Editor’s note: Audra Priluck is vice president, media and entertainment, at market research firm Maru/Matchbox, Los Angeles. 

The media’s point-of-view is very different from that of consumers, causing the industry to struggle with seeing things from their consumers’ perspectives. We have broadcast networks and cable networks. We have subscription streaming services and transactional streaming services coming through a variety of TVs and plug-in devices. These distinctions matter to us, the media industry, but they don’t make a difference to the viewer. People don’t care to differentiate between a broadcaster and a cable company, which one has subscription streaming vs. transactional streaming. 

Adding to the confusion is the fact that many media companies don’t really understand their new end-buyer. Sure, companies used to do some audience testing but typically the buyers were not the end consumer. Now, increasingly, they are. That’s a whole new voyage of discovery that will require companies to embrace a new consumer-centric mind-set and lose their industry-centric perspective.

Consumers just want to watch what they want, when they want and on the device they want – in a frictionless way. That’s easier said than done, as Turner found out recently with The Match. Designed to be a pay-per-view event featuring Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods golfing head-to-head, the “total audience for the match surpassed expectations across all of our platforms,” according to Turner President David Levy. The problem was the infrastructure was not ready for it.

In the minutes leading up to The Match, the company lost the ability to process payments, so Turner decided to make viewing the match free for anybody who tried to purchase it. And subsequently, those who purchased The Match through cable providers Comcast and Spectrum were issued a full refund. “Turner had reportedly paid $10 million for the event’s bro...