Sunday, March 21, 2010

OTT - Another future of TV

I’ve attended a couple of very illuminating sessions over the last week, they both were focused on the broadband connectivity of the TV of the future (and it’s already here in
some cases).

That future is typified by Canvas but is unlikely to be restricted to this tamed version of internet TV (suitably titled OTT/Over the Top TV), the expectation that it will be sanitized and not driven by pirate and adult content may be some peoples wishful thinking.

The first presentation was given to the London section of the RTS on Wednesday by a couple of guys one, Bill Scott from Easel TV banner, and the other Rob Walk from Novarising (who also appears to be part of Easel TV) although not strictly speaking representing Project Canvas it was clear that they had strong associations with the BBC driven initiative.
Bill and Rob were clear that they believed that this TV would remain a 'lean back' experience with limited search facilities and a semi walled garden philosophy that relied on some form of markup language to enable TV guide like functionality.

On Thursday I went along to another presentation this time at The Cavendish Centre in London's W1 this had a slightly random mixture of panelists under the stewardship of a somewhat crazed Kate Bulkley.

The panelists were Kelvin's not so little boy Ashley MacKenzie representing rights holders (he seemed a restrained version of his father and considered that aggregating rights was going to be an are of significance).
Representing the Gorilla in the front room that is YouTube (Google TV?) was Anna Bateson she seemed a little detached, perhaps aware that it was for others to court her favours as being the deliver of internet TV audiences who can afford to play the slightly longer game.

Claire Tavernier of Freemantle was able to represent content and the potential loser of this new dawn, Sky TV had Griffin Parry as its cheerleader. The views of Michael Cornish CEO of Blinkbox kicked off the evening and as something of an industry veteran they were worth listening too.

My views on what I heard over the sessions are:

1) The (slightly) old guard are not fully aware of the paradigm shift that is about to be unleashed (the current youngster will consume media differently from how the present generation do for a variety of reasons)
2) Human behaviour with respect to the drivers with respect to content will be constant namely such things as, sport, adult material and free movies.
3) Search will not be an add on at the periphery - I expect 'smart phones' to be hooked up with killer applications that act as an itelligent remote/gateway come video search engine/purchase tool.
4) The BBC is doing the right thing in fighting to be at the heart of the evolution of the TV screen -it matters otherwise TV can be just about delivering audiences and the viewer is the loser.

5)One thing I think the panelists did get right is that the Samsungs, Sonys and Panasonics have a big part top play in the gate-keeping and enabling side of things.

If you have a different perspective I'd like to hear it and I'm sure it's something that will be a topic for some time.

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