Tag Archives: television

Digital Media predictions for 2014

In 2014 we'll see television change significantly
In 2014 we’ll see television change significantly (Credit: National Museum of American History on Flickr)

Every year I forecast a number of predictions in the Digital Media/ Internet world, and at the end of the year I score those predictions to see whether they came true or not. Here are links to 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 predictions.

For the coming year, here are my predictions:

  1. TV will change. In the next couple of years, television is going to change significantly in both content and technology terms.
    In the latter front, I reckon we’ll see 3D disappear altogether (bye-bye 3D channels), Ultra HD become production ready, Xbox One will become the central home entertainment device, and with television sets growing every year, we’ll see more transparent TV technologies for when the box is switched off.
    In content terms, Sky have lost the TV rights to the Champions League from the 2015/6 season. This will mean the next round of Premiership rights bidding will be huge, because Sky can’t afford to lose the Premier League. Unless they start significantly boosting the awareness of another sport, similar to what they’ve done with darts and cycling. The bad news for consumers is that TV is going to become fragmented – think multiple subscriptions from different providers to see all the TV content that your family wants to watch.
    The next two years of TV will see massive change.
  2. Investment post-recession. Remember Facebook buying Instagram for a billion dollars? Or Google buying Waze for almost a billion dollars? As the world (minus Spain and Greece) dusts itself down and emerges from the recession, we’ll see the spending spree continue. I’d expect to see TV broadcasters and newspapers lead in this area.
  3. We’ll see the pace of consumerisation speed up. Large companies will produce their own app stores, many more companies will move to BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) and finally improve the usability of their in-house apps. Across businesses, staff will demand more touch screens to work with Windows 8[.1]. All of this will mean that the business (i.e. non-IT departments) will be buying what we have always called ‘the technology’. And this will be challenging for established IT departments.
  4. Security is going to move to the top of the agenda, specifically with Trust and Identity. This will become the big item agendas for IT departments. Historically we’ve seen hacking groups held up as revolutionaries and small time geeks who are bored. This public and media perception will change as more people’s identities are cloned and security costs for hacking intrusions are passed on to end customers.
  5. From Mobile to Wearable. IT and marketing departments have focused on mobile devices for the last couple of years. We’ll see the focus shift to wearable devices as Google Glass, Samsung watches and Apple somethings all become mainstream. SMAC (Social, Mobile, Analytics and Cloud) will be replaced by SWAC (Social, Wearable, Analytics and Cloud).
  6. 2014 will be the year of the wallet. Visa released V.me at the end of 2013. PayPal already provides a wallet, and we’ll also see banks and payment systems releasing them. The good news is that it’s going to be easier to pay by card online – you’ll only need a username and password rather than your credit card number. The bad news is that we could end up with a number of wallets and many passwords. It will become a race for the first wallet.
  7. Speech recognition to become more mainstream. I use speech recognition for Google searches on my phone and laptop. It gets my search correct most of the time, and for the other occasions, Google usually second guesses what I was trying to search for and gives those results instead. With Google’s speech API, almost any app can use speech recognition, and the more it’s used, it will become better quality.
  8. Integration between services. When I received Google Glass in December I was impressed that as soon as you log in with your Google account, it shares phone numbers held on my Android phone together with my Google+ profile and so on. I saw a demo of Sharepoint 2013 recently with excellent integration between Yammer, Sharepoint, Lync, Exchange and Outlook. To date, social integration has been about finding Facebook friends on a new service or asking them to build new farms and vegetables. We’ll start seeing more clever implementations between applications – why does both Strava and my health insurance app need to follow me around when they can share data?

Pinpointing 2014’s top consumer, technology and media trends, Jason Gonsalves from BBH

These notes are from the adtech London exhibition in September 2013. Apologies for any brevity, grammar or spelling mistakes, I did the best I could! Here is a full list of all my presentation notes from adTech London 2013.

Many of these Uber initiatives were implemented in 24 hours
Many of these Uber initiatives were implemented in 24 hours

Jason Gonsalves is the Chief Strategy Officer from BBH. He’s a passionate, blunt, experienced marketing executive.

BBH are increasingly becoming less of an ad agency and more working alongside brands on their business plans and digital strategy, e.g. the Guardian newspaper. Help businesses sell better in the connected marketplace.

His 4 trends were based on the 4 Ps of marketing:

The new networked product development

The industrial production line constrained the pace of innovation. Whereas highly networked operations make ‘Agile Manufacturing’ a reality.

Companies such as Zara who can turnaround new fashion designs to shop floors in 12-15 days in an industry where competitors take around 12 weeks. All staff are trained to collate customer feedback and build this back to the manufactures.

3D printing reinvents the production line. Imagine 3D printing with fabrics or metals (already in use in the space industry).

Uber in the US very rapidly tailor their services to the customers’ needs. Within 24 hours Uber created a boats to work service during a metro transport strike. In a heatwave, they acquired 30 ice cream vans for users.

Crowd sourcing – there are 200 sites offering crowd funding and will become a $5 billion market in a few years. More brands will create incubators for start-ups. ‘Outsourced’ innovation through incubation.

BBH is doing this as well “due to the ad agency model being f***ed”.

Place: the age of hyper-context

Mobile internet access connects consumers everywhere to the global marketplace.

The smartphone is a powerful contextual computing device. It knows more about the consumer and your context (where you are, even the current weather where the user is). His view (no pun intended) is that Google Glass is an experiment in contextual computing.

Google now intuitively serves information in an intelligent, contextual way. Serving customers with more and more relevant offers.

Creating the conditions for Augmented packaging and point of sale to scale. When we have environmentally aware, contextual devices, then augmented services will take off

Price: Dynamic intelligent pricing

Getting price right is a tough challenge for any business. In Kingston a 98p shop has opened!

Pricing elasticity is a classic Big Data problem.

Dynamic pricing can enable retailers to offer different prices to different customers. Such as Orbitz. Based on user behaviour, location, even Mac v PC. The question is whether this is morally acceptable. (My note: this industry practice is called price optimisation).

From price aggregation to prediction algorithms… Kayak provides price trends, predicting whether prices will fall or rise in the next few days.

Future of financial services will move beyond credit and the transaction. See PingIt for a good example.

Promotion. The televisual web. The digital v TV debate.

Video content will be increasingly important on the web. The broadcast environment has been totally transformed – e.g. using Betfair on a tablet while watching a football game on the TV. Google Chromecast will accelerate the road to television/ web convergence. (My note: I’ve discussed Chromecast before – see This puppy changes everything). This will create a new environment for the video world, reinventing the television interface.

He quoted Reed Hastings from Netflix:

“What TV will be like in the future,” he said. “The simplest explanation is if you take your iPad and you stretch it out to be two metres and hang it on a wall that’s what it will look like. It will be beautiful, it will have all kinds of applications and it’s constantly getting better.”

Increasingly, all brands will become media brands who need to create and orchestrate a constant feed of content. e.g. Red Bull.

I spoke to Jason very briefly after the presentation about Dynamic pricing because I’m interested in price optimisation, and I tend to agree with Doc Searls model of pricing moving towards the control of the consumer not the seller.

Here is a full list of my presentation notes.

How we’ll buy TV channels in the future

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I’ve had Sky TV at home for six months now, so Sky sent me a questionnaire asking for some feedback.

I said that the ordering and installation process was superb. Flawless. Within a month I had all the services installed, working perfectly.

Originally we bought Sky because we want to watch more sport, specifically football, on the telly, and it was getting frustrating not being able to watch it live without Sky. We’d used BT Vision for a few years, but to ‘upgrade’ to just being able to watch Sky Sports was a ridiculous process of upgrading (and paying to upgrade) our set top box.

Over the Christmas holidays I got a free trial to Netflix. My wife and I haven’t watched some of the more popular TV shows such as 24, so for a small monthly subscription, it seemed good value.

We now watch mainly Netflix during the week, with sport on weekends.

It’s amazing to see how far TV has changed from being limited to a handful of channels ten years ago, to multiple subscriptions and hundreds of channels now. And this is on top of our Spotify and Xbox Gold subscription!

I can’t see this model being sustainable. I think the future will see a standardisation across platforms and consumers won’t be forced into multiple subscriptions. A little like you can currently buy various additional channels through Sky.

Maybe we’ll do it through an Xbox style device, maybe through the TV itself (once Smart TVs become smarter).

Steve Ballmer showcasing Kinect

One of my favourite pieces of technology is Kinect. Until you’ve used it, it’s difficult to believe that this level of technology exists, let alone for under $200.

My preferred BBC iPlayer device is the XBox – it’s voice controlled, easily the nicest menu structure to use, and has HD – but most importantly, it works on my TV and I still don’t like watching long formats on my laptop or desktop.

Windows 8 has been released, and I’m suspicious of it’s heavy reliance on touch screens. My monitors at work and home are already dirty enough, and I try not to touch the screens already.

If I had to swipe a web page with my fingers after eating a sandwich and bag of crisps, it would be revolting!

I don’t know how I originally missed this video of Steve Ballmer and the Kinect team demonstrating features which are already live, but it gives some further insight into the future of entertainment, whether it’s video games or television or work devices – the term PC doesn’t seem correct in this context.

Who will pay for content?

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One of the meetings I had in New York was with NBC – one of the biggest media and entertainment companies in the world.

We had an interesting conversation ranging from world instability to the economy, sport and the army before we moved on to technology.

Since arriving in the US on the Sunday, I had heard many people explain how they no longer subscribed to TV networks (cable or satellite) and were now consuming all their content from Internet services. These services ranged from LoveFilm (subscription), Hulu (free, and advertising funded) and the amazing MLB.com to illegal streaming services (mainly for sport).

We agreed that this shift will accelerate. It will plateau – I don’t think all users will migrate from TV services, but we will see step changes, literally hundreds of thousands of users stop paying for subscription services as they move to Internet services.

I heard from another broadcaster while I was in New York that the only content that advertisers wanted to purchase is sport because of the evidence of users TIVO’ing (Sky+ or BT Vision recording) and missing the adverts out. Sport has become so dominant with advertisers because most of the time it is watched in real-time, and you can’t skip the adverts. So this broadcaster now sells packages to advertisers where sport is part of the bundle. You can’t just buy a sport advert slot any more. You have to buy the documentary channel at 3am if you want to buy the Sunday afternoon American Football slot. Brilliant!

That helps with the funding gap for advertisers. There will always be enough advertisers desperate to cover sports adverts. However, as users start to migrate to Internet services and spend less money overall on content, we are going to see a rapidly shrinking investment bucket for original content elsewhere. What will fund the new CSI, House, Heroes or documentaries? The broadcast networks are working hard to solve this problem at the moment.

One possibility is that Google or Apple (or maybe Microsoft but I think they’ve experienced enough losses from Xbox TV and film services to put them off) will become so successful at a closed-loop network that TV viewers will keep spending money through their content-stores and that will keep revenues high for content producers.

Photo of CSI: Miami writer Tamara Jaron and writer/co-producer Matt Partney at National Academy of Sciences booth, USA Science & Engineering Festival, Washington, DC, courtesy of Adam Fagen on Flickr

How Shazam is helping brands and broadcasters

This week we held our annual Endava Digital Media Supplier and Partner event, where we invite all our suppliers and customers together, to show some case studies and for suppliers to demonstrate their latest products and roadmaps.

There are always a number of interesting facts and trends that are discussed by each of the presenters, and I’ll cover some of them in the next few days.

One of the key case studies this year was from Drum, who we’ve been working with on some recent Cadbury projects.

Drum presented some Shazam case studies, which are particularly interesting to us because we’ve been working with Shazam already, and I already love their mobile app.

Shazam have been well known for a while for their music recognition service. You point your phone at a speaker for a few seconds, and a few seconds later you either receive a text message or an App alert to tell you exactly what the piece of music was.

Shazam are now helping brands with TV advertising by providing a second screen experience. So while you’re watching a TV advert, when the Shazam icon appears you point your phone at the screen and very quickly, you’ll get ‘extra features’ from the TV ad. It might be a competition, or a game.

This is one of the main reasons sport is so valuable to TV broadcasters. Almost all other types of show can be recorded, and users can fast forward through the adverts. However most people want to watch sport live, which means watching the adverts in ‘real time’. 

NBC have taken Shazam into the actual TV production process. As the video below demonstrates, when a users Shazams a snowboarding show, they saw any extra first person view of the snowboard run in their mobile providing an excellent experience.

TV version 1, 2 and 3

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For the last few weeks Mrs H and I have been watching TV programmes almost exclusively using on-demand services. We have BT Vision at home, which includes a comprehensive iPlayer ‘application’ as well as catch-up players for the other channels.

I often refer to catch up players/ on demand television as TV version 3. Version 1 was standard, or linear television… switch the box on to any channel, sit back and watch it.

Version 2 was the invention of the Personal Video Recorder, or PVR. No tapes were required, yet you could instantly record or pause live television. In the US, PVRs took off with Tivo, and in the UK they took off with Sky+.

TV v3 is very different though – you sit down and then choose which programme you want to watch. There’s absolutely no planning involved. There’s also no monetisation… there are no adverts whatsoever.

For the BBC iPlayer this doesn’t make any difference because if you watch a BBC channel there’s no monetisation in the first place. Though watching any other channel such as ITV, Channel 4 or 5, or Discovery – it’s very strange to watch a 44 minute programme in… 44 minutes, without using a DVD.

If you watch the ITV player online (i.e. on a computer), they ‘hard code’ (you can’t skip them or speed them up) advertising breaks into the programme.

Perhaps the audience using the TV to watch catch up programmes is small – which is a real irony in itself.

I think it’s one of the reason why product placement on TV programmes is becoming so important. For the last few years – since TV version 2, we’ve been skipping through ad breaks, and with version 3 we don’t see them at all, so advertising needs to move inside the programme.

On “I’m a Celebrity…” next year, start getting used to the idea of the contestants wearing branded clothes, drinking specific beers in the evening and seeing low flying jumbo jets overhead!

Photo courtesy of cmun_project on Flickr

TV audience figures – the fury continues

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My anger with TV audience figures has just been further inflamed. I’ve just read that Red or Black lost 1.8 million TV viewers last night. It’s big news in the media news at the moment.

1.8 million TV viewers. This is calculated from BARB, which distribute TV set top boxes which analyse TV usage in a few homes around the country. These figures are then extrapolated to the UK population – each set top box represents 5,000 viewers.

So 1.8 million fewer viewers is actually 360 people. 360 people didn’t want a TV programme last night, which has commercial repercussions across the industry.

I still can’t fathom how such an antiquated system is used to define the UK’s £9bn television industry (that figure is from 2005).

I propose that all set top boxes – Virgin, Sky, BT Vision, etc. are required to send viewing stats back to a central location, probably Ofcom and actual figures are used, not extrapolated figures. We could go one step further and require all digital TVs to send usage stats back to Ofcom too.

It is unthinkable that a commercial website operation would not implement an analytics provider as a measuring tool – and have to pay for it themself. Quite how this happens in the TV industry is very strange.

Photo courtesy of Stefan on Flickr

Superbrands on BBC

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Last night on BBC3 (why BBC3??) was the first part of a three part documentary on Superbrands, and why they mean so much to us. Last night’s episode was on Technology, with next week investigating Fashion.

You can watch the Superbrands: Technology version here on iPlayer.

The series is well produced with a Louis Theroux style presenter, Alex Riley, who you can’t tell if he’s mocking his interviewee or being serious.

In case you don’t watch the episode, (and even if you do, I’m not giving too much away), the crux of the episode was “Why are Apple, Google, Microsoft, Facebook and Sony such powerful brands, and Nokia not so powerful? After all, Nokia is still the largest handset manufacturer in the World, and has more handsets out there.

One of the light hearted parts of last night’s programme is that various groups of people were asked to describe these brands as if they were a personality. These groups included primary school children and older children, to people in the street. Facebook was described as “your mate in the pub who knew everything about everyone and bought you a drink as you walked in, but you weren’t sure if your wallet was safe with them.” Microsoft was the “middle aged BMW driver” – not bad for the company who produce the hippest games console.

The programme’s conclusion was about Control:

  • Apple own the entire user journey from turning on your phone to the app, to the advertising on the app.
  • Apparently Sony lose around $200 per PS3 unit because they want to use the highest quality components including a Blu-Ray player which costs almost $100 per unit. Its a small price to pay when it provides a mass market desire to buy Blu-Ray discs, of which Sony has a revenue sharing model.
  • Microsoft was interesting because of its image as an Operating System vendor (yawn, and please look at the recent Windows 7 launch video) and a generally ‘boring’ application stack. Except for Xbox that is, which interestingly has no Microsoft branding near it.

Yet Nokia only own the handset. They are a hardware manufacturer. A non-exciting consumable manufacturer.

The programme was highly entertaining however I can’t say I learned anything new from it, except the Xbox-has-no-Microsoft-branding and the scientific (via MRI scan) similarity with brand loyalty and religion.

Thinking of other superbrands with similar levels of Control, Visa is another great example. It’s a Superbrand in the Control category because as soon as you pay for an item in a supermarket with your card, or online, you have regular reinforcement of the brand. The logo on your card, to Verified-by-Visa (I’m not saying V-B-V is a good thing) if you’re shopping online. And Visa has similar levels of Control of the successful technology superbrands because they understand spending data across retailers, which virtually no one else has. Actually, Akamai has probably more data about consumer behaviour, but is a B2B brand rather than a Superbrand.

I’m looking forward to next week with Superbrands: Fashion.

Defending the licence fee

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Photo courtesy of Marco Bernardini on Flickr

The public (and press) are too quick to criticise the BBC for the licence fee. I’ve said before that I think we get fantastic return on investment for our £150 a year – with top quality radio, TV and Internet content.

This week though, I got another pleasant surprise from the BBC. Despite having a two year old flat screen TV without the latest Internet-apps capability, I pressed the red button whilst watching one of the BBC channels because I saw ‘iPlayer’ on the red button prompt.

And there it was – iPlayer. On my TV.

So I browsed around and started watching something from iPlayer on the TV. Completely on demand, with pass and play functionality – everything you get from the website equivalent.

The impressive-ness of the experience was that iPlayer was streaming content over the Internet on to my TV without me realising that the TV could do it!

Quality is OK – although Mrs H didn’t find it a problem, I could see that the bandwidth needs to be increased to give a TV-quality experience.

So a round of applause to the BBC for once again delivering something beyond expectation. A special commendation should go to Panasonic of course for also delivering beyond expectation! And both for doing it without increasing the cost.