Posts tagged long reads

Televisions Last Stand?

Channel 4 have revealed more details of their upcoming 4Seven channel, a Freeview stream that will recap the best of the past seven days on Channel 4, according to Facebook, Twitter and ‘critical buzz’. As the article acknowledges, it is an attempt to try and place TV priced advertising inventory against on demand content. The key part is that Dan Brooke, C4’s chief marketing and communications officer is clear about the shelf life for this kind of channel.

"Repeats used to be a dirty word, but now there is so much on viewers say they are missing the best stuff they want to see. When we did research we found the appeal of this channel was across the board. People do use online catchup, but viewers really want to watch on a big screen, in their lounge. It will take five to 10 years or so until we have convergence. This is a bridge.

A lot of people I know are already there, watching on demand content on a big screen whether it’s through a games console, a smart TV or a box of some sort. This TV channel should drag the last few million over the VoD finish line.

Ari Emanuel at D10, discussing the current economics of the TV industry. If you have an interest or a view on the future of TV, this is a must watch.

It’s the 2nd time I have heard a senior industry exec say that it doesn’t matter what TV will be like in 20 years, as they won’t be around. The storm is coming, and “Southern California” as Emanuel puts it, needs to adapt before their current model disappears from under them.

It’s also worth watching Ari Emanuel dismiss the concerns of The Verge’s Editor in Chief Joshua Topolsky in the Q&A near the end, if only to get an idea of how Hollywood are currently approaching TV piracy.

Youview Enters Public Trials

Well this ship clearly hasn’t sailed. Youview, the initiative to bring an open, smart TV like experience to the masses, has entered the public trial stage.

YouView — a joint TV venture between the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Channel Five, BT, TalkTalk, and Arquiva — is being trialed in 350 homes ahead of its launch later this year. Originally known as Project Canvas, the service was intended to launch in 2010, but has suffered delay after delay. YouView is a web-enabled version of Freeview, the UK’s free-to-air digital network, which adds widgets, apps, catch-up TV, and DVR services alongside traditional programming.

2 years late for a service nobody asked for. The world has moved on from the mass Freeview box take-up, and I just don’t see a large market for this kind of box anymore without some sort of mass giveaway…

The Second Screen

Techcrunch article last night/this morning about how TV companies are thinking about viewers using an Tablet/Phone while watching traditional television.

The second screen space is going to be a multi-billion dollar market. Just last week, Tim Cook announced that 67M iPads were sold in less than two years. It took more than 24 years to sell that many Macs.  With the growing trend of second screen activity (i.e. using tablets while you watch TV), there is bound to be major disruption in the TV industry.

I can safely say that the only time I am 100% immersed in a program is a show like Mad Men or Community, where every detail matters, or when I am watching subtitles on a show like The Bridge, or The Killing. Otherwise I am on my phone/tablet/laptop, listening (kind of) and looking up at the TV whenever there is dramatic music, gunshots and silence.

I would like writers to do more to engage the audience, but I fear they will simplify storylines so they can be understood when people like me are only half watching.

The History of the Future of Television

Fantastic article on The Verge about the definition of television, worth reading for the history lesson alone.

We live in a time when it’s hard to define what television is precisely. Is television defined by the device you’re watching it on? Is television defined by the length of a certain piece of visual media? Am I using television if I chat with someone through a TV screen over the internet? The thing is, it’s always been that way. The history of the future of television is particularly messy because no one at any given time has been happy with defining exactly what it is.

I always say if you want to know the future, you’ll find the answers in the past.

Underhyped Trends in Social TV

Jeremy Toeman at Techcrunch covers the trends that we might be missing in the future of TV.

We can and should expect to see cracks in the system. But I don’t think it’s about cord cutting and little startups. This is the Barzinis teaming up with the Tattaglias to take out Vito, and I hate to say it, but Silicon Valley’s no more than a Clemenza, at best. But there is war a-coming, and there will be great opportunities for startups to rise to great heights if they understand how the system works today, and what’s coming down the pipe.

I have noticed that I barely use the “genre” sections on Netflix or Apple TV, but they must serve a purpose for someone. Anyone?

The Watercooler is in the Cloud

Fantastic article by Matt Zoller Seitz about the shift to talking about TV with people you may not know over social networks, as opposed to your colleagues at work the next day.

Watching TV used to be a mindless experience to be shared with only those in the room (often just oneself); thanks to Twitter, Facebook, and blogs, it has become a group activity, practically a hive mind.

I’ve lost count of the number of times I have gone to Twitter to make sense of a line, or understand a cultural reference beyond my feeble learnings. I have also lamented the loss of the water cooler chat, due to people watching shows at different times, but this is probably better.

Reinventing TV.

GigaOM have a great writeup on an Israeli who would like to quite literally reinvent TV.

To sum it up briefly, NDS was showcasing a big matrix of six bezel-less flat screen TVs that were combined to form a huge, almost overwhelming TV wall. NDS CTO Nick Thexton then went on to demonstrate that big displays like these can be broken up, showing a video of varying sizes somewhere in the middle, with personalized and content-relevant widgets off to the side. And once you got some cinematic 4k content, you might even want to use the whole screen. 

I will take one please. It also means one less wall to paint!