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I don’t know what’s your actual behavior and consumption of TV, but we can all say there’s probably the biggest revolution since Internet. We used to consider TV as « a whole set, environment of entertainment, emotion and information for the family.

Despite different revolutions like new consumption (VOD, OTT, catchup TV…), new wirings (DSL, DTH, DTT…), new quality (HD, 3D), TV remains a matter of contents. Believe me, as I worked for more than 10 years, in pay TV environments.

And, yes, it is still a question of content. To inform, entertain or turn upside down. It’s always contents that drive audience and make the money business. But since users started to generate contents (UGC) with social tools, the power between broadcasters, content producers and audience has been completely blended, from a steady flow, one at a time, to multi-producing anytime, anywhere, any device. And guess where we focus most of our time now?

Not on old TV formats, but the web. Web audience boosted since few years now, and consumption of any contents on mobile screens overtook the old devices.

The next big thing is this incredible second screen concept that shapes the exact new relation between:

  • audience, e.g. who becomes active/reactive and participating
  • content producers, e.g. who try to produce high potential contents and sustainable rights to engage in a longer lifetime, that is, more revenues
  • advertisers and brands (here there’s no change but the increasing need to hold revenues and efficiency, anytime!
  • broadcasters, e.g. whose job is keeping the light on overnight and increase revenue due to more audience from advertisers.

Fair game isn’t it? I’m probably writing a piece of this article on my laptop, while watching TV, sending twits
to engage with the actual TV show. And it’s not a question of the Y generation or being a millennial, as I’m neither.

 

SocialTV_ecoS

 

The fact is that, socialize relations, sectors, or industries, means tumble down the easy flow of former
relations because:

  • You won’t be able to know how many times and how long, the former viewer is now, while he can zap, play, change the content – with one finger
  • You won’t be able to value advertising and the guarantee for brands to invest in big channels, another effect of the long tail, created with the web
  • You probably will be obliged to change, quick and dirty, programming because of twitter #attacks, ongoing, throwing away all your programming strategy
  • The whole investments you do in long term programs is turned into a short formats of videos, soaps, viewed, reviewed, cached, and screened wherever but the TV

Think about how it’s changing the whole chain: skills, training, actors, eye-catching snaps, promotion, the relevance of a whole programming guide.

Where the web brought freedom and creativity, television lost traction moreover in youngest generation who nearly were born, without TV addiction. Many years ago, most of us believed that social TV was nothing more than bringing the web on TV screens and bloomed many connected TVs with new interfaces and web browsing.

Social means individualism because the essence of participating is the collaboration and the addition of multiple individual shares, talks, and debates. Soon (or already now?), you’ll be able to have an individual end for your favorite soap. The one you’ll choose, the one you’ll have, your end.

In some way, where technologies brought us the ubiquity of TV everywhere (DTH, Cable, xG Mobile, DTT, etc.), social brought us our network that awakes us more, engages us to participate, and allows us to be more aware of what’s going on.

In some way, we’re more actors than we think. We create the new content experience we finally want to see. What is more important in marketing than to have the choice to buy something we REALLY want?

Social TV is our choice, our experience, our chance to be more engaged than ever and keep the little flame for creation. Let’s light on.

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Live from NABShow 2010, facing huge changes in value constructions, among several major actors of the playing field, TV became more social, driven to another kind of content thinking and producing. Because audience becomes now the real influencers, because customer has, like any other sector, power to give voice and opinion, it burst the former theories of building TV. Getting it anytime, anywhere and increasing the effect of broadcasting progress, quality of picture and sound, and finding abillity to build new formats, new opportunities of consuing video, tv and online streamings, we’re facing a strong move in TV industry. Some lateral changes, and siding effects, because actors want to make other’s jobs, to add value, experience and increase their financial assets in their core business. But the essential quote now for TV, is a huge field of influencing: how medias, actors, audiences can live together and bring “social” and interactive concepts, to this industry. Trying to clear the situation, bringing some shifts like:

  • Contents, with formats and new abilities to generate audience and keep it
  • Quality: 3D, and sound improvements, bringing them to home market for a better experience ; the need for a standard to come (like HDMI 1.4 or middleware and soft enhencement with TV/box manufacturers). Like Sky said “re-defining the rule book”…; already saw large 3D screens for urban uses and ads broadcasting
  • Online web tv, video and streaming platforms and the new opportunities for entertainment, and also brand reputation, brand exposure and personal ads ; these fields is particularly impacted with mobility and mobile winning platform for tv/video entertainment (as we already see the next generation for mobile cast, in 4G)
  • Screens and equipment: LCD technology, 3D screens and cameras processing, dealing with existing settings
  • Connecting: see how IPTV boxes try to build connected platform with services, embed in manufacturers equipment ; see adb (adbglobal.com) for example or sling box with Echostar
  • Search: Google in the market for search TV, a function that never really existed, but can find a business model in targeting audience for ads, bringing search and indexation competences to TV with Dish tests-on. No evidence but the fact that everything is to come yet…
  • Ubiquity with slingloaded box from Echostar, the TV everywhere strategy for now…
  • Unseing middleware competencies, that stand the reactor for piloting datas, broadcast and services in a box/tv
  • Voice and sound improvement, despite the fact that no device yet is planned to be piloted with voice recognition, which could be an interesting feature to come. Future will tell…

Seeing Sony, including some browsing services as Google or Youtube browsing and so long, we just wonder if, filling tv with services is sufficient enough to modify behaviors, to complete convergence in “social” trends for TV. I already wrote on the subject and there’s obvious limits by now. But the increasingly involvement of people in creation (acting, doing something online, chatting, creating videos, music, art design…) is real, and boosts on the “pc-like” screens. Seems that influenced (target), now influences contents and services too: TV media always considered as one way media (one-to-many) gets wings: the ability for modern TV to be plugged on audience’s desires is a bright step toward customer relationship management. As many shows has developped licences, goodies…temptation is straight to adress the audience with added revenues like these sources.

The diagram shows us that a passive audience (influenced) become active through interactive TV and contents “home-made”, that can fill the timeline. Is TV becoming a marketplace with collaborative (in a group idea) ideas and community, I don’t think yet, keeping a private household network and enable only personal communications. But the commoditization of uses on other screens (laptops, PDA, pc) could make an envy to transform our old TV device: game box, that can be considered as individual act on screen, already did invade TV.
So the infernal machine “TV”, grows energy by users now too, by the fact that audience doesn’t want to be passive anymore and wants to give a call. TV actors must now learn to listen other things than audiences monitoring, but start to consider audience as customers who want to express themselves. Nothing special in fact, in a competitive economy trying to get attention and to keep it…

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TV always used to be a collective pleasure. Remember how families met around the next big thing, the prime-time event that grew up our minds and entertained the bulk. Interest rose with the whole offer: more colors, more channels, more catchup broadcast. Technology supposed to be a strong ally to stream these big events and used to get the best off them, threatened theatre, sports spots and children movies. And brought lots of opportunities in consuming TV: recording, ads shifting, original sounds and voices, quality of sound and high definition for picture.
As I’ve been involved in several business, including TVs matters, for 15 last years, I could follow lots of changes in programs, box, new comers and technology: from satellite to DTT, and live to VOD/catchup, it never stopped really to be a collective show, for a whole group.

But social actions and networking is nothing but individual acts, as we don’t show us, linking others or chatting in a group session. More individual, because one-to-one action, talk and debate. As if whole family could stare at a member that would enter into networking…and being passive for hours. Dumb, no interest of course.
I’m wondering how can be the result to come for the recent moves with manufacturers, that add contents or access to contents, to their TV devices (which already include set top box functions inside), as youtube, google browser and so long…I’ve been a witness for start of what we called interactive TV, which was a lab for “e-working or e-entertainent”, that took place in TV at the time and never been a real success…why? Because any individual act has nothing to see with “TV representation”, facing the family: what could be fun, to see someone making its shopping, boring the audience in the room…You see what I mean?
What I can say, living with these strategics moves is that social networking is definitely an individual pleasure. how can anyone spend time, watching a private conversation, talk or chat without being active? Is that’s because skype is starting to collaborate with LG and Panasonic, on HDTV devices, that it makes the next big picture and makes it “social”. Not at all, it stays like a private conversation with a big screen video conference.
I believe convergence has limits, in the way that technology grows faster than our agreement for. That’s not because tech can, that we want. And in the case of bringing social apps to TV screens, there’s a lot to bet in losing the essence of social: having a fresh private space of freedom and expression. Looking at youtube for my fav video doesn’t mean all the audience is gonna like it. Using Google on my TV screen will uncover my own research, as my own passions. That doesn’t mean it match with my surrounds. Are you ready to have a look at IM or your mails, in front of your whole family? Your bank accounts? At your private dates?

I tried to resume as short as I could, the main schemas of using “screens”, with the targeted utilities. We see that nothing is obvious, even if we can call it “all screens” or “any device”, focusing on the way we can (must?) use these for. I don’t declare anything as “definite truth”, but put me in front of my experience of TV business development. As years passed, and saw such more and more “clever” ideas, there is limit to convergence, and these limits are social, not technical. For Heaven’s sake we still can control machines and make them  what we really want them to do, for us. Let’s consider them as “tools” (as social apps are…), and use them. So social TV is more a concept than a screen, in fact. And last but not least, a “3D” concept: Deep, Disturbing and Desired. An easy way to bring new shape to old stuff.

Let’s start your uncovered trip, to Social Screens Skip!

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Old TV set is out. Out of 20th century, he passed through revolutions (black&white, digital, HD, 3D…) and got some changes in uses, life and consideration. Started with information, public managed, it opened to others pleasure: entertainment, sports, discovering…Households then were completely hypnotized and caught in kind of dependance, like one said. And then this old device was hottin’, from ugliness to useless and energy consuming. At that time people was talking about “convergence”, the loneliness idea of a wired future, centralized, and started a competition in electronics manufacturers to invent this new TV device: THE screen. Where? How? but the screen. Then households turned their view to web audience…and naturally TV went to the web. People started to move, changed their social practices, became careless about the place and the moment…Mobile, mobility, then TV went to mobile.

While this was going on, facts were there: TV is not the same anymore. And even if the contents were the same, we don’t want to consume them like we did. All the sector from media and television didn’t see the web wave (like lots of sectors anyway…), thought they had to change something…but what? when and how? for who?
It quickly became the great riddle for TV value chain actors. Which contents to acquire, which rights, for what kind of usings, on which platforms and devices, and how long in terms of duration? Over for black Ford T, entering marketing and segmentation, need to make sense to believe that consumers are customers like other: because TV artifacts and rules have always been settled on fidelity, without any CRM management, and with the sole economic: audience = ads = buying intention. Brain available time for ads is not the same anymore, nor same profile and needs.
Trying to put sense into an industry that started revolution after being involved into, I tried to build a working matrix, resuming how behaves now, reflexes about television consuming.

You could be surprised but it is: it’s no talking or thinking about complexity, but really taking the influence of this new “market” of consuming TV. But where is my old housewive?…How does she can handle with such a purpose? That is, several ways of consuming television. And the real battle is not AGAINST other distribution channels, but WITH. Shaping the new landscape of TV means having imagination, beyond household. Where else, in the family, in mobility…? Fair enough, I can find my way because I can find A way of consuming MY TV.

We do and everytime, watching television, not really much more than survey scores generally speaking, but IN A BETTER WAY. That means, we’re able to choose, learn and decide when and where, and for how much time. Famous framework about triple “A” theory (Anytime, Anywhere, Any device) is more than ever, a fact. and that changes the business. We’re not talking about HD or 3D, because it’s “only” quality enhancement, while others are “ways of life”, ways of consuming. Yes of course, according to CES now, where 3D is a star product, we can see that 3D in a certain point of view, can change vision of family entertainment, globalizing services – games, interactive, learning, art, museum experience…-. But changes are there and it’s not really a small pill for the business sector.

How we receive television leads the way we consume: satellite in living room, 3G/4G in mobility, DSL in hotspots places…But the true is that we have to follow the same soaps and movies, wherever we are. And that’s why the real key for television is not really quality, but the triple A model. And what could be a simplistic draw, is in fact, determining:

  • the technology needed (for broadcasters, but for public audience)
  • premium rights to buy in the different program teams of these several network actors (live rights, exclusive, VOD, catchup, web window, first pay tv window, catalog…)
  • equipment and wiring in household and in mobility, adding compatibility for future devices using
  • key competences for media companies: doing broadcasting television has nothing to see or relevant with podcast or web tv streaming or downloading, HDTV made some revolution in several jobs and organizations, like probably 3D will do

It’s the “Rubik’s cube like” for television. Technology is already there, web is stepping like a giant (wiring, services, economy, networks), market is there too, with a huge demand on more and more services and self-learning, convergence and user’s centric functions. Maybe television has an amazing opportunity to catch some added consumers, by convergence and be the central “screen” for all household’s pleasures. My own network, whenever and wherever I want, is my concrete dream now and can be solved…we’re are at the threshold for new experiences. Social TV is taking off, with some events (Social TV Forum Europe), 3D revolution too with recent deals with ESPN, Disney’s, Discovery Channel, TLC, with  CES, à Las Vegas…, and the next big event in London, on May.

Old TV is alone, while everything has changed: but contents and pictures, needs and desires are really there, for a new entertainment world.

Found an interesting source about new tv ideas…get here on agoramedia.

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A short report to make facts and statements about what we can consider as a real innovation in TV, not in the contents itself, but in the new way people could watch it. Even if we can be full of scepticism regarding our ability/likeness to watch a great blockbuster or sport event in a too small screen, reality makes the dream, in some uses, true. But how deep?

Yes, we have some contents really developped for mobile, yes we have devices more and more cute (Iphone and wider screens for example). We have probably potential consumers generation Y and youngest can mix their instability and skills to do lots of things in mobility situation, and stay in fashion and hype lights with such stuffs. The idea itself, in bulk’s mind, traces its own way. And past major actors in TV – contents and broadcast -, believe maybe in a strong growth potential, that could make them always powerful and protected from nightmares.

mobiletv

See below some elements of 2007 survey by iresearch.com…Too early?

Reading about last IDATE survey about mobile TV, let’s shout some cruel points, that make reality now, of a growing model we see, with no arriving target yet, in the ability to raise profits, in a sustainable period.

It seems all the movers in around the mobile tv business, could not find the rulebook to make, for sure, profits in a long term area. No business model has been revealed, nor proofs about the value chain in the same time. Talking about fans of free models or relevant of paying fees prayers, nobody can find a model that works, in the fact it’s a foggy market…lost in the forest of majors interests, actors, and not the least, uses…Who can let from here to eternity, his usual tv behaviors?

Talking about selling prices, saying what the final consumer expected to accept to pay (between 8-10$ a month), this could not be much comparing to fixed costs and investments costs to supply the service. Talking about free models, regarding to financing by ads revenues, experts say that it’s obvious a potentially huge market but increasing commercial success but not profits, so far…As we can see, it’s a fighting place between editors (tv channels) and operators (broadcast, wires), and the best would be a strong partnership, that could divide the costs, and share them according to each business model. When will it appears? No body can’t really say it, because no bulk signal from consumers has been confirmed yet, waiting so far, prices and uses, according to “users centrics” behaviors.

TV screen can still make us dream and mobile can make us giving the voice.

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Leave your old TV device, don’t trust it anymore, as the colour times, and more recently, HD times, there’s a new revolution out there : social voice. I tried therefore, times ago, to demonstrate some changes in TV world, and gave some points of view of what was our holy toy, in such social fields, and I must be right now in front of no way path : what build TV today, in these times with such collaborative initiates ? Is there any time anymore for journalism or are we all, some of them ? what can make the difference between speaks on great major channels, and individual advises, thoughts and comments ?

That it is, the way we arrived now.

Yes it did. The crowd of information, people thoughts, social revolution of ideas, tumbled down all we taught about value circle in TV world. How ?

TV’s interest is about entertainment, information, direct live, and represent anything but having a window on the world, live, without any move from your sofa. But nowadays, and since many years, Web makes it better. Why ?

Because we’re fed up spending too much time, wasting hours in front of TV soaps and nut stuffs, and we find so much infinite possibilities on web, enforced by 2.0 apps, and supported by many communities. God gave us speaking abilities (and writing too). But TV say “no, we don’t need to, just sit down, shut-up, look and listen…”. And web 2.0 gave us the rules booklet to use words.

How did the web lead the main changes on actual TV ?

Before : there was one channel, in black and white, everybody was looking the same things, and no hope for conversation and two ways relation ; a one to all market !

Then, technologies appeared : colors, high definition, digital, sound, time delay and shifting devices ; thousands of channels, for a one to many market, but with broadcast limits : the even new ways of broadcasting (digital terrestrial, satellite, or DSL/cable), can’t lead to the royal state : one to one channel, private channel that I’m the program controler, and decide myself WHAT and WHEN, I’m gonna look.

Now, Web (first tech, then uses) entered the dance, and recently 2.0 fields. What changed ?

1) technology : with DSL access, you can build your own network (friends, pictures, video…), that can be compared to “my web” ; as if the web was divided by numbers of users, and each user could easily create its own ; and the story of Web3.0, leading you to personal networks (beyond personal contents), starts to see some “UG Networks”

2) contents : UGC ; great or bad world…

– great for creation and enrichment of freedom and abilities ; a new field of playing with your neighbours, without knowing him yet, leveraging the individual potentials (musicians, writers…)

– bad for piracy, because, nothing ever belongs to no one ; or must I say, people think they can take, copy everything on their own without paying anything ; some music bands have given up hope of making money with their music, and win money on concerts and shows… ; and you find in several places in dark places on the web, movies that are not on screen yet…especially in DivX form ; who owns what ?

– contents on the web are growing faster than TV ones ; because of costs, probably, and profusion of new 2.0 applications every day, that adds cleverness to others existing yet : feeds, multi-posting, mobile/live (see for example twitterfone, for saving time spent on writing…)

3) use : PC screen (and mobile devices) replaced TV one

– as you can do anything from mobile device (PDA, phones, PC…), you can watch “a kind of TV”, chosing between TV live, Video on Demand, Catchup TV, downloading…Vlog, Blogs and so long ; it’s like the cake is always the same size, but several eaters entered to share it…leading each piece fewer…

– time : we don’t live right now, how we did twenty years ago. “At a time, a use” ; success of recording and time-shifting is growing ; but don’t solve anything in your “part of time”, of entertainment. See a post really fun about it on confused of calcutta’s JP Rangaswami there. When you’re tied within a time, you make your own choices and refuse to be under influence of classical TV ; you make your own, watching social web. Personnay, although I worked on it several years, I understand the escape of time toward the web…Less you have time, more your choice is accurate

4) last but not least, freeness…To get TV contents with value (actual, blockbusters, or live sports…) you paid the high price…And when you already paid the device, the service (VoIP, Web access…), how much money stay in your wallet…?

Welcome to kind UGC’ers, and the infinite land of creation. And for ones who wait for their awards, they can anyway enter in Second Life to get a virtual one…;-)

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I must admit at first, the answer would not going out from my mouth such easily…But, it’s an enough attracting field to mind some time about it. 

Considering TV phases evolutions (here, a past post), we see an amazing window of the world, of our world, and how it evolves. But causes produce effects. Effects on TV, are always user’s generated, some by fashion snifs, some by trend setters, some by random (yes sometimes…), and even by professionnals (of course !), but always in the tail of something much deeper : search of audience. Great. But which audience ? Any good head of programs, can see that there’s a lot of different audiences, just like you can find all kind of crackers on any store ! Let’s see what we can stare today about different roles of modern TV :

 tv2.jpg

– entertainment : yes, we do ; everybody does, with its own profile, themes, and daily shows. Can we act on TV ? polling, trying to be live in a show, complaining…a kind of action, which is nothing else that guided by fear of several majors networks to lose their audiences, obliged them in a shape of “customer/user” relationship,  which is not really a big deal so far.

– information : yes, too ; what kind ? too much information, drive information to be a show, more than delivering news to/from the world ; is CNN right now an information channel, or delivering fiction ? There must be a doubt about that sometimes…

– learning : yes, but there is some great differences in several countries ; I guess this is one of the most important play of TV in the next future years, to make things right by satellite anywhere, adding deserted zones, wireless…But so far, it’s more faster on the web now, and more pleasant to do. And trusty, too.  

– useless time : it exists when we use to stay and don’t come to the right decision : switch off. And this time of brain is particularly wealthy for ads performers ; no injure, no violence, “medium is message” said Mc Luhan years ago ; we just mind that it was on TV, but what…still the question. But brain is available, not in social connection, in a vegetable one 😉

– sex : yes, of course, more and more, everywhere, (in soap and ads…) ; mirror of our weird times, where no one can meet anymore but by the web, wire connected, digital profiles, sometimes unreal in SL ; so what, is this called social so far ?

So, in one word if I can, TV can broadcast all that makes a social trusty tool, but…TV gives, but doesn’t receive from anyone. You can have in one place full of interesting things, but never have to react, not even have the ability to. You can amuse, learn, lose your time (!). But so far, not the rich way, you can on social web, where all can be shared and exchanged in one minute, for free, with thanks, congrats and kindness…with the best you can find, when you have some skills to stare and listen… 

 

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