Is It Technology Disruption Or Business Disruption That Is To Blame?


There is a myriad of articles that have been written since the dawn of so called disruptive TV technologies and the the now so called Over The Top television paradigm.  I recently read an article on The Verge (Andrew Wamugi) which talks about the battle for the living room and why we have got it all wrong.  Unfortunately, albeit he is correct in parts, the article mixes things up by blaming both technology aspects and content issues as if they are related or similar problems; which actually they are not!

Almost all TV Content and channel line-ups are decided by Content specialists who are paid to fill their time-slots it is not the CTOs that decide on that!  Quality of TV content is governed by people who commission TV shows, who make Pilots and Focus Groups.  The majority of money to fund ‘New Content’ comes from the Cable Companies (part of the subscription fee that consumers pay).  All this talk of Cutting the Cable Chord drives us along a route of cutting the funding of content.  This was covered heavily and clearly by Mark Cuban in his blog…We learn’t that this sum is in the billions of dollars.  Content costs money to make!

The article says that we concentrated on widening the reach by doing IPTV and offering new access to consumers…This is true to a certain degree but this is a cause and effect situation.  As far as Technology is concerned it merely evolves…however so does the business around it: IPTV came about because the Telco CEOs wanted to expand their business and differentiate. We saw SmartTVs emerge because TVs became commoditised and they wanted to differentiate…its about business not technology.  Cable went IPTV and TV Everywhere to counter the business threat that was IPTV…The effect and cause of Comcast et al entering into this domain.  Business is about maintaining revenue to keep a business alive and of course pay all the salaries of the employees.

Furthermore the article goes on to talk about  serving better content to the customer and that we should switch on the TV and be fed things we are interested in. (Even if there are millions of subscribers who all like something different at any moment in time) The article states that their should be intelligence in the device that delivers what WE like when we switch on the box.   Switching on the TV to find something you will like is like opening the oven to something it decides that you  want to eat!   This is just an impossible task that only leads to the position of monotony.  Variety is the spice of life my friend…We need variety if we eat the same meal every day we tire of it…if the world of TV turns into content the ‘system’ knows you like how will you ever be surprised by content that you sometimes see, think you wont like, but are pleasantly surprised by if you give it a chance!

The reason the TV business is in such a disrupted state is because there are far too many people trying to make money with content distribution…too many fragmented services…even Starbucks, Tescos, and Toys R Us also getting into the game which is stupid and the only reason is because it is easy (due to the internet).   If you had to have a Broadcast License to Broadcast Content as you do in the real TV world then I am sure that this would inhibit the fragmentation, the industry would be governed properly, controlled better so no harmful content could be proliferated and we would have a more understandable  industry.  The TV industry is now in a mess but who do you blame: the Content people for trying to maximise the return on their assets? Or the technologist for exploiting science? Or the businessman for exploiting the technology, also protecting his job in a dog-eat-dog environment???

It is TV people and we do not need it 24-7-365 we have other activities in-between and around it and that is the essence of this response – There is a limited amount of viewing hours per person, per interest and VARIETY, SURPRISE, SERENDIPITY is the job of the specialists who decide on content and channel line-ups and compete for us the viewers. (p.s. you can also buy DVDs, Blu-Ray Discs and go to the Cinema to watch films (Experts once claimed these were all dead because of OTT).  So Who is to Blame for the Mess?

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