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Media Amazon

TV Networks Will Emerge From Dark on Streaming

After years of keeping their heads firmly planted in the sand, in 2015, media executives are likely to respond more forcefully to the growth of the digital streaming market, fueled by new data clarifying just how big that market is.

Until now, a lack of precise information on how viewership habits are changing has forced TV executives to dance in the dark somewhat, crossing their fingers as they’ve licensed programs to Netflix or Amazon in hopes such moves wouldn’t cannibalize viewership on their original outlets.

But they will start to step into the light next year for a few reasons. TV ratings firm Nielsen will begin measuring audiences of network TV shows streaming on services such as Netflix and Amazon. The data will give the industry a better idea of how many people have shifted viewing of such programs from networks to ad-free streaming outlets.

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Meanwhile, plans by HBO to launch a standalone streaming service, along with Dish Network’s intention to offer a cheap online version of pay TV, will answer the longstanding debate about the level of consumer demand for more choice from traditional TV services.