With television shifting to the Internet and traditional broadcasting models under threat, broadcasters need to embrace new technologies and collaborate better with partners or risk losing out.
That’s a key finding in a recent report by Accenture. The global technology consulting firm says that to survive a decline in viewership, content creators, aggregators, distributors and even device manufacturers have to embrace the rapid changes sweeping the industry.
Accenture’s report, The race to dominate the future of TV, paints a bleak picture for traditional broadcasters as consumers increasingly opt to control their own TV viewing schedules, be it via personal video recorders, on-demand services or downloads from peer-to-peer networks.
The head of the company’s broadcasting and entertainment practice, Francesco Venturini, who authored the report, says the “once-pristine vision of convergence between broadcast and broadband technologies is being overtaken by the messy reality of conflict and volatility”.
Venturini says there is the potential to shift “the existing balance of power within the broadcast sector and the wider communications industry”.
The report says Internet Protocol (IP) TV and Internet TV are often confused. The former refers to “the delivery of high-quality video content to a captive consumer device over a managed network”. Internet TV (or over-the-top TV) is the “distribution of video content to a wide range of IP-enabled devices, including TVs, PCs, mobile phones and tablets, over the unmanaged Internet”.
The Internet has disrupted traditional media businesses by removing barriers to distribution, which reduces costs but also reduces the revenue previously earned from monetising distribution. It has also changed the amount of time consumers have to dedicate to traditional media and has altered consumers’ expectations about what content should be free, which “undermines models based on scarcity”.
Growing access to broadband, combined with an increase in multimedia-capable mobile devices, has resulted in exponential growth in online video consumption. The report suggests that if broadcasters are to ensure their long-term survival, they need to create “seamless integration between the two worlds” by means of “multi-screen strategies” — accepting that consumers increasingly consume TV via multiple devices and helping facilitate this.
“The need to collaborate arises from the lack of relevant knowledge, experience and capabilities that each has in vital areas of the video industry. Generally, broadcasters do not possess the required experience and knowledge of devices/access and of managing content delivery networks,” the report says.
“Telecommunications companies struggle to control content and package seamless multi-device linear and nonlinear services. However, the requisite end-to-end capabilities could be delivered through deeper co-operation between broadcasters and telecoms businesses, with each playing to its strengths.”
Consumers are not only using more devices but are using them simultaneously — for example, browsing on a laptop while watching TV. People are foregoing traditional TV guides and the report suggests content creators, broadcasters and device manufacturers need to integrate peer-sourced recommendations in their strategies.
“Consumers strongly indicate that they are ready for a true multi-device experience — one that goes beyond simply replicating traditional TV on another device, and instead creating a new experience where content is important, quality is critical and personalisation of the service is a must.” — Craig Wilson, TechCentral
- Image: Paul Mutant