This year's Golden Globes awards was the unwitting and unexpected host to a celebration of the evolving TV landscape. Netflix's House of Cards took home Best Actor for Kevin Spacey's role in the drama, and Amazon's Transparent became the first online show to win Best Television Series. Its lead actor, Jeffrey Tambor, also was named Best Actor for his work in the comedy. The big story here is the huge success of direct-to-consumer, digital, on-demand TV, and its meteoric rise to popular culture in such a short space of time.
Since the Golden Globes were introduced in 1943, the television industry has seen significant advances in format technology - from 8mm celluloid, VHS, DVD and Blu-Ray. We have come a long way from the days of having to program your VCR each day to record your favorite TV show, only to find that a change to TV schedule meant you recorded the wrong program. The arrival of the digital set-top into our homes has revolutionized the viewing experience and given a multitude of viewing options for the consumer.
In fact, today's digital format is taking huge leaps forward, playing to consumers' appetite for instant gratification and large quantities of content. We don't want to conform to pre-ordained TV schedules anymore; research has shown we want to "binge" on TV on our own terms. Last year, our annual Consumer Entertainment Index identified binge-viewing as the breakout media trend of 2014 with a whopping 80% of the people surveyed admitting to watching multiple TV episodes or even an entire series in a single sitting. Network providers such as Netflix and Amazon are certainly taking advantage of this trend, releasing entire seasons in a single day.
An interesting development is the fact that these providers are not only streaming content already broadcast, but producing original, never before seen series on traditional TV and getting industry-wide recognition and accolades. Over-the-Top (OTT) players such as Netflix and Amazon are not slaves to the TV and movie studios anymore, but true disrupters, having exceptional fresh content as well as a stellar back catalogue of popular content delivered direct-to-consumer.
Of course, direct-to-consumers format is well-known in the movie industry. The phrase "straight to DVD" has been established for many years but typically carries a more negative message about the quality of the content. But there are signs of change in the movie industry also. Sony's hand may have been forced to have a low-key launch of The Interview, but it showed that movie studios can in fact have success by putting out their own content. It will be fascinating to watch how this year unfolds, especially as many in the industry believe we've entered a new golden age of digital entertainment. Who knows, if more movie studios take a page out of Sony's book, next years' Oscars could see some nominations for movies that have been released in a similar way.
This year's Golden Globe award winners underscore not only this broadening trend in content consumption, but also the fact that the future of entertainment is on consumers' terms and unconstrained by traditional broadcast models or cinematic paradigms.
From everyone at ARRIS, we congratulate all Golden Globe winners and nominees. We are also looking forward to seeing who will receive the coveted Oscars this year - good luck to all nominees, it's certainly been another great year for cinema as well.