Television viewing is undergoing several changes, and there are factors set to influence it further. For one, television viewing is no longer a family activity, for many. We are also moving away from having a television set, to using a multi-functional device. And yes, gone are the days of passive viewing - enter interactive television viewing. Of course, prime time will soon be dead too, because the consumer will decide the three important ‘W’s – What to watch, When to watch and Where to watch.
As Rajat Jain, MD, The Walt Disney Company (India); Dr Veena Rawat, President, Communications Research Centre, Canada; and Superna Kalle, VP, International Networks, Sony Pictures Television International, gathered to share their views at the FICCI Frames 2006 session titled ‘Beyond Linear Television Networks’, one got the impression that we were embarking on a journey of infinite possibilities. The session, moderated by Marcel Fenez, Asia Pacific Leader, Entertainment and Media Practice, PwC, gave a sneak peek into the future of television viewing and content consumption.
Jain reflected that the future would see emergence of more techno-babies. Members of this generation would do their homework and make their purchases online, and would watch a popular cartoon series even as they play games. While Rawat and Kalle spoke extensively on how technology was changing the media contours, the real issues that emerged as being of concern were regulation, rights management and talent pooling.
Throwing light on issues on the regulation front, Rawat explained that the need to have a common act for telecom players and broadcasters would be soon felt. The definition of data and content would have a lot of tax implications as well, he added.
Having formal talent building organisations would become necessary, said speakers. The reason stated was that when empowered with total choice and freedom, only truly compelling content would fetch the requisite attention. Surely, this translates into initial years energized by considerable investment, for content developers.
With the blurring of the media scope, perhaps a common single convergence act would be ideal, it was felt. Content management and copyright issues would also have to be tackled. While the consumer is all smiles - thanks to the fruits of technology - content developers, talent managers, and regulatory bodies have a lot of work to do. They’ve got to do it pretty soon - before prime time is announced dead.