While the world keeps harping about the rapid technological advances that most developed countries in the Asia Pacific belt are akin to, it is only when one gets to the middle of the madness that the surge being made is seen. So while words like ‘Connected TV’ and ‘4G’ are terms that are obscure to us Indians – who are still trying to digest the benefits that accrue from 3G – our not-so-far neighbours are already making a beeline for newer technologies that promise to change the way the world views the space.
At the 4th Digital Media Conference held this year in Singapore by The Walt Disney Company (Asia Pacific), over 200 leading experts from media and technology companies from Asia Pacific and the US came together to discuss the continuing evolution of TV and how it affects the way broadcasters assess their business and its consumers. The theme this year was “Media R-Evolution: Engaging the Connected Consumer” that delved into focusing on what forward-looking media companies are doing to stay engaged with their audiences and addressed questions fundamental to creating value and launching the next generation entertainment marketplace.
“Audience viewing habits have dramatically changed - never before has TV viewing been so personal," said Rob Gilby, Managing Director, Media Distribution, The Walt Disney Company (Asia Pacific) Limited. “Our research tells us that there is a complete shift in consumer expectations and audiences are looking for greater personalisation and customisation of how they access brands such as Disney, ABC and ESPN. The question we are asking is how to create the most value in delivering the best consumer experience.”
According to numbers revealed at the event, Asia Pacific is home to over 135 million smartphones, 350 million 3G+ subscribers, 968 million TV sets, 6.5 million tablets, 800 million internet users and 143 million Facebook users. This mega-numbers trend was backed by another industry study conducted last year that showed that using multiple devices to watch video content was on the rise in Asia Pacific. According to the study, while the majority of people still watch video content on TV (77 per cent), 63 per cent were watching on a desktop/laptop computer, 38% were watching content on mobile phones and 19% on other hand held devices. “We are seeing the continued evolution of television with a rapid uptake from consumers who want multiple ways across multiple screens to connect and engage with their favourite content,” said Gilby.
Whilst viewing content on multiple screens is growing, the use of social media to complement the viewing experience is adding new dimensions to the concept of co-viewing. Viewers do not have to watch TV in the same room to share the experience as social media was providing a platform for viewers to share opinions and commentary about their viewing experience with peers, family and friends on digital platforms and in virtual communities. “Technology is a natural part of consumer’s lives and the smart digital devices that exist today and the ones we haven’t yet seen provide opportunities for us to deepen our relationship with the viewer. At Disney, incredible content and innovation go hand in hand and we’re focused on finding new ways to take our compelling stories and characters to more audiences while enhancing the viewing experience,” added Gilby.
A host of celebrated names like Ben Pyne, President, Global Distribution, Disney Media Networks, Vince Roberts from Disney/ABC Television Group, Ricky Ow from SPE Networks – Asia, Edward Ying from SingTel, James Miner from ESPN STAR Sports and others took part in discussions surrounding digital and its growing influence on the broadcasting space.