Needham & Co analyst Laura Martin says they are — and her new report making that case should rattle media execs. Martin thinks more deeply about corporate strategy and game theory than any analyst I know. And she warns traditional content providers that streaming infotainment companies including Google, Yahoo, AOL, Microsoft and Vevo are shrewdly sneaking up on them by focusing on young people who like to watch videos on mobile devices including tablets and smartphones. The tech companies are “creating short-form premium videos that are difficult to monetize, and therefore largely ignored by incumbents,” who’d rather create hit TV shows, Martin says. The big guns have to pay attention to conventional programming: Attractive shows help to keep pay TV subscribers attached to today’s high-priced packages. “Unbundling threatens up to 50% of the total revenue of the TV ecosystem,” Martin says. But media money follows time, and as mobile devices become more popular we could see “advertising share shifts away from TV and toward the new premium-video online ecosystem.” The big producers are “fighting over the 0-2% viewing growth pie rather than the 50% viewing growth pie.” Martin says that she’d “feel better” about the long term prospects for Big Media “if they were allocating 10% of their budget increases to short form premium video…designed to push young viewers toward their hit TV shows.”
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