Multi Screen Content

October 29, 2009

Now that we know that the battle of the screens isnt a battle anymore, how is life for people who create content is changing?

Creating multi-screen content has been a discussion for quite some time. We all realise that it is much more than just the screen formats or the quality/ resolution of the picture that differentiates the content on these 3 screens. But what we have very little of is the understanding of how audio visual content consumption differs on these 3 screens.

We can have a point of view on what type of content is better suited for mobiles consumption versus big TV screens. The obvious conclusions, my fear is, might be simlistic and around duration of the content. Bite or snack sized consumption versus feature length viewing, etc. But what happens when the first “direct to mobile” movie is released? The phenomenon obviously is a response to not just video consumption on mobile, but a certain type of consumption on mobile. There would also be obvious points of on big screen versus small screen versus very very small screen viewing. The bigger the screen, the better the detail and impact of visual effects.

Would there be any other differences apart from that? Or are we in a position to answer the question of “What type of stories are better told on one screen versus the other”?  Answers that would help us create content specifically for consumption on a certain type of screen?

Does somene has access to online video data, mobile video consumption data, and set-top box data for us to be able to do some analyses? Or any interesting insights to share? Please leave your comments.

There is a reason Hulu is considered a “game changer” in the world  of online video and streaming television. The unique alliance of NBC and News Corp creates a cable operator of sorts – and aggregates content to deliver a unique place for consumers to start watching it. In the US.

There is similar news of some UK broadcasters coming together to create a VOD platform. I am sure other markets are taking similar initiatives.

In a world when every bit of data will be streamed over IP, do we think platforms such as these would have anything unique to offer? Or would such platforms become seemless backend cable operator type operations, delivering to TV sets of the future? In answering this question, one also needs to perhaps see what it is that really makes the video over internet popular? It is its ability to transcend beyond geographies that really delivers a web 2.0 experience that is the “buzz” today.

Now in this world, what really restricts the ability of platforms like Hulu to make a difference is the way TV software rights are managed. The programs are sold territory by territory, or to cable / satellite operators who pick it up for multi-territories. Even then, the prices are aggregated on a market by market basis. Couple that with how such program rights are sold for broadcast over the internet, and you have a matrix that is too complex to even begin to crack.

There is a need to change this model of TV or even Film program rights management. If one is to combat the piracy or onslaught of free digital distribution, the arbitrage in this trade has to end. What it needs to work around is a distributors ability to stream content across the globe, without restrictions and with potential to earn revenues from wherever in the world they come from.