It took some time for the reality of a-la-carte TV to bite and its jaws have clenched down firm on our wallets. So – ‘what you want’ – ‘when you want’ – ‘where you want’ – is now considered fragmentation and there is a call for super-aggregation back to Pay-TV bundles. Ermmmm … Or is there?
A Hiatus and Nobody Cared #LOL
There is one thing about blogging and that is – unless people care it is really simply a diary of sorts isn’t it? You put down things on digital paper and hope people read them and enjoy what you write. Well I am not going to give up as I own the bloody domain name and put a lot of effort into this in the past. Time to re-ignite the passion … While I am not specifically in the TV business per-se anymore I am in sport and that is still media & entertainment.
Looking forward to getting my thoughts down once again.
Poisonous Plant if Consumed in Large Quantities – What is it
Do you know what this is? It is apparently quite poisonous … It is very acidic and adds a very unusual kick to certain meals. It is well known in Europe and mainly used in soups. We were told to fry up some onions, this herb and some creme-fraiche: We used it on fried (pre-bolied potatoes) and it was FANTASTIC! – What is it called?
The Pay-TV Industry’s Long Game
Let’s jump straight in. Linear TV is dead because online VOD services are what people want. This headline from 2014 was a typical attack on broadcasting –
“Netflix CEO says broadcast TV will be dead in 16 years.”
Just recently and six years into that prediction, Netflix started a LINEAR TV service akin to broadcast, online (in France). Streaming linear is now the norm for many online services. In the end, and to please most of the viewing population, you have to create small changes to existing habits and please as many people as possible with different access choices. I have discussed this often in previous posts. To gain volume viewership, you have to satisfy a vast demographic, and many people don’t want to spend 20 minutes searching for content, which is the norm in streaming – Linear is convenient and has been in the market using the good old EPG since 1981.
DAZN, who professed to be the new ‘Netflix of sport,’ talked about their LINEAR service offering just a few days ago in a conference and added insight into why they are signing up with Pay-TV Service providers. Their streaming dream and takeover of sports stuttered to a halt, exacerbated by COVID with the lack of live events. However, before COVID, DAZN was already struggling, and when the pandemic really hit, they immediately sought investors to shore up the company. The volte-face of the ‘Netflix of Sports’ and D2C disruptor was a pragmatic move and a strategy change needed to keep the DAZN legs pumping.
Broadcast TV isn’t dead nor dying; it is merely morphing and has another medium (the Internet) upon which it rides. Pay-TV is TV that you pay for but the phrase is often used to describe the traditional cable and satellite service bundles are now aggregating streaming service as channels or additional VOD stores. Its all going to look the same soon.
In fact in the USA the ATSC 3.0 NextgenTV will be an IP Stream over the air, which means that they will have the ability to offer streaming-like service. 5G will too look to be the new TV ‘high-speed-access-to-the-home.’ While all of this is good for consumers the business model of TV remains as complicated as ever – You have to pay for access to premium content (Pay-TV) – unless it is funded by another method such as advertising.
The difference today is that you can take as little or as much content as you want, depending on your budget (not necessarily desires). Consumers are simply giving up on certain pay-walled content or pirating it in this complex a la carte landscape. The technology boundaries are blurring – how long will it be before the subscription costs start blurring, and we have a market that levels out price-wise … not long methinks.
2020 – When The World Went Nuts
When 2020 dawned, there seemed to be hope – a new decade. Then BAM! We were hit in the face with a baseball bat! COVID-19 spreading out of China. Then the world went into a panic. What did we do? We listened to the people in charge, the experts, and those who are supposed to be ‘leaders.’ How did that work out? This moment in history will be studied at the universities of the future, and people will read incredulous stories of human incompetence, disdain, ignorance, selfishness, greed, and gullibility.
What transpired from the onset highlighted an incredible lack of leadership, intelligence, performance, and foresight. As the virus took hold, it started to do its worst … the old, the frail, and the already sick were hit the hardest. Illness and death ensued; then, medical facilities in certain locations were overrun. Unlike the disaster movies, hospitals were not prepared. The medical support for such a respiratory attack was not available; then, world panic set in.
Covid-19 showed that faced with the ‘potential threat of death,’ many humans manifested an ugly side. People raided supermarkets to stockpile goods. Weak supermarket managers did not control them. People took advantage of others. Violent men beat their children and their wives in confinement. As this all played a new money making opportunity was seized upon: the mask, sanitizer, wipe businesses looked to make a fast buck. Everyone looked for branding opportunities on facial wear.
The world went nuts … it was very ugly.
Leaders and I use the term loosely, decided to just shut things down, well, some things down. Leaders stopped people from earning a living except in Sweden, and look at the reaction to that by the so-called experts on Social Media platforms. Companies under duress (or not) started to release staff then realized they could make a buck or two furloughing people with aid from governments … but ugly humans took advantage of that, and even large corporations took the money they did not need. Bad people faked their situation and stole much-needed government money.
As we continue meander through this lopsided pandemic with no resolution, their are wealthy people on Social Media platforms posting holiday snaps from the Bahamas and other far-away destinations where they had fun in the sun … fun while others could not keep their local businesses going or pay their rent or mortgage.
Many months later, we are still unsure what the final outcome will be as more shutdowns, and ludicrous rules for some and not others are imposed.
The privileged will survive as rest of us are subjected to even more ineptitude.
Clearly, the human race fell apart in 2020.
TV Fragmentation Reigns
Some years ago, it was plainly evident to anyone who has any common sense that the world of media and entertainment content would fragment. In the transition from broadcast to online, the opportunity seemed clear to content owners that a global reach for their content was as simple as putting it all online and direct-to-the-consumer. However, the business, at the time, just wasn’t ready for this and quite frankly still isn’t prepared to allow that to happen ‘carte-blanche.”
I wrote on this topic in 2009 and an update in 2012. It is now 2020, and content rights, geo-blocking, and market dynamics all inhibit the passage of content from broadcast to over the Internet worldwide. Like websites, there is a myriad of Apps all purporting to offer the same content, but in reality they do not. Still, the truth is that national, regional, and content licensing remains an industry sticking point – there is not going to be a central repository of content that we can dip in and out of.
Sports are the most affected in recent years and coming up against the complexity of the industry. Pay-TV has been able to keep sports as one of the mainstays of its premium tier offers and, in some instances, they offer less popular sports (lower tiers), often at odd times of the day i.e. not prime time. This causes a dilemma for these sports as they sign-up to broadcast deals (often behind pay-walls), limiting their rights to show the games on other platforms such as OTT in particular. Happy to be considered good enough for broadcast TV, but then caught in the mouth of the lion.
The industry adage of ‘What I Want – When I Want – Where I Want’ still cannot be satisfied. Content owners have fragmented or gone vertical, leaving the consumer foraging for certain content across all manner of locations. The costs are mounting up and the consumer is becoming disheartened.
On a recent weekend, I wanted to watch Wales against Scotland and saw that it was not on my NBC Sports Gold app. I quickly went hunting and could not find the match on any platform that I was subscribed to. How frustrating! Very, very disappointing! Even the pirate sites that I found were asking for money (naturally) so its not an option.
At home I have a Cox subscription (it wasn’t being shown on any channel) … I also have a NBC Sports Gold rugby pass but it didn’t show it, Netflix – don’t do sport – Hulu – don’t do sport – HBO Max – don’t do sport … then there is DAZN purported to be the Netflix of sports – don’t do International rugby in the USA – Rugby Pass – geo-blocked … #WTF what’s the point? I am feeling hard done by and frustrated. I am tempted towards piracy – it is cheap and is available. Doesn’t the industry understand that they have an issue?
I’ll keep up my hopes of getting – What I Want -When I Want – Where I Want, but I don’t think that will be for quite some time, if ever!
Same Market – Same Challenges – Different Location
Moving continents is quite a task. Taking care of the family takes a lot of time – So much time that the months in fact the years seem to be flying by. One very interesting challenge is the management of the ‘electronic world’ that we live in … changes of email providers, TV providers, subscriptions to websites and blogs, passwords, phones – and the dreaded ‘Two Step Verification’ that relies on you still having the emails and phone etc. In the ‘melee’ that is moving some things slipped through the cracks. If an Email is provided by a ‘Service Provider’ and that service is not available in another country then you lose access. All of the things associated with that email are lost.
- BTW – iTunes cannot be moved from one country to another without a massive amount of effort – Downloads (EST) are Geo-locked due to rights … No I didn’t use Ultraviolet and that is shutting down anyway.
If you have multiple websites, blogs and so on and so forth then its complex. I found that I need a ‘digital-life’ manager.
I lost the password to ‘TVangelist’ and as I was busy I didn’t chase up … The two step verification caught me out as I relinquished the European Phone – I took a little accidental involuntary hiatus in 2019. But I am back after a lot of haggling and deep memory management.
Time has passed and so much has happened in ‘TV la la land’ – there is so much to discuss and a look back on whether some of the musings were correct or just plain blah blah!
Will talk to the ether soon.
TV Middleware – The long and winding road.
The digital TV middleware/OS market has been in full and continued development since the early 1990s. For the last 28 years, the TV receiver software (digital) has remained a fundamental building block or foundation stone of Advanced Television Services. Middleware/OS continues to evoke strong opinion and is a much-maligned. Despite this, it remains firmly ensconced in the digital TV business, forming part of the DNA that is interactive digital television, whether we like it or not.
BTW: There is very little that has not already been tried in the TV domain and not a lot of ‘new’ inventions when it comes to the world of TV.
e.g. Voice made its debut back in the early 2000s. We laughed at it back then; now it is a must-have technology in a very packed content world. Gesture control came and went and now, according to many TV experts, it’s going to be micro-gesture going forward. There was face recognition capability, widgets, and Social Media on TV and good old 3D! Well, let’s not go there …
Here is a long and incomplete list:
- OpenTV Core
- NDS core
- DAVIC (MHEG + Java)
- ARIB B23
- ON-RAMP to OCAP
- Various flavours of Linux Distee
- OpenTV 5
- Frog by Wyplay
- Boxee TV
- Horizon TV
- Roku Brightscript
- Google TV
- Android AOSP
- Android TV
So what else do we have in store for the STB/CPE as we blend Broadcast & Internet and look to create new and exciting services for a future generation? Who knows where the digital TV middleware/OS industry will finally settle.
I just cancelled HULU
I just cancelled Hulu because the interface annoyed me and the content that appeared in my ‘TV Feed’ was not doing it for me. The Handmaiden’s tale was all that was of interest. However, this title is not worth 45 dollars a month.
We are being subjected to the BEST TV CONTENT we have ever had and the WORST TV Experience we have ever had.
Now I am having to Content Stack, Search and be on top of all the different content that is all over the place and that has become very tedious. The cognitive burden that the TV industry has put on me the consumer is really a sad indictment of the belief that we all actually know what we want to watch. We may do but we also need to know where to find it as it is generally spread on different services that require a subscription and a device. As far as silos are concerned – algorithms deciding on my content line-up has highlighted that my ‘TV Feed’ became very boring. Same-Same but really just the same.
TV is actually pushing people away. That is an odd way of doing business.
New Book Now Available
Social Media Psychobabble – Stop Feeding the Beast is now available to order.
It can be bought through www.socialmediapsychobabble.com, which takes you to Amazon UK, Germany and USA.