Let’s not get too excited about IPTV just yet

While the digital economy is driving diversification and fragmentation, traditional broadcasters haven’t got too much to worry about just yet.

That was the view of the panellists at TV Connect, who played down the death of traditional TV. Yes there is a clear and marked transition through to the connected world, where content can be consumed through a variety of different channels and an assortment of scenarios, traditional media is far from dead and buried.

According to BT’s Mark Wilson-Dunn, we’re now in the preparation phase for the digital world, but the TV will rule for years to come. IPTV is still a small blip on the radar, and while it is growing at a healthy rate, the living room is still the centre of the home, with the TV the feature piece. The evolution is coming in the expectations of the consumer.

The heart of the broadcasting world is still great content. Whether it would be a feature film, the big game or breaking news, audiences still consider the TV as the primary means of consuming such content. The challenge here comes in the promise of the connected era. Expectations have been set that if you cannot be at a TV, content must be available on the go. Whether you’re on a train, in a Starbucks or in an Airport, consumers now expect to be able to access content anywhere and everywhere.

The primary disruption is the fragmentation in the audience, according to MiDiA Research’s Tim Mulligan. Broadcasters now have to find the audiences because of this fragmentation, delivering content through a variety of platforms. They could be anywhere, but they still expect the same experience which would be delivered in the living room.

In previous generations, broadcasters could assume a content was present due to the fact the television was the centre of the world, but with the constantly increasing number of ways in which content can be distributed, broadcasters have to ensure the technology and infrastructure is in place to meet the demands of the connected consumer. Mobile can be seen as the saviour, due to the number of new monetization opportunities, but it could also be the downfall if broadcasters do not stump up the cash to ensure a positive user experience in every environment.

Many would blame impatient and demanding millennials for this double-edged sword; surely the baby boomers would have been happy with the above-and-beyond value which is being offered at no expense. But in truth, the blame lies primarily with the technology companies and broadcasters themselves. Promises have been made, and in many cases this was an over-promise, on the experience which can be delivered in the big, wide world. Now the promises have to be delivered, and this will mean stumping up some serious cash.

The shift away from traditional TV and content distribution is a slow moving beast, but it is gradually getting there. Wilson-Dunn highlighted broadcasters should be investing in the technologies to enable seamless experiences in the connected era and the expected proliferation in the way we consume content, but don’t go and sell your TV just yet.

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