Interesting developments in TV - content creation and delivery (Part 1)
'You ignore the Internet at your peril' Eric Schmidt told his audience at last month McTaggart Lectures.'The Internet is fundamental to the future of television for one simple reason: because its what people want' So has the internet finally brought the sweeping change its promised for year to the TV content supply chain?
Well it’s certainly started. For reasons you may already recognise, your television watching experience is already fundamentally changing. It seems that the perfect mix of available technology, economic pressures, consumer desire and political will have converged to set the proverbial cat among the pigeons and make for a more dynamic disruptive TV market.
At Digital Ministry we have looked at a number of papers that advocate this metamorphous and have listed their collective predictions. Some are some may seem obvious, some controversial, and some are just speculative. Below is the first part of a 4 part series into the changes in TV as we have divided the predictions and changes into the below categories.
1. Changes in TV content creation and Distribution
In part 1 we have listed how we predict the creation of content to change and the knock on effects. Have a read and tell us if we have missed any or you disagree with any?
User Generated TV Contet (UGTVC) will grow and grow and GROW
UGTVC will be increasingly ready for prime time. Online (or software) agents will mine, cull, and publish these popular stories on future “YouTube” sites. This will result in an extremely long tail of content, with literally billions of titles served side-by-side with traditionally produced studio content. This will put content discovery technology centre stage as people look for the machine to learn and deliver the best experience due to the sheer volume of choice (More about discovery later).
Semi-professional and amateur film and TV-making will also flourish, As lower cost professional editing and production tools reach the mass market, user-generated content (UGTVC) will acquire a high level of quality. Furthermore, experienced but out-of-work Hollywood professionals and other skilled amateurs will produce their own high-quality content on shoestring budgets. The box office success of low-budget films such as “Paranormal Activity” and “The Troll Hunter” demonstrates that viral marketing can fuel positive revenue outcomes for the independent film market. Going forward, web-based collaboration tools will give these amateurs alternatives for marketing their content. This will also lead to the growth of decentralised methods of funding projects and finding affordable, skilled technical and creative people they need to execute their vision and deliver low cost quality content to the mass market.
Non-traditional TV content generators will also rise. In the same Mc Taggart leactiure Schmidt said the following ‘Some have suggested Google should invest directly in TV content. To argue that misunderstands a key point: Google is a technology company. We provide platforms for people to engage with content and, through automated software; we show ads next to content that owners have chosen to put up. But we have neither the ambition nor the know-how to actually produce content on a large scale. However word is that Facebook wants to be the new YouTube according to speculation coming ahead of this week’s Facebook F8 conference in San Francisco. And even though they deny it, you may even see Google to begin to snap up independent production companies and start to create their own content so as not to lose out. Or they may even buy a major network (or two) in the US and really take the fight to Facebook. So if this happens, then watch telecom companies rush to buy broadcasters . If you think about it, these telecom companies are already under pressure to retain broadband and land line subscribers, so TV in the tri-service mix is essential for them to compete. Also traditional print will migrate to TV. Look at Fairfax with SMH.TV already, or the Guardian in the UK with is new declared focus on Video. Long play video or TV programs are the longer term plays with these companies as text has proven to be a lost cause.
Consumers will redefine what TV content is
We have all had enough of reality TV...Right??? Well no really, as content creators are always looking for ways to stay fresh and in sync with the pulse of the consumer and to do it at the lowest cost, hence the popularity of reality. But one new way to do this is to invite consumers directly into the process and ask ‘real’ people to contribute to fiction. Imagine that your favourite show airs on Wednesday night. Until Friday night, you can participate in online collaboration sessions to develop and vote on new ideas for the next week’s episode. On Friday night, the discussion is closed, and the producers write and tape the show between Saturday and Tuesday. On Wednesday, we all tune in to see the show’s latest episode.
Gaming also will provide a new consumer-created content source. Today’s massive multiplayer online games have a look and feel that rivals that of newly released films. Given the visual quality of a game like “Prince of Persia” and the compelling interactions among avid gamers, a portion of that game time can be immensely watchable, even to those not actively participating in the game. Or, think about the virtual world cup in 2020 which will have real avatars playing on each side, managed by real ‘football’ managers and playing in global leagues.
It’s from the likes of game play that we will develop a need to see things from our angle of choice. They may view plots from different characters’ viewpoints, or from different camera angles. Producers will cater to these trends by developing specialised content that incorporates these sensory and plot elements.
This will lead to the rise of 4D. Have you ever gotten hungry just watching a cooking show? What if you could smell it too? New sensory elements are emerging and enable consumers to have more choice in how they interact with their content. Olfactory reproduction will enable viewers to perceive smells and taste in real time. Tactile reproduction will let them feel the impact (within reason) on a driver as he crashes his car or the waft of a sea breeze at the beach on a warm summer day. Above all, the experience will be natural and nonintrusive. Viewers will not need clumsy helmets or glasses, and will be able to “disengage” from sensory stimuli as simply as turning down the TV’s volume. But when viewers do fully engage, the TV experience will be immersive and deeply stimulating.
Content becomes a commodity
With the above proliferation supply of content like ant commodity will need to become more sophisticated. With end user suppliers been forced by competition to reduce their margins and with an ever extending long tail of content, the costs will be passed up stream to content wholesalers and ultimately to content producers. This must ultimately lead to a yield management culture on content and the rise of a spot buying market, where end distributors will buy on the fly content based on linking it to actual consumption rather than potential demand. As an extension of this content security especially with Pay TV OTT content will become a bigger issue. Platform operators will expect the same levels of security on smartphones and tablets as they have on the set top box (STB). They also want a managed security service and not just Digital Rights Management (DRM) security.
So with the wave of all that content coming our way there will be opportunities for many start-ups in low cost program and games creation, content brokers, and investors with money to fund the above. As this will be a pretty fluid article we will add any further suggestions to the list of you feel we have left anything out.
Distribution of all this new content commodity
As for distribution, of this content IPTV/Over the top (OTT) is apparently the new Hybrid. OTT may be the new IPTV but the true killer combination is a mix of both. IPTV will continue to deliver consistent broadcast and quality on-demand which will be complemented by OTT to deliver niche content, applications, gaming and communications. We are already seeing DVB/T OTT hybrids with the likes of GoogleTV in the US and Cubovision in Italy but I see a number of IPTV service providers starting to enhance their solutions with OTT delivered media.
OTT offers independent producers of content worldwide distribution and access to global markets. Scarcity of bandwidth has an evitable effect of disproportionately empowering the industry distributors that currently tightly control on who gets to see what and where. This is where the lawyers and their Government lackeys will step in. Incumbents will simply use regulation to slow or even stop innovation. This is understandable as incumbents who have invested billions in satellite networks and laying cable have a lot to lose. They will innovate for sure, but lots of legal lobbying will be used also as their innovation cycles are slow. They will do this to slow adoption of disruptive technology. Political debate heating up in the US currently that this is causing long term economic problems as innovation is being stifled.
The most obvious outcome is the loss of Net neutrality and the development of a two lane internet. The fast lane for the incumbent’s (who laid the wires) and a slow lane for those not willing to pay for the fast lane (start-ups etc. beware). This was a surprisingly quiet subject in 2011 but is set to reignite in 2012. The current FCC’s ruling has been in place for a while now but is open to interpretation and circumvention. It was challenged by a few brave souls like Comcast when they tried to hike the fees on level 3 for the Netflix data (their biggest competitor). Netflix put forth an argument that Comcast is breaching net neutrality and chocking them, but Comcast’s counter argument is that Level 3 is abusing its peer-sharing agreement with Comcast by dumping a heavy load of additional data onto Comcast’s networks. The outcome of this dispute will set a clearer tone for the state of net neutrality in 2012 and the rate of OTT TV adoption in the US and elsewhere. Pundits say the guidelines should be published in the Federal Register within the next three weeks. So set up that alert.
Feedback very welcome
Next off the rank is a piece on how TV content consumption will change.
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Company: Digital Ministry
Involved in the digital media and Marketing industry for many years, through working at the Economist Group (uk), Universal McCanns, Zivo, emitch, OneDigital, IBM (client side), Agency.com & now TBWA NY Now in Bath, UK working as a consultant
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