Curated by: Luigi Canali De Rossi

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Television As We Know It: The Beginning Of The End

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"I am in digital-electronics-gadget nirvana. And, I am not afraid to boast. My home sports a fully wireless broadband (WIMAX) Internet environment, where content moves freely among the home server, several multiple high definition (HD) screens, the office PC and the mobile devices that I continually upgrade.

Photo credit: Mgemin

I regularly acquire favorite TV shows (new and old) either from Internet search engines such as Google Video, the video/telecommunications provider's on demand archive or fully-loaded Internet video destinations. I can't remember the last time I made "appointment TV," since I download or watch on replay from my multi-room digital video recorder (DVR) every important program or episode.

A Bluetooth-like signal on my cell phone triggers the logon for my media center system. When ready to watch TV, I am greeted with a mosaic screen with tiles of favorite TV channels, suggested programs from the last 24 hours, season's passes and tailored on demand choices.

My home network offers different on demand pricing packages, dependent on the number of times I plan to watch, copy or download - and whether the content is a preview. When not skipping through, I am more amused than ever by advertising, particularly since it is tailored for me and comes with relevant links, add-ons and a variety of purchase options within the commercial itself.


The above is an excerpt from a newly published research report from IBM entitled: "The end of TV as we know it: A future industry perspective".

IBM conducted more than 65 one-hour interviews with "C-level" and senior industry executives, Wall Street analysts, economists and technology visionaries inside and outside IBM with the goal of analyzing and distilling a report focusing on future television fruition scenarios as our marketplaces may have developed by 2012. Further, IBM commissioned primary research by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU). The EIU surveyed 108 industry executives from three constituencies:

1) cable, broadcast and Pay TV networks,

2) multiple system operators (MSO) and direct broadcast satellite (DBS) providers, and

3) new entrant video telecommunications companies.

Respondents were evenly split among three geographical regions: Europe, Asia and North America.


Television has an inspiring past, ripe with innovation and popular culture influence. Since its coming of age mid-20th century, generations of TV viewers happily embraced their broadcast experience. For the industry, making a connection with consumers was a pretty straightforward, one-to-many experience...until recently.

Today, audiences are becoming increasingly fragmented, splicing their time among myriad media choices, channels and platforms.

For the last few decades, consumers have migrated to more specialized, niche content via cable and multichannel offerings. Now, with the growing availability of on-demand, self-programming and search features, some experiencers are moving beyond niche to individualized viewing.

With increasing competition from convergence players in TV, telecommunications and the Internet, the industry is confronting unparalleled complexity, dynamic change and pressure to innovate.

To hone our point-of-view of the mid-term future circa 2012, from both a demand and supply perspective, IBM conducted extensive industry interviews across the value chain and commissioned Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) primary research in the U.S., Europe and Asia.

Our analysis indicates that market evolution hinges on two key market drivers:

a) openness of access channels and

b) levels of consumer involvement with media.

For the next 5-7 years, there will be change on both fronts - but not uniformly. The industry instead will be stamped by consumer bimodality, a coexistence of two types of users with disparate channel requirements. While one consumer segment remains passive in the living room, the other will force radical change in business models in a search for anytime, anywhere content through multiple channels.

The tech- and fashion-forward consumer segment will lead us to a world of platform-agnostic content, fluid mobility of media experiences, individualized pricing schemes and an end to the traditional concept of release windows.

Figure 1 illustrates the behavioral differences that will lead to the "Generational Chasm" between the passive mass audience ("Massive Passives") and leading-edge users (divided into two sub-groups: "Gadgetiers" and "Kool Kids").

Given the influence of both segments in the 2012 forecast period, strategists must today work amid fragmentation, divergence and opposition in the market: to optimize across nascent and long-standing business models; across new and traditional release windows; with old and new content programmers; and with both IP and traditional supply chains.

This is the beginning of "the end of television as we know it" and the future will only favor those who prepare today.

IBM offers six executive recommendations to get started:

  • Segment: Invest in divergent strategies and supply chains for bimodal consumer types. Identify, develop and continually refine data-driven user profiles in order to optimize product and service development, distribution, marketing messaging, and service migration. Tailor content, advertising, pricing and reach dynamically.
  • Innovate: Innovate business and pricing models by creating - not resisting - wider consumer choice with windows, bundles, pricing and distribution. Take risks today to avoid losing position long-term.
  • Experiment: Develop, trial, refine, roll-out. Repeat. Conduct ongoing market experiments alone and with partners to study "real life" consumer preferences. Invest in new measurement systems and metrics for the on demand world of tomorrow.
  • Mobilize: Create seamless content mobility for users that require on-the-go experiences. Ensure easy synchronization across devices and without user intervention.
  • Open: Drive open content delivery platforms to optimize content and revenue exploitation, and to create optimum business flexibility and network cost-efficiency. Position open capabilities to bolster digital content protection with consumer flexibility, and for plug-and-play business upgrades necessary in the fast-changing marketplace.
  • Re-organize: Assess business assets against future requirements. Identify core competencies needed for future competitive advantage. Isolate non-core business components for outsourcing or partnership. From an external perspective, reconfigure business to exploit market and financial levers to buy, build or team to future competitiveness.
  • Read the full research report (PDF - 341 KB / 27 pages)

    Highly recommended.

    About the authors
    Dr. Saul J. Berman, Partner, Global and Americas Business Strategy leader, IBM Business Consulting Services

    Louisa A. Shipnuck, Global Media and Entertainment Industry Leader, IBM Institute for Business Value

    Niall Duffy, Associate Partner, Broadcast Solutions practice leader for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, IBM Business Consulting Services

    Dr. Saul J. Berman, Louisa A. Shipnuck and Niall Duffy -
    Reference: IBM [ Read more ]
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posted by Robin Good on Tuesday, February 28 2006, updated on Tuesday, May 5 2015

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