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.

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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.

What’s in a box?

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!

Within the business of television, there are areas that have been tremendously affected by the advancement in technology. If we break down the business in certain areas, we can study the impact and nature of the technological advancement in each of those. This will also make it easier to guage the impact of those advacements on our business. Areas that can be significantly categorised, for this purpose, include:

  • Production
  • Delivery
  • Reception

In addition to the above, there is an artisan or creative side of the TV business that stands to be affected by the technological advancement in each of the above areas. That is the area of “creation of content”. Over the years, though, this area has developed more “creatively” than it has “technologically”.  It will, however, be interesting to see how the new developments like YouTube are affecting the creation of content.

I will classify all my posts in the above sections for the ease of organising thoughts, and of course to make the blog easier to access and read.

You know how we all hear that TV is dead and that the 30 seconds spots do not work any more, and that we need more “engagement” and not interruption. Well, I am here to advocate that TV is not dying, that 30 seconds spots will still work, and the fact that any call to action advertising will always be interruptive in nature.

Not that I am not a believer in how technology is changing the way media is consumed by consumers, planned by planners, bought by buyers, and used by advertisers, and how its demand and supply is completely turned upside-down given the fragmented nature of digital media. Or even the fact that all of this has huge implications on how “pricing of media” works- for consumers as well as for advertisers.

Au contraire, I am a big believer in this, but I also think that these changes affect the consumption of media, but in the end, any content will always be either “printed word”, “audio, or spoken word or music” or “audio-visual” in form.  Hence, while everything changes, much of it remains the same. What we have to learn to do, though, is how are we going to handle these changes and use them to our advantage in brand communications.

In the upcoming posts, I will explore various technologies and developments that are re-shaping the delivery of the audio-visual content, or TV. I will also look at their potential implications on the business of brand communication and consumer contact.

Bookmark me, and come back to read more please.