Posts tagged television

The Sad State of TV?

A piece over at Gigaom laments the “Sad state of TV”.

But the sad truth is that even winning a contract like this would be a defeat for Apple. The company originally set out to disrupt the TV space and sell programming directly to consumers. It wanted to unbundle cable much in the same way it unbundled the CD when it started selling single songs on iTunes for $0.99. 

Although there is a lot of truth in the article, I feel there is a silver lining to all this. Contracts and rights are being amended as we speak to allow a more flexible future, and the small steps taken by the industry over the next few years will eventually lead to major change.

Youview Launch Reaction

The long delayed Youview launched yesterday to a mixed reaction on both sides of the atlantic. Here in the UK the price of the box was questioned, and I have to say (without knowing component prices) that it would have been far better for all concerned if they had managed to get it to retail for under £200.

Over in the US the timing was questioned, and whether it was still relevant in the era of the Smart TV, and the $99/£99 boxes that do all the catchup you desire.

Personally I think it’s late, nothing can be done about that, but there is a world outside the tech blogosphere that doesn’t know it was coming, so it’s not late to them. This large set of consumers don’t want to pay monthly for TV, but they would like an easier way of watching yesterdays/last weeks/last years shows.

I haven’t seen the Youview EPG/Guide up close, but I’m assuming it does that at the very least, and as the price comes down I imagine they will have a replacement for Freeview.

The UK is great adopting tech like this if the proposition is right, so let’s hope the marketing team at Youview don’t mess up what could be a fantastic platform for the future for British Television.

Tablets and TV

Great bit of research showing what people get up to on their tablets while they are watching TV at home.

The data isn’t terribly surprising: email is the top activity, men check sports scores more than women, women are slightly more interested in deals and coupons, and younger users are more inclined to use social media while watching TV. (Unfortunately, the data doesn’t break down the amount of social activity that’s tied to the broadcast — that would be a great study to do.)

It doesn’t say how many people are watching a different program on their tablet device!

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.


Interested in pilots for shows you won’t be able to see until September? No, I can’t give you the BitTorrent links, but what I can do is provide you with the hashtag above.

Search #pilotwatch2012 on Twitter and you will be rewarded with short reviews of your soon-to-be favourite shows. Although judging by the reviews, only “The Following” and “The Mindy Project” have escaped the wrath of the tweeters.

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…

Graham Linehan on TV Piracy

This weekend the Observer had an interview with the co-creator of Father Ted and creator of The IT Crowd, Graham Linehan.

What he’s most aware of, and uncomfortable about, are attempts to brand illicit downloaders of films or music as “pirates”. He sounds exasperated: “These people aren’t pirates, they’re fans,” he says. “If you think of them like that, it becomes much easier to understand. What fans hate, what they fear, is spoilers. They want to get the content as soon as they can.” He sees himself as standing in the middle of the crossfire: “I’m a creator, and I need to be paid and to feed my family, but I’m also a user and a consumer, and I’m really sick of being left out of the conversation. That’s the brilliant thing about Twitter and social media, they can’t leave us out of the conversation any more.” Give the fans the chance to buy the content if they can, and to get it early, and you’ll win their love and their money.

If you could get a legal version of a show on a site, day and date with it’s first airing wherever in the world, there would be much less reason to download it illegally. Let’s all work towards this goal. Who is with me?

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.