of Maker Studios, gave linear ten more years. Netflix CEO Reed Hastings was a little more generous and said it would last until 2030.
However, while linear viewing was once derided in the online world, various players – especially on the ad-funded side – have been making moves to create linear experiences. Vevo, for example, created Vevo TV, a 24/7 stream of music videos which can be accessed across multiple devices, including on various OTT platforms. Similarly, Crackle, the Sony-backed video platform, recently launched ‘Always On’, so a video instantly starts playing while the user is browsing for new content. Even YouTube, the spiritual home of on-demand video, now automatically plays a new video within seconds of you finishing one.
While some of us might like to self-select everything we watch, the reality is that linear viewing helps users discover new content, increases their engagement and significantly boosts the publisher’s inventory. One of the companies helping the online video publishers create personalised linear video streams is Iris.tv. Here COO Richie Hyden discusses why we’re seeing a shift back to linear and how his company’s technology works.