Wednesday, 30 June 2010

BBC Trust Approves Project Canvas

This week the BBC Trust gave final approval for the BBC to participate in Project Canvas.

Project Canvas aims to build an internet-connected TV platform, which will allow users to access on demand content as well as traditional broadcast content from the likes of ITV, Channel 4 and Five. It has also attracted support from ISPs BT and Talk Talk as well as communications infrastructure provider, Arqiva. It has been suggested that it may be marketed as ‘YouView’.

One of the main conditions of the BBC’s participation in the project is that the consortium must publish its ‘open’ technical specification within the next 20 days. Further details of the conditions can be found here.

Thursday, 24 June 2010

Channel Four – a digital TV fairytale

The story that’s caught my eye this week is a report on how digital TV services are driving profit for ‘traditional’ broadcaster Channel Four.

After a tough financial year, the TV giant is attributing a small turn in profit to the growth of its digital programming schedule. This, for me, is a reflection of the real progress being made in evolving the TV viewing experience, as many flagship broadcasters here in the UK begin to turn the spotlight on digital services, and examine the real commercial value they could bring.

So, why have Channel Four’s digital TV services been so successful? With so many digital TV channels on offer today, consumers can become lost for choice. With its staple diet of popular programmes such as Hollyoaks and Skins, plus iconic sitcoms like Friends, E4 and E4+1 provide viewers with easy option viewing, knowing they’ll almost always find something they like. And, as on demand services continues to gather pace, the launch of 4od means that viewers can watch their favourite soap or get their Big Brother house fix, any time they like. Nicely done.

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Whether it is factories in Bangladesh being asked to stop work to ensure there’s enough electricity for people to watch World Cup football on TV, or thousands of
British HD viewers complaining after an advert interrupted England’s first goal; the football viewing experience is firmly under the spot light.

While weekend matches are attracting crowds in the pubs, day time matches are tempting office workers to seek their football fix online. The online picture quality is pretty good and traffic to the top news websites peaked during the Mexico v South Africa game with 12.1 million visitors per minute. And, there are new TV viewing records being set. ITV said 20.1million tuned into the England/USA game (its highest viewing figures for four years).

So, what are we missing – apart from a win from our first game? Maybe, a pair of glasses and the next match in 3D. Sky has already started to screen some English football matches in 3D. But, what would a 3D viewing experience do for the World Cup? Let’s hope we find out in 2014.

Monday, 7 June 2010

First Ruling for On-Demand Advertising

There was an interesting ruling from the ASA (Advertising Standards Authority) last month, when it was revealed that young children had been able to view an inappropriate advert when watching The X-Factor on ITV’s VOD service. The ruling stated that "adequate steps [were] not taken" to ensure that children did not see an advert which had been booked for post-9pm viewing.

This highlights the need for a different approach from broadcasters when distributing on-demand content. While a programme such as The X-Factor doesn’t require an on-screen warning when viewed on-demand, the adverts booked might.

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Pay-TV market share movement

The number of IPTV subscribers in Europe is set to rise by 92% in next five years, according to a report from Analysys Mason. This will more than double the current number of subscribers from 15.4 million to 29.6 million.

These results show that IPTV is set to grow at a fast rate and is shaping up to take a 19% share in the pay-TV market by 2015. Analysys Mason is also expecting to see strong growth with pay-DTT (digital terrestrial television) subscriptions owning up to 11% of the pay-TV market in the next five years.

As these platforms display strong growth, there will of course be platforms that decline in market share, as the report states there will "inevitably be losers as well as winners during the next five years". Cable platforms will continue to dominate, although this is expected to decline to 41% and Satellite TV services are expected to lose out on their share by a 1% decline.