If you are active on social media, chances are you have witnessed perpetual streams of video content in social media feeds originating from the pages of new media brands, whom you or your friends are likely following. In December 2017, Edelman Digital’s trends report for brands and marketers in 2018 touched upon the rise of Post Cable Networks (PCNs), a term coined in February 2017 by Jon Steinberg, CEO and founder of Cheddar, to describe some digital content hubs (ex: Barstool Sports, Tastemade, Cheddar, Vice) who curate, produce and publish content seen in countless social feeds.

Here are some reasons why savvy brands and marketers will want to explore opportunities for partnership with Post Cable Networks in 2018.

  1. Online Video Reach Has By Now Eclipsed That Of Traditional Cable Networks

Google reported in 2016 that one in three consumers either never had or no longer had cable and that by 2025, half of viewers under the age of 32 will not subscribe to a pay TV service. Fast forward to 2018, and it is predicted that more people will watch the World Cup on social, digital and mobile video than on TV. In terms of individuals reached, online video is beating traditional cable networks hand over fist. While traditional cable networks, like ABC, CNN, Fox, BBC and NBC, still reach hundreds of millions of viewers per month, the three most popular digital video publishers on Facebook generated just over 18 billion views across their content in the last month of 2017.

  1. Because Digital Media Are Attractive to Advertisers

Certain PCNs have cultivated valuable audiences in specific niches (ex: Food, Finance or Sports). Channels with significant reach and a defined audience can be attractive for advertisers. Furthermore, advertisers can benefit from increased control and transparency in digital as compared to traditional media. In the dominant days of cable TV, advertising fees delivered approximately $90 billion annually to a small group of content networks. Now that the paradigm has shifted, digital advertising spend (partially driven by mobile and video) is now overshadowing that of TV. Digital advertising sales surpassed linear TV ad sales in the U.S. for the first time in 2016, and will surpass it by almost 50 percent by 2020.

  1. PCN Content is Tailored For Digital (and Mobile)

While the traditional cable channels (ex: CNN, NBC, BBC) were originally intended for the cable television medium, new content brands can pop up wherever and whenever you want them to. Heritage cable networks are limited by their business models, and despite being available through internet-enabled systems, are missing opportunities if not finding clever ways to tailor content formats to evolving media beyond digital TV. Granted, certain content formats (ex: sports and live news) are better suited to tune-in channels, but unless traditional media brands stay flexible to innovations in content delivery, they will lose ground to new content brands offering formats designed for new channels and mobile devices.

  1. New Media Companies Are Free to be Authentic

Authenticity, as it relates to brands, will be a big driver of effective advertising and marketing in 2018. Cause-driven marketing has seen rapid growth over the past few years, and in a 2017 study conducted by Pixability, purpose-driven video ads outperformed non-purpose-driven ones in terms of views and engagement. Given nimble organizational structures, Post Cable Networks can be flexible to make business and content decisions which align with company values and the interests of their audiences, more so than heritage cable networks, whose agendas can largely be dictated by their bottom line, by advertisers and by other partners.

  1. Post Cable Networks Speak to Younger Generations

By 2030, Millennials are expected to control as much as 25 trillion of wealth globally. While older generations are partial to traditional TV, millennials are more likely to be scrolling through their phones, and interacting with on-demand video on services like Snapchat rather than with TV. Beyond Millennials, Gen Z (born between 1995 and 2012) are even more likely than Millennials to interact with social and mobile. Gen Z (currently 23 million strong, and set to grow rapidly in the coming years) are receptive to short, bite-sized content nuggets, and favour authentic two-way dialogue over traditional push messages. For these reasons, Post Cable Networks are a gateway to reaching these targets, more so than traditional networks.

Andrew Medalsy is an account manager, Digital, Edelman Montreal.

Tim Mossholder