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Taylor Swift Brings New Meaning To Event-Driven Programming

Like most computer geeks, I know “event-driven programming” to be the flow in computer programs and networks, where there is an event loop that listens for events and then triggers a call back function when one of those events takes place. Well, that all changed on March 14, 2024 at 6 PM, when Taylor Swift / The Eras Tour (Taylor’s Version), streamed on Disney+.

The concert film, which grossed more than $260 million worldwide at the global box office, made its streaming debut with additional content, that included songs Cardigan, Maroon, Death By A Thousand Cuts, You Are In Love and I Can See You.

The world first learned about Taylor’s Version running exclusively on Disney+ during The Walt Disney Company’s Q1 earnings call, on February 7th.

That night, and in the days that followed, the Disney marketing and promotional engine kicked into high gear, creating a palpable sense of anticipation from self-identifying “swifties” and the general public, alike.

Big media — not wanting to miss out on the fun — did its part.

Regardless of what you were watching, like live morning shows Good Morning America and Today, or nightly news programming, you heard all about Taylor’s Version coming to Disney+. Regardless of what you were reading, USA Today, People, Us Weekly, TV Guide, Billboard, The Hollywood Reporter, Variety, The New York Post, Rolling Stone, you read all about it. I even saw a write up in tech-pub, CNET, on the event… and how you could stream the event if you were traveling outside of the country (using a VPN).

Of course, Taylor Swift’s marketing engine participated in pumping up the volume on the Disney+ event — promoting it to its 539 Million global followers across all social media platforms — and the die was cast.

By March 14th, the hype associated with this event had whipped the country, and perhaps the world, into a frenzy — an event-driven, programming frenzy.

So event-driven programming is what you are going to be seeing in streaming in the years to come. Whether it’s a singular event, like the Taylor Swift / Eras Tour movie, that Disney paid $75 million to stream, or multiple events, like the 10-year, Major League Soccer deal, that Apple paid $2.5 Billion for the rights to stream.

I think two things are driving streamers, like Disney+, Apple TV+, YouTube TV and Prime, to event-driven programming...

The first is the fact that many of the ‘views’ of event-driven programming take place while the action is actually happening. Most people want to watch games when they are happening, rather than later in the day, week or month. That means the streamer is realizing that view today, or this week, or this month, at the latest. These types of views factor into monthly and quarterly metrics, which is what streamers need to keep Wall Street happy in 2024.

The second is the fact that this type of programming brings back good, old-fashioned, water cooler chat. Whether people will actually congregate around the water cooler today, or this weekend, or this week, remains to be seen, but people will be talking about — or more likely texting about — Taylor Swift and Disney+ for a good long time. This chatter makes it easy for Disney+ to secure premium placement with streaming device manufacturers like Roku, Apple TV and Amazon’s Fire TV.

Event-driven programmming is here, and it is here to stay. But is event-driven programming the tip of the spear, for streamers, or is it the spear itself? Some streamers believe they will need catalog product, but only enough to give their offering a bit of breadth. Others believe they will need a significant catalog to be a significant player in the streaming space.

I, for one, think Disney is approaching the streaming market correctly; event-driven programming, backed by an extensive catalog, seems like a winning combination to me.


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