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IMPACT Annv Spl: Looking at the broadcast horizon

19-December-2011
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IMPACT Annv Spl: Looking at the broadcast horizon

Haresh Chawla, Group Chief Executive Officer, Viacom18, writes about the seven things waiting to happen on the broadcast horizon.

The big bang: At 114 million TV households today, India is still 50 per cent media-dark. Over the next seven years, expect a Big Bang in TV household numbers, to touch 200 million, potentially reaching a billion people everyday. And that would include more than 100 million DTH households and more than 25 million households with more than one TV set. India is set to become one of the biggest television markets in the world.

The bigger bang: There’s another explosion waiting to happen alongside television – the device explosion. Mobiles, tablets and laptops. In seven years, we would have more than 1 billion active mobile subscribers, over 700 million Internet users and 150 million broadband connections, this bigger bang will change the entertainment consumption pattern, forever. While there would be specific content created for these mostly-mobile platforms, it would also provide a great opportunity for the Blockbuster TV shows to get even bigger across all these devices and platforms.

A new way to Measure: Given the new breed of consumers, who’ll consume entertainment on-the-go, as well as changing habits of the television viewer (who will now watch shows at his/ her convenience), the current ratings mechanism will have to give way to something more dynamic, pertinent and potent. Probably the system will move from TAM to something called VEM (Viewer Engagement Measurement) and from TRPs to CRM (Content Rating Points).

Distribution will be the rocket fuel: Over the next few years, I definitely believe that distribution revenue is all set to overtake the sales revenue by a significant margin. I’d safely expect pay TV revenues to be around Rs 10 billion, over the next 5-7 years, with the broadcasters getting 35-40 per cent share of that.

From 3G to 3D: We are galloping towards this reality. Today, more and more movies are being released in 3D format than three years back. Already, all established TV players are betting their investments on 3D television sets, be it Sony, Samsung or LG. It’s only a matter of time before television channels start investing in 3D content – a premium ‘paid-for-service’, where the consumer is then literally placed at the ‘centre’ of the story. By that time, HD would be hygiene.

‘Reach’ to ‘relevance’: With more than 1,000 channels (including specialised interest channels) and consumption of entertainment ‘on-the-go’, the broadcasters can then realign their sales strategy from ‘reach’ to ‘relevance’, as is already witnessed in the developed markets. It might no longer be all about 10-seconders, prime-time, title-premium and conventional in-show placements. For all you know, it might suddenly become a multi-tiered model, with deliverables across platforms. Are we ready?

‘Idiot box’ to ‘intelligent box’: Let’s face the fact. There are no more ‘televisions’ being sold today. There are 3D televisions, movie televisions and lately smart televisions, lining up the retail space. Technology has already converted the so-called idiot box to an intelligent box. In the years to come (and pretty soon), it will record shows, play music from other devices, help you shop, act as your digital photoframe and do much, much more. While Steve Jobs is no more (and may he RIP), he’s surely left many an idea for Apple Inc to pursue to continue to change entertainment in many more ways, in time to come. iBelieve!

(Haresh Chawla is Group Chief Executive Officer,Viacom18.)

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