Who said Linear TV was dead? Not us

Who said Linear TV was dead? Not us

Viacom CBS Media Linear TV

Not only has lockdown seen streaming rates rise through the roof, but if the demise of linear TV was ever up for debate, recent reports show that live TV is alive, kicking and here to stay. 

So, what’s the status for linear TV?

The broadcasting industry is witnessing a lot of changes in viewer habits. For the last decade streaming services have surged in popularity, whilst linear TV seemingly hit its maturity. However, more recent developments have seen younger generations who have grown up in a world of social media and OTT viewing begin to re-discover the role of linear.

Most recently, we have witnessed a revival of TV viewer figures during the coronavirus pandemic, mainly attributed to the televisions age-old ability to facilitate communal experiences. When so many people are separated, this sense of escapism and feel good programming provides viewers with a distraction from reality. Current events have inspired real investment in linear, rather than mere admiration of the platform’s highly successful past.

What’s new?

Well, after six years as an online only channel, BBC Three is set to make its return to TV screens. The BBC noted that younger audiences are the focus of the move. Given the immense popularity of BBC Three commissioned shows, the consensus is that viewers will follow the channel back to its original hosting platform.

In terms of innovative investment, now that it has been established that there is a case for development, industry experts have championed the benefits of flexible pop-up TV channels. In the streaming age, where audiences absorb new content at a fast pace, the evolution of short-term linear programming seems key to linear longevity and is something that is already being worked on.

Streaming giants are also looking to reap the rewards of linear growth. Netflix, arguably one of the first platforms to make the move to OTT, has launched their back to the future strategy, going against their digital roots to trial a programmed linear content channel in France. The platform is taking advantage of the social aspect attached to linear, targeting an older demographic whilst also taking steps to avoid saturation in the streaming industry.

Across the pond, Crackle TV in the US is following suit. Launching their ‘Always On’ platform – an ad-supported streaming platform focused on getting back to basics. Viewers can avoid the ‘browser fatigue’ associated with the endless scrolling of a boundless content library – Crackle TV hopes to emulate the traditional TV experience, simply logging on and streaming scheduled content. 


Any product or service in the maturity stage of its life cycle has two possible routes to take – adapt and innovate, or fade into the background – and linear TV is no exception. Although for some time it seemed streaming was paving the way and linear was losing favour, recent development indicates linear is here to stay and ready to compete with its digital counterparts.

Although there’s no denying the power of streaming platforms, the saturation of this market may create room for future TV innovation as viewers search for fresh content. But with innovations from both digital and linear developers seemingly taking inspiration from each other, like pop-up programming and streaming integration – there is strong indication that digital and traditional media providers will complement rather than compete with each other. 

The Role of Cloud Playout

Cloud playout has been a game changer for broadcasters and content providers looking to offload their expensive hardware and infrastructure. It has also enabled broadcasters to transform their playout into a fully remote operation, posing benefits for safety and convenience. As mentioned earlier, the flexibility of a cloud presence for playout is also an excellent foundation for pop-up and temporary TV channels.

Historically, there has always been the veteran TV broadcasters whose activities were deep-rooted in SDI workflows and satellite television. More recently, we have a generation of audiences who are almost exclusively consuming SVOD and on-demand OTT content delivered from the cloud. A resurgence in linear TV viewing only goes to show that consumers still crave the real-time excitement that comes with it, whether delivered through the cloud or via more traditional broadcasting means.

Cosmos from PlayBox Technology is our solution to the challenges of Cloud Playout. Cosmos represents an easy and efficient route to broadcast for both independent and existing channels and media organisations. At the heart of any cloud playout solution should be its ability to support remote teams away from the master control room – a sentiment that has only been emphasised throughout 2020 and 2021. Cosmos supports both hybrid and pure cloud models, bringing innovation and all of the traditional aspects of playout to a 100% virtual environment.

Interested in seeing how Cosmos can elevate your playout to the cloud? Book a free, no-obligation demo with one of our friendly support experts.