Wednesday, December 30, 2009

More Freesat HD channels?

Seems that amongst other things HD TVs are being pushed pretty hard - I've got the Freesat option myself and am a little irritated that Channel 4 is not on that platfrom as yet.

Have asked Channel 4 about their plans and was told by their Viewer Enquiries that

" Unfortunately, there is no satellite capacity for our HD channel on Freesat at present, when this situation changes we hope to make our HD channels available on Freesat."

Now I must say I had thought that Freesat and Sky pretty much shared the same capacity apart from adding some EPG and CA stuff it should not require extra capacity - having done a search I found that there is (perhaps) money changing hands which I guess helps attract and keep Sky HD viewers But it seems that the real cause is that C4 does not have capacity on the correct spot beam on Astra 2D (other beams allow too much spill into other territories) so hope they can
get this capacity soon.
I see that there might be more FTA (free to air) HD in the near future and hope that this will be the case (or will it be all on Freeview?)

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Cool books

Strangely I've read far fewer books this year than normal but I have just completed Levitt & Dubner's follow up to Freakonomics it is a great stimulus to thought/reflection and named rather unsurprisingly 'Super Freakonomics'.

The most amazing chapter is the last one which gives some details of research conducted by Keith Chen into the behaviour of capuchin monkeys - it is quite something.

Like Tim Harford whose book The Logic of Life I'm looking forward to reading Dubner and Levitt are ostensibly economists but in reality they are much more than this. Incidentally Tim Harford's programme 'More or less' that is broadcast on Radio 4 is now back for a fresh run and this week it included an illuminating insight into the folly of energy saving light bulbs.

The other author with an exciting treatise into modern life is the somewhat enigmatic Alain De Botton his latest book, The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work will be sampled (by me) over the Christmas holidays - from a skim of the reviews it appears (paraphrasing somewhat here) that De Botton concludes that we work to distract ourselves from the fact that life is all too brief.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

3DTV and the Gregster

Couple on interesting events over the last week:

1) There's a bit of a buzz about 3D, it's seen a few false dawns and its early modern roots go back to the cinema trying to offer something that TV couldn't but it now seems that TV (and display manufacturers) are providing much of the impetus for the current wave.

I went to a workshop and presentation held by the IET most impressive was Charlotte Huggins who as well as being a fantastic ambassador for the topic she's a great speaker and can really communicate her enthusiasm. See her here.
At the end of the event I must say I see it more as a cinema experience than a TV one although perhaps I'll be proved wrong by Sky's launch of a dedicated 3D channel in 2010.

2) Greg Dyke was speaking at the London Centre RTS Christmas lecture, it seems he's now come to terms with the fact that he's not going to be a senior figure in broadcasting but he had a number of incisive perspectives on the present state of UK TV, the ones most likely to raise eyebrows being that Channel 5 has no independent future the other being that the BBC management salaries are too high.
Rather worryingly Dyke looks increasingly like Kelvin Mackenzie (The former Sun newspaper editor).

Sunday, December 06, 2009

ITV as a brand

How we experience television is changing very rapidly and those who do not not embrace the change risk being left behind.
I recently submitted the final piece of work for my long running effort to achieve an MBA, it was a study that focused on how ITV may have damaged the "ITV Brand" by its pursuit of cash through the ITV Play adventure, somewhat surprisingly I came to the conclusion that no serious damage had been done.
My survey and research provided evidence that ITV was a strong brand and I personally felt at the time of my research that ITV did not leverage the brand to maximum effect.
Of late ITV (ITV 1 at least) has I believe improved its proposition with the use of mass audience fodder such as 'X factor' and Hell's kitchen; such programmes as well as attracting audience help to strengthen the proposition that ITV offers - the branding has correspondingly improved with junctions exploiting the programme relationship. Much of the credit for the improvement must rest with Rupert Howell who has given the lead there.

Now as ITV post Grade looks for a future less reliant on advertising it needs to direct attention at the 'partner channels' (ITV 2, 3, 4 along with CITV) and to make a big splash with either Hulu or Youtube.

As well as a broadcaster it is and has been for some time a formidable content producer the question of how this fits into delivering advertising to audiences (or is that the other way round?) is a question that has no easy answer.