April 16, 2009
Something that I put together recently through different sources. I may have missed out on some major events in the history of TV. Please leave your comments and point me to those events, and I will update this chart. you might need to download it to view it properly. If you are not able to view it properly, send me a message and I can email it to you.
October 20, 2008
We, the people in the traditional media businesses, are strange creatures. Having been on top of 90% of the media revenues for years and years our beliefs are strong, we are dangerously naive, and our vision increasingly myopic. We still see the development and “digitisation” of media a phenonmenon similar to our young children wanting to hook their play stations to the TV, while we want to watch our afternoon comedy. Nothing to pay attention to here, the children will eventually get over it.
This is exactly the same attitude I came across in a recent discussion on IPTV, hosted by Alumni of a prestigious business school in France. This discussion took place last week in London and the panel consisted of speakers from two of the key broadcast organisations in the UK, and of some high energy start-ups in the area of internet video. One member of the panel, from a prestigious TV distribution platform in the UK, dismissed Google TV ads as something “just in the US, and not delivering on core fundamentals”. Crap!
Do we believe it “does not deliver on core fundamentals” because we have become the fundamentalists of the TV world ourselves? Google TV Ads is important, not because Google will take over the world one day, but because they are laying the grounds to change the rules of the game for traditional TV. This is how:
– It redefines the way TV is targetted- hence how it is measured, hence how it is traded. Their approach would deliver in the age of digital TV, and the traditional approach does not.
– It challenges the decades long incestual relationship of the research agencies and media owners. Google’s data is more transparent, more real time, and offers more analytics. If there is one thing you can trust Google to do, it is number crunching.
– It helps media owners maximise revenues and advertisers reach, in the age of fragmented on-demand platforms. Traditional models can not even cope with PVR/DVRs.
– Most of the big players in the media and research industry are likely to term Google’s work as something that has a limited scope but would then go and do something similar to Google TV Ads and use their scale to make it sound better. They will.
And if we still do not get it (and I have a feeling we perhaps would but not in the short-term), we deserve to live in a world where most of people still like to be told when they should watch something that they do not want to watch to begin with. We might as well.
September 4, 2008
You are not the only one worried about accomodating your Game Console, your satellite receiver, your PVR, your Freeview box (Digital Video Broadcast Receiver, for people outside the UK), and your DVD player on your TV trolley. The good news is that this battle of space is becoming equally important for the big players who are selling you those boxes.
But lets be honest, who do we think is truly best positioned to deliver an all-in-one box? Do we think Sky+ would one day come with a built-in DVD player, or a DVD player would throw in a free Freeview box built in? If you think about it, It is the game consoles that have pretty much every piece of hardware that may be required to deliver an all-in-one experience, and more. The marriage of gaming with the rest of the audio-visual entertainment has been pending, but seems to be shaping up quite fast lately.
Sony just announced a small little addition to their PS3 consoles. Something called PlayTV priced at just £69. This small little gadget instantly turns your PS3 into a freeview receiver, and gives it a PVR capability. This is in addition to their movies and TV programmes download service that they announced sometime back.
How are you going to be reminded to switch between your endless hours spent on Grand Theft Auto, and the news on the US elections? While you record a football match, and get ready to enjoy your new blue-ray release of The Dark Knight? Oh and you also need to remember to download the old episodes of Porridge? How are you going to manage all of this? Easily I say.
By the way, a recent study in the UK reveals that PVRs/DVRs can help improve a relationship! The general percetpion as we all know is that the game consoles can actually spoil relationships. Not if they both come in one box, you reckon?
August 6, 2008
If the internet TV, or broadcast over IP is such a rage, and if YouTube is all we think the future of content has to offer, have you ever wondered why TV sets manufacturers are not responding to the change and giving their idiot boxes a bit of a smart “processing power”?
I have been personally trying to look for news that might tell me that one or two TV sets manufacturers are going to add features. Fucntions such as a Wifi connection, ability to perform certain tasks such as a calendar, or a task-list or even a contacts book etc. Afterall if home PCs are the order of the day, and if the PCs of today are turning into TVs of tomorrow, why cant TVs of today be PCs of tomorrow?
Well my prayers were answered and someone thought of making the box a bit more smarter than putting just a hard-drive in it for recording of programmes (LG etc). Toshiba recently announced the arrival of TV sets in early 2009, that will have built-in applications which will allow the viewers to connect to the internet via Wifi. Toshiba are also actively talking to application builders to develop widgets for this TV sets.
I wonder what would those applications be… would their environment be “open”- i.e. allowing others to build applications? What luxury! Would I not want to “poke or ping” some of my friends while watching “All about Pamela Anderson” on late night tv? Could social media be truly integrated into the TV technology if that happens? Via a 3-way marriage of your social networking site, a widget that allows you to connect your TV to the internet, and then the sharing (or at least recommendation of) of the conventional “TV listings ” or even the on-demand content with your friends? A bit like what Joost tried to do but failed miserably… but they failed because they had the application, but didnt have the content or the community. What if my status on Facebook, one day, automatically reads “Asad is watching the BBC news at Ten”…
It is all very exciting anyway. I shall wait for such TVs to come out. I want my next HD TV to have a built-in PVR, a Wifi Connection, and an application that will play my DivX files- remotely from my Mac or PC!
July 10, 2008
Everyone is impressed by the growth of PVRs/DVRs. It is truly overwhelming, and of course the reason is that these devices completely changed the viewing experience for us.
The first big thing about the PVRs was that it liberated programming from the shackles of TV listings, and allowed you to watch what you wanted to watch, whenever you wanted to do it. The second advantage was that it allowed you to skip advertising- just like any other recording medium would have been able to do.
In essence, what PVRs/DVRs actually do is store hours of content on a hard-drive next to your TV so that you can access it anytime- making your viewing experience virtually that of “on-demand” TV. But do remember that it is a virtual on-demand experience. What would happen if the TV really became on-demand? What would you do with your PVRs? Why would you want to spend money buying storage capacity in your home, when your broadcast provider is already doing that for you at a remote location?
If there is ever a case of having some sort of storage or digital play-back device at home, it is that for a device like Apple TV, or a generic media player attached to your TV. What that allowd you to do is “rent and buy” movies and TV series for you to keep- just like your old DVD collection. A mixture of an Apple TV like device, with a PVR might just be a better answer. There are some devices in the market currently that aim at doing that, though without much of an organised interface, or thought behind them.
There are also quite a few services that offer video-on-demand. Virgin’s limited on-demand TV is one example. All the major broadcasters such as BBC, ITV and Channel four have their programming accessible through the internet- though ironically so far you can only play that programming on your computer.
From an advertising point of view, PVRs or on-demand TV presents a very simple challenge. How do you insert commercial breaks back into programming? Afterall, not all content can be branded, and there is a limit to a viewer’s capacity to watch “sponsored” programming, and ad-breaks still are a relatively more favourable choice then seeing a dish-washing liquid being talked about in an episode of Heroes.
There are technologies that are being worked on and experimented with to get the commercial breaks back into digital media files (that can be played back on TV- on-demand). Keep reading this blog for more on those.