Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Upswing for Sony?

The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) sets the outlook for the electronics industry for the coming 12 months.

This year didn't disappoint. Warner Bros. announced that it is to discontinue the HD-DVD format, effectively pledging allegiance to Blu-ray. And although Toshiba put a brave face on it at the time, the announcement has culminated in Toshiba surrendering the next-generation DVD format war to Sony.

Maybe now we can move away from the tedious characterisation used by virtually all the analysts in describing the general public as being "confused" by the format wars. To my mind, there was no confusion, just frustration.

The public was never confused by which format was the right one to buy - they were very clear that they shouldn't buy until the war was declared over.

So what do we expect moving forward? Sony will increasingly push PS/3 as a triptych offering games, DVDs and online content. Especially given rumours of the Blu-ray spec being revamped to make the Ethernet socket mandatory, thus favouring the PS/3 over all the other stand-alone Blu-ray players.

Microsoft is left with a painful decision: either it concedes 360 does not compete with PS/3 for playing high def DVDs or it coughs up the Sony tax.

For now, Microsoft appears disinclined to pay such a tax and Paramount has announced further online content availability for the 360. But does this give Sony a three-legged chair to Microsoft's two-legged equivalent?

Monday, 11 February 2008

Global IPTV Market to reach 103 million in 2011

A new report by Research and Markets has revealed that the global IPTV market is expected to reach 103 million subscribers by 2011.

With the nature of IPTV meaning that audiences are much more fragmented, some marketers will not be keen on facing this challenge. However, it would be ill-advised to ignore the 103 million consumers that will be part of the IPTV audience. Some forget that this is not television in a different box at different times – IPTV is a revolutionary new medium where the potential to tinker and play with more creative and involved messages surpasses what was available before.

A cross between the personalisation, individuality and technology of the blogging and internet community crossed with the mass market potential of mainstream TV – IPTV is missing one thing at the minute though - creative marketers ready to take a chance and explore this medium.

Thursday, 7 February 2008

BBC iPlayer fuelling IPTV growth

According to Screen Digest (as reported in today’s Guardian Unlimited), more than 1.5 billion TV shows and specialist programmes will be downloaded or streamed this year fuelled by the success of the BBC’s iPlayer service.

Screen Digest reports that the BBC’s on-demand video services, including the seven month old iPlayer service accounted for 30 per cent of UK’s free-to-web-services. Admittedly, I’m a huge fan of the BBC’s service. Trying to maintain a healthy work-life balance means that I can’t always stay up to watch Curb your Enthusiasm or the Might Boosh. With that in mind the service is a Godsend.

We are already hearing rumblings over the cost of the bandwidth for the current level of iPlayer viewership, so it will be interesting to see how it plays out if the predicted growth does indeed happen (this goes back to the net neutrality debate previously discussed).