I have spent the last few days listening to several Analysts and many TV professionals give their opinions on the state of the TV market both worldwide and in their regions – We as delegates sit and usually suffer death by Powerpoint at these conferences. Sometimes the speakers are good but in the main they are sales pitches and that is tiring…However TVConnect CEE was not that sort of event.
The quality of the material, intensity of the speakers and the reality delivered by all the speakers was very good. What was highlighted is that there is too much ‘noise’ concerning the death of traditional PayTV due to the rise of OTT. This merely shrouds the reality as the following statistics divulge.
There is a SATURATION of OTT services; that we know
However PayTV is in GROWTH mode everywhere
The press needs its daily does of Netflix but Netflix success reality is also somewhat different
Netflix will build a BIG subscriber base but many of them will be PayTV Subscribers
In the USA OTT revenue is only circa 9% of PayTV revenues
The traditional Disc market (DVD & BluRay) annual revenues are higher than OTT
The THREAT from OTT is OVERSTATED
For the last 5 years OTT has dominated the conversation however OTT has hardly made any impact on traditional services…PayTV was shaken by the entrance of these pretenders to the throne, however it has adapted and continues to react positively in order to change the business to both retain and grow the PayTV customer base.
I have met Josh Sapan, and I admire his passion, insight and flair. I agree with him when he rails against analytics and the creative side of making content – I feel that he is absolutely right to state that the the future of content production should not be based on analytics, algorithms, and big data. What AMC is bringing to the market in terms of content is already great because thier creativity abounds. Creativity and flair has to be nurtured; it must be allowed to fly free. Content creation guided by algorithms and too much kowtowing to everyone’s opinion will see us end up with banal same-same productions that break no boundaries and do not push the envelope of imagination.
I loved ‘Mad Men’ but I could not get into ‘Breaking Bad’, unable to get past season 1, yet amongst my peers I was a complete outsider on this particular show; that does not mean it was not a great show, brilliantly done. Ultimately why the hell should my opinion count – I am a viewer not a creative writer of TV shows?
Who better for guidance in the scripting and content flow for future shows but the people whose job it is to come up with the goods – I wouldn’t ask the local butcher to write a show and I wouldn’t ask a hollywood storyteller to be a butcher – horses for courses I say and let’s please stop trying to give credibility to computer algorithms goddamit. NO I say! It should not be ‘Joe the plumber’, or ‘Fred, the banker’ or any Tom, Dick & Harry who has shouted out on Twitter or Facebook and the like, that should determine how a show plot is developed. Leave to the professionals.
goHDR was a finalist in the DTG Innovation Awards, and had a presence on the DTG stand at IBC 2015. This is the first time that I have seen the light as far as HDR is concerned. Up until now I have not seen any good reason as to why HDR should be advertised as a ‘product’, rather than a technology ‘feature’ or ‘option’ for the TV industry. Desperate times needs desperate measures I suppose, especially in a market where 3D flopped and 4K is being chased by 8K. At the IBC 2015 show all the furor was around HDR offering brighter, better pictures, however I finally saw a real and very good practical use for the technology being demonstrated by goHDR a spin-off from the University of Warwick, England.
goHDR was able to show how HDR technology can be used to enhance ‘segments’ of the screen or ‘items’ in the shot. i.e. in difficult lighting conditions (e.g. outside broadcasting) at, let’s say, St Andrews, you could highlight a golf ball and track it in a cloudy sky enhancing its visibility as a unique enhanced HDR object … and there were many other examples of other use-cases. In simple terms goHDR could be described as the video version of Dolby Atmos, with its manageable ‘sound-objects’…For those who are not familiar with Atmos, you are now able to manipulate sound objects to create an immersive multi-dimensional environment in a theatre. Imagine hearing a helicopter that is flying from behind you, over your head and then enters the screen, or an arrow shot towards you flashes past your left ear and you hear it fly past … OK, OK it’s got to be heard to be believed. It is truly amazing. However in this story HDR was invented for video and designed to enhance the picture quality of a TV in both HD and UltraHD. Without the technobabble, HDR is simply all about high contrast at the pixel level that creates depth and dimension and makes colors seem punchier…however it is applied to the whole picture on the TV, not objects in the scene as shown by goHDR.
The technology that goHDR demonstrated has to be fully analysed for its relevance to TV and whether or not it really does what it says on the tin, however, the basic understanding is that it really has taken HDR to a new place and, by the way, it works very well on handheld devices. Suffice to say I saw its relevance in Surveillance i.e. HD & UltraHD CCTV, also for Military, Scientific, Broadcasting, Medical and many other areas where you might want to manipulate a segment or item in a video using HDR for optimum effect. I feel that I have seen the light and can now be more positive about this technology. But hey! Don’t let me tell you the story, let the wonderfully ebullient Professor Alan Chalmers explain it to you at goHDR explained his enthusiasm is uplifting.
Interestingly we are finally seeing the truth about Internet based TV (OTT): It is just another form of PayTV on an unregulated transmission medium, dah! dah! Sorry about that but it is nothing earth shattering; however it finally has people writing about this obvious fact. The ‘do-it-yourself’ package is described in this recent Advanced Television article: Cord Cutting Unrealistic Option is seen as probably costing even more for a consumer than a packaged payTV Operator offer. Not only that, the author Colin Mann quotes Alan Wolk of TDG who states that there is no ‘User Interface’ that makes for a cohesive and pleasant experience. In a previous blog post Changing the transmission media not the business model I had already highlighted the issues of more or at least same cost and clearly noted the backwards move in terms of experience. However there is another very important issue, which has not been addressed by the ‘oracles’ of the future of TV and that is ‘unregulated access to content’. Most DIY bundles have Apps that require access to Internet content – There is no Age Verification required. That is an oversight in a very mobile, smartphone driven society. So I have also been wondering when the ‘Do-it-yourself’ payTV bundle and free for all access might come under the scrutiny of the Regulators for both Consumer and Child Protection issues?
I already see that my very young children are exposed to some terrible things via the increasingly pornographic Internet, via Twitter feeds, via search engines etc. Now that TV is a watch what-you-want-when-you-want experience on the Internet it requires parents to be careful – The so called ‘watershed’ does not exist on the Internet and there appears to be no regulation apart from personal parental control, which has to set on a myriad of channels, devices and websites – BUT ISN’T. That is almost a full time job in this mobile-free-for-all-do-it-yourself-media-world. I happen to care! I try to protect my offspring as much as possible from the gratuitous violence, sex and ever increasing psychopathic, narcissistic media offerings… (e.g. Walter White toy figures for sale at Toys-R-US). However, I am fighting against adversity, especially if my 12 year-old is exposed to shows like ‘Breaking Bad’ as well as a myriad of free ‘Porn’ on a classmates smartphone browser at school. I cannot supervise every moment of my son’s viewing habits outside of the home…and we happily tout OTT (Internet TV) as an in and out of the home experience. We are also told that youngsters don’t watch Big Screen TV anymore – So where is the protection for the young, the vulnerable and the stupid in this mobile-free-for-all-do-it-yourself-media-world?
Not all parents care what their children are exposed to that is why we have regulation. The regulators should be ahead of the game and not late like they have been with Music Videos, finally realizing that they should be ‘rated’. In 2015 that is very, very late … Listening to my very, very young daughter signing ‘I wanna Sex You Up’, now exposed to ‘twerking’ – This is just not right! We have a constant battle to keep them well grounded and not let their malleable minds be damaged. I am not a prude and we have a healthy open relationship with the kids, but I cannot be the good parent if all around me doesn’t care and exposes them to the ever failing controls of the world’s what-you-want-when-you-want media access.
Why TV shows that contain Drugs, Sex, Bigotry and Violence on the Internet be treated any different to that on Broadcast TV is beyond me!
UBER BE SCARED – It appears that you have a new competitor – The wonderful world of HBBTV has delivered its latest ‘App’ and it may rock the Taxi App World of the Smart-Phone … I cannot imagine when you might be watching TV and suddenly think – I will order a Taxi ! … Well the Czech Republic thinks so. Good luck with that!
“Algorithms are really great, of course, but they need a bit of a human touch in them, helping form the right sequence. Some algorithms wouldn’t know that Rock Steady could follow Start Me Up, y’know. That’s hard to do,” says Iovine.
Perhaps this is what I have been trying to say all along regarding ‘recommendation engines’ for Television and my fear that we will just turn TV viewing into a homogeneous clump of nothingness.
“You have to humanise it a bit, because it’s a real art to telling you what song comes next. Algorithms can’t do it alone. They’re very handy, and you can’t do something of this scale without ‘em, but you need a strong human element.” “Understanding that i have a lot of Latin music in my library doesn’t give me a great Cuban playlist,” adds Cue.
Quite honestly it is the same for TV and just because I like a ‘Chick Flic’ now and again does not mean that I want to watch all the ‘Chic Flics’ in the world now does it – Well the Algorithm thinks I do. VARIETY in TV, as in MUSIC, has always been my mantra – Variety is the Spice of Life.
Thank you famous Apple people for stating what I have been stating for years…It’s the ‘HUMAN’ factor that counts. ‘ALGORITHMS’ may have a place in our techie driven TV world but they should not be the only thing that determines anyone’s evening entertainment.
Telco managed TV services (i.e. IPTV) had a great deal of issues obtaining content and it struggled terribly. Some thought it would be built on UGC (User Generated Content). However #YouTube stole that crown. Many Telcos bundled it with the Broadband offer and then ticked you off as a TV Subscriber; whether you watched it or not. Unfortunately it offered a lesser experience and needed linear TV to make it palatable to the average consumer. In the main, people just want to be fed TV programmes and not have to be their own ‘channel-line-up’ producer each time they sit in front of the box. We are inherently lazy and Millenials are no different – If anything their attention span kills the theory of sitting down and selecting a nights viewing by App scanning; especially after a hard days work on a screen.
This New Yorker (below) story about bundles growing on Internet or Web TV is fascinating as it looks at the TV Subscription angle. However I felt that the story should have dug much deeper. The author should have looked at the garnered revenue from subscriptions and investigated where that money relates to content: i.e. Explore the way content is funded because this is also an important factor in the business model of TV and the bundle, be it over-the-air, over cable or over the Internet. Here is an article that @TimWu could reference: http://abovethecrowd.com/2010/04/28/affiliate-fees-make-the-world-go-round/
Extract: “But those who predicted that the Internet would kill the bundle may have spoken too soon. Internet TV, in fact, is now growing its own bundle—the so-called “neo-bundle.” This year, Dish television and Sony have begun selling a version of Internet television that centers on a bundle, albeit one that is smaller and cheaper that the original offered by cable companies. Dish’s Sling is the most exciting and enticing: it offers ESPN and twenty other channels for twenty dollars a month. (You add an extra fifteen dollars if you want HBO). Sony’s Vue has fifty or so channels, for fifty dollars a month, but no ESPN or HBO. Apple, meanwhile, is likely to launch its own version in the fall.
In short, instead of the Internet killing the bundle, the bundle is coming to the Internet; it would not be surprising if, in the next year or two, half a dozen more neo-bundlers join the game. This may come as a surprise to those who expected the television of the future to resemble, say, a smartphone screen, where every channel would be roughly like an app that you subscribe to à la carte. But overestimating change in the television industry is a rookie mistake.”
P.S. By the way, RabbitTV already bundles ‘free-content’ for you for a small fee. Which gives kudos to my theory that we are all lazy when it comes to TV viewing. “I’ll pay 10 bucks to someone to do it for me instead so I can just watch it instead of wasting all that time searching & selecting.”