Best TV shows of 2015 (link)

Gabe Weatherhead published a list of his favourite TV shows of 2015. I haven’t watched any of them yet, but several are on my list. I tend to stick to one show at a time.

One comment he made that I find interesting is:

Maybe I'm abnormal, but it's really thrilling that Netflix and Amazon are both making some of the best television around. I haven't cared what was playing on the big three for quite a long time. Unfortunately it's also getting harder to avoid subscriptions to Netflix and Amazon Prime for anyone that's interested in the future of television.

I feel the same way. Ever since I got Netflix, which wasn’t that long ago since it hadn’t officially launched in Australia until recently, I haven’t had the desire to find content elsewhere aside from a couple of shows (e.g. GOT). There’s just so much content in Netflix and the original series I’ve watched have been pretty good for the most part, with a few excellent ones.

Other than at hotel rooms, I haven’t watched live TV in over a year. The few times I’ve turned the hotel TV on it just makes me angry. Most of the content is idiotic crap broken up by way too much, embarrassingly bad advertising. Cable, at least in Australia, is just as bad. Crap content filled with ads. And you have to pay for that?

Fortunately, Netflix has streaming figured out to the point that it works well from an old iPad on hotel Wi-Fi, so there’s no need to watch crap TV anymore.

Personally, I’m also thrilled that Netflix (can’t get Amazon Prime in Australia) is producing so much great content. I have no issues paying the subscription if it gives me the best shows with no advertising. It’s a great business model.

To contribute to Gabe’s list, here are my favourite shows of 2015 in Netflix:

  • Narcos: Season 1 is based in the story of Pablo Escobar. Most of it takes place in Colombia and it’s in Spanish, which makes it feel very authentic. The actors are native speakers and do a great job. It reminded me of Breaking Bad a bit.

  • Sense8: Written and produced by the Wachowski brothers and J. Michael Straczynski. It’s a weird one about eight people with completely different and separate lives that become linked and can see, feel, do, and experience each other. I bet this one is a love it or hate it one. I thought it was brilliant.

  • Peaky Blinders: I only started watching this one last week and based on the first 3 episodes I think it’ll be a good one.

Social and mobile go for gold at London 2012 Olympic Games | Marketing magazine

Simon van Wyk:

That’s not to say that TV isn’t playing an important role, but you can see a dynamic shift in the whole raison d’être of a TV ad. No longer about simply building brand recall and awareness, TV ads are beginning to be put to use as teasers or trailers for the main event which is now deep digital experiences and engagement.

It's encouraging to see advertisers embracing the power of digital marketing. It'll be fun watching what happens with all the excitement that the Olympic Games generate and the marketing opportunities it presents. Pay attention not only to what the official sponsors do, but what other brands do around the games. Think the Solo Lucky Undies campaign during the FIFA World Cup.

Disclaimer: Simon is one of the founders of HotHouse, the company I work for.

The next Apple TV and what I want it to be

There's been a lot of talk recently about what Apple might do in the television industry.

Can they disrupt it as they did to music with the iPod, mobile phones with the iPhone, and personal coputers with the iPad? Will they launch an actual television set (some call it iTV) or will it be a new Apple TV device that connects to your current TV?

Rumours have heated up again in anticipation of the event later this week. Everyone expects Apple to reveal a new iPad, but as far as Apple TV goes, nobody really knows. Although we all like to speculate.

I do think the television industry is ripe for disruption and Apple is arguably the company best positioned to do it.

Here's what I, personally, would like Apple to do:

  • A new Apple TV: As cool as an Apple television set could be, I have no need or desire to purchase a new one. I believe the potential is in the experience of watching television, not in the hardware itself.

  • Apps as channels: A new Apple TV with an iOS-like interface would be awesome. Each "app" could be an entry point to specific content. For example:

    1. Free to Air: FTA channels could be their own app. Tap on the CBS app and watch CBS as you do now, free and ad supported.
    2. Syndicated shows: For those of us that would be happy to pay for shows to avoid ads, this could be the solution. You could buy the new season of Boardwalk Empire and have it appear as an app, with all episodes there. If you buy it at the start of the season, a badge could notify you when a new episode is available. All add free and payment directly to the producers.
    3. Independent shows: Similar to video podcasts. This would've been a great way to distribute TikiBar and similar shows. It opens up the doors for small independent producers to reach large audiences.
    4. Short Films: I can imagine an app for The Fantastic Flying Books of Morris Lessmore.
    5. Themed Content: A series of educational videos or kids shows under a common theme.

    Because these are apps, they don't have to be just a video. They can be interactive and feature additional content. For example, the app for a show could feature interviews, behind the scenes videos, promotions for accompanying iPad and iPhone apps, links to books in the iBookstore, merchandise, trailers, etc.

  • Open to everyone: Like podcasts in iTunes and apps in the App Stores, everyone can publish their content. We, as customers, will get the best of both worlds. Content from the big guys alongside content from indie producers.

As with the App Store model, Apple takes care of the infrastructure and provides access to millions of potential customers in exchange for their 30% cut.

The possibilities are endless.

I'm sure the bright minds at Apple will come up with something infinitely better than what I'm imagining here for their Apple TV strategy. What is almost certain is that the TV industry is about to go through a phase of rapid change where some will win and some will loose. In the end, I believe customers will win.