“Traditional networks anxious due to rise of second screens”

Growth of smart devices is causing stress among traditional broadcast models in Europe & US, says Atul Phadnis of What’s-On-India

e4m by Atul Phadnis
Updated: Sep 11, 2012 8:02 PM
“Traditional networks anxious due to rise of second screens”

The debates at IBC conference, a TV Technology conference cum exhibition taking place in Amsterdam, are in full swing with some critical industry issues being debated by technology / business CXOs from various TV technology companies.

Anxious debates on second screen
The large focus this year on second screen and connected devices/ platforms give an indication to rising anxiety among traditional networks and operators on future revenue streams and business models in a convergence led surge in connected TV and media devices. Traditional broadcast models in Europe and the US are experiencing dramatic stress due to the growth in iPhones, iPads from Apple versus other types of smart devices which are Android powered. These devices are offering content packaged in different forms, which are very engaging and interactive.

The question in everyone’s minds seems to be:
How should traditional TV networks and operators embrace these smart, connected platforms?
Should their offerings mutate with the connected world or run parallel or turn smart devices into ‘companion devices’ to enhance/ extend the TV experience?
How will these newer smart device extensions make money?

Interesting apps case studies
One of the things that I enjoyed most was case studies relating to use of second screen experience inside TV shows! My favourite was a French example of creating a multi-user game that has thousands of players who upload their profiles and photos to create their ‘Avatars’ and play a quiz competition to qualify to be in a TV programme. Minutes before the TV programme telecast, a few tens of player avatars qualify into the show and participate in that live TV show…as avatars! The viewer sitting at home whose avatar is now answering the quiz questions in front of a TV audience of millions can control the avatar to clap, jump, laugh, answer questions and give high-fives. So virtual sets, virtual game but a real experience to be inside a TV show sitting at home. Mind-boggling!

There were other examples too – from Football Premier Leagues games to apps for reality shows such as ‘Holland’s Got Talent’. All of these apps or games were broadly serving either a programme engagement (and companion device) objective or an advertiser sponsorship agenda or both.

Heated debates – split audiences
In earlier IBC editions, I have experienced heated debates wherein TV doomsday soothsayers and technology companies had announced the death of the TV business as we know it today. This time around, however, companies such as Discovery Networks, ITV and the BBC beautifully punctured those deathly forecasts by arguing that traditional models will thrive and continue to be relevant due to adaptation and mutation with newer, digital models. But the conference audience polls indicated a sharp divide on the topic of traditional models surviving the very strong digital video dose of games, apps, VOD OTT, hybrid TV or simply YouTube…

Search is key
The one theme that I was the most attentive on was discussions relating to search and recommendations as key paradigms inside digital television offerings. This has been a topic of hot pursuit for me personally as well as for What’s-On-India and I was pleased to find that some of the bets we have made in the EPG and TV Search space are in line with the general pattern of progress in Western markets! I am carrying a few ideas back to discuss with my team on a few new threads that What’s-On-India can start off…

This year, the conference has a wide set of video, TV and tech experts from companies such as BBC, Virgin Media, ITV, Google, TiVo, Discovery Networks, Samsung, LG Electronics, ZeeBox, etc. speaking on a string of topics.

Wide topics
The topics covered in the conference were themes such as:
The rise of multi-screen video consumption worldwide
The use of mobiles and tablets during Olympics
Potential revenue models for video apps
Applying Cloud technology to the TV media model

The sessions have been very interesting so far. I am winding this article up as the next session is about to start. This panel will debate on ‘infinite TV content with screens everywhere’. This is Atul Phadnis signing off from IBC’2012 in Amsterdam for exchange4media…

The author is Chief Executive Officer, What’s-On-India
 

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