At the plusminusitv convention last thursday, there was an interesting discussion about the future of tv. I didn’t got the chance to give my opinion during the panel discussion, but I would like to write it down, because I think a lot of people underestimate the impact and speed of the change that is going on at this moment.
I consider myself as part of a generation that has a different perception of the traditional media, we were one of the first generations to really grow up with the internet. I’m using the internet since I was 11 – 12 years old. The possibilities then were nothing compared to what’s possible now. I’m only saying this so you’ll understand that the perception of traditional media will change more radically if you look at younger generations. My brother of 14 loves to listen to bbc radio one. The music he likes is not available in Belgium. Those (+-)kids aren’t restricted anymore to the media available in Belgium. The traditional media becomes less important, they just choose the information they want from the internet(audio – text – images – video – …).
If you look at studies about iDTV you see a lot of traditional patterns coming back. Studies say that prime time stays prime time and that popular channels will stay popular also when you have like 112 other channels available. Well I’m not pretending that those studies are incorrect, they are definatelly true. But I don’t think they will be true if you only look at the new generation of people. Why? Because the younger generations are growing out of the traditional patterns. When they become 25 they don’t need the traditional tv anymore to stay informed. They will choose what to watch when to watch it. When they need information about a recent newsfact they’re first reflex is not waiting for the 7 o’clock news, they will first check the internet.
If we take a look at the current iDTV model in Belgium, it can be interesting for the 35+ segment, but for the new younger generations it will fail. It has almost no extra value for people who are familiar with the internet. Maybe some good movies or series, but I’m sure that in the future they will be available for download from the moment they are released. I don’t think young people want to wait untill lost season 2 for example gets aired on a Belgian tv channel. They are in touch with the whole world trough the internet. They want to be able to access the same information at the same time as the people who live in the USA. My brother is a fanatic runescape player. He talks with his friends from all over the world, he get’s information from all over the world, he wants to be able to view the same cool tv shows as his friends abroad. Often it’s impossible to access that information the legal way so often those kids get it from bittorrent, P2P, … I think it’s pretty logical, they want to be able to talk about the same tv programs their friends talk about. I’m just trying to explain how important it is, not to underestimate the changes this will bring to tv in the future:
- The internet will be the main channel for everything: communication, information, entertainement, … The new generation just wants different screens and different interaction methods to access that information, communication and entertainment. Cell phone, screen in the living room, laptop, … every device has access to the internet, to the same information, communication, entertainment.
- Selection will become incredibly important, tv channels will need to evolve to a brand that makes selections of worldwide shows. They will do nothing more than select very specific programs.
- The TV channels will have a stronge community around the brand with very faithfull viewers. They will be able to give feedback to channel, that feedback will be an important factor in decisions taken by the TV channel.
- Poweruser will need to be able to make the selection themselves. Other users can subscribe to their selection, just like RSS works today. You’ll be able to view the programs you want on demand. If you think this is the future you’re wrong : democracy player, veoh, uTorrent , … Those tools just need a rss feed and will automatically download the programs you selected.
- The link between the information viewed in the program and other information available on the internet will be very strong. If you’re looking at a touristic program, you’ll be able to immediatelly check the flight rates to that location. Or plan your route on google maps to that specific location. This will be an important commercial value. Give the viewers the right commercial information at the right time.
- The other way around can also be important, if your browsing google earth, you can view touristic tv programs, news items about that specific location.
- Production companies need a web service that gives access to all their tv programs.
I know these are pretty progressive ideas, but if I look at my own environment and things happening on the internet. I’m pretty sure tv is evolving this way. I believe Belgian tv stations urgently need to start experimenting with this new evolutions. What will be the value of Lost season 2 for VT4 if ABC made it available for download FREE? TV stations urgently need to look for new business models, if they want to keep there privileged place in the market.