Damien Mulley is an Online Communications Consultant. His business website is www.mulley.ie
Television has changed drastically in the past five years, in five years time will it resemble the TV of today? Some of the principles of Television we ought to look at and be ready to react to are:
Consuming television now means all sorts of screen sizes. Mobile phones, iPads and other tablets, laptops, giant flatscreens and projectors. As a content producer that’s al lot to consider but these are all strong and mostly new markets. People are watching content on phones – for example YouTube is seeing hundreds of millions of videos viewed on mobile phones daily. Maybe a movie might be too much if you have a choice of another method but “casual viewing” like casual gaming (playing 10 minutes of Angry Birds while waiting for the bus) is already happening and we need to accept that and use that knowledge.
Live is fine but catch-up is growing rapidly. It’s funny when people on Twitter talk about watching a show and others say they missed it and the crowd are almost in shock – “It’s on the Player, look at it there”. “That excuse is not valid” seems to be the underlying attitude. I can watch a show live, stop halfway through and catch-up with it later and on a different device if I want. The half-life of digital content lasts a lot longer when you don’t have schedules and so like Star Trek that only became popular in the U.S. when it was syndicated, you could have a hit on your hands, if you just make it available to anyone, from anywhere and at anytime.
I’ve watched more TV over the internet or via the Internet in the past few years than by sitting in front of a TV screen in the sitting room in my house. Now the twist is that the Internet is coming to our TVs through apps, like on our phones. Samsung TVs now have the RTÉ player, YouTube and other apps. We’ve had the Internet on TVs for decades but websites looked awful, it just didn’t work – you still had to use a keyboard or mouse from 8 feet away. Some people have become millionaires because of an app they made for the iPhone. This is going to happen with TV. There’s not just money to be made in traditional TV content or ads from here on in, and those that make the first in-roads will reap the rewards.
Exclusivity is not the same thing as exclusionary. Game of Thrones is the most pirated TV show this year. Each of the 12 episodes is estimated to cost $6M to produce. It’s only available on HBO or Sky Atlantic over in Europe. It airs 24 hours later in Europe and it’s interesting that a lot of people are happy to wait and watch it when it airs on Sky. However a lot more people are watching it on Monday morning or Monday evening because they downloaded it. Being exclusive or being first is very important when we are dealing with very impatient consumers but we need to realise that we need to provide for their demand. Go online and see the amount of people wanting to get Game of Thrones on DVD but cannot. They are shouting that they’ll pay to stream it or watch it on their computers and cannot. Apple showed the music industry that if you make music easy to download and easy to pay for, people will pay. TV people, I’m waving money at you here, give me the content!
Ride the wave of change or drown
The future of TV needs to fit around us, not us fit around a TV. It needs to be where we are, across all the different screens we look at daily, needs to be sociable so we can tell others easily what a great show we’re watching and it needs to be available immediately and forever after that. That’s a huge ask but I think there’s a massive opportunity to get this right and profit from it while also broadening the palette of those watching TV.