Netflix’s online video streaming service and its impact upon the cable and broadcast television  industries proved to be hot topics of discussion among analysts and executives gathered at the UBS Global Media and  Communications Conference on Monday.

Unveiling the results of research conducted by his company, Dave Poltrack, the chief research  officer at CBS, pointed to a three percent decline in broadcast television viewing so far this  year. An official of one advertising firm released a forecast predicting that broadcast  television’s share of the national advertising market will fall for the first time next year. As  statistics show that households subscribing to Netflix watch significantly less broadcast  television than homes that do not, Poltrack told his audience that “the growth of streaming is seen  at this point to be the major disruptive force in the media landscape today.” Although Todd  Juenger, a media analyst with Bernstein Research, cautioned that the drop in ratings resulting from  the migration of viewers from broadcast to online streaming platforms would have a significant  impact on advertising revenues, Poltrack argued that streaming services such as Netflix offer  broadcasters the opportunity to syndicate old shows that can help build a viewer base for new  programming. Because Netflix competes for viewers but not for advertising dollars, Poltrack  described Netflix as “a formidable competitor” that can also be “a valued partner as well.”

Meanwhile, Ted Sarandos, the chief content officer at Netflix, suggested that cable operators and  broadcasters should alter their business models to fit the new online streaming and video-on-demand  (VOD) paradigm. Among other things, Sarandos said, cable operators should invest in new  technologies that allow advertisers to “serve ads dynamically so that VOD services will be able to  support the delivery of television shows in an on-demand fashion.”   As such, Sarandos maintained: “if you want to fix the economics of ad-supported television, you have to fix the  product.”