Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Goodbye BBC Television Centre, Hello MediaCityUK

Television Centre, home to the BBC since 1960, closes its doors for the last time on March 31. This week saw the BBC wrap-up its news broadcasting from Wood Lane and the One O'Clock News  on Monday 18 March marked the first domestic TV news programme to go out from the newly redeveloped £1 billion HQ and studios at New Broadcasting House, central London. All other departments from TV Centre, including BBC Breakfast, Children’s, Sport, Radio 5 Live, Learning, and Future Media and Technology are relocating to MediaCityUK, in Salford Quays.

It will be sad to see Television Centre go – the land is due for redevelopment into offices, flats, hotels, a cinema and private TV studios – but although it was state-of-the-art when it was built, it is now not serving its purpose.

MediaCityUK, on the other hand, is a brand new, high-tech development created specifically to attract companies from the media, digital and creative industries.  The area also boasts The Lowry arts centre (Greater Manchester’s most popular cultural tourist attraction), Manchester United’s Old Trafford, Lancashire Cricket Club and the Imperial War Museum North. To date, it has attracted not only the BBC, but ITV, Satellite Information Services (SIS) the University of Salford and over 50 creative companies from composer agencies to independent production houses.

But more important than the buzzing creative environment is the fact that it’s connected to one of the most advanced, high-capacity communications networks in the world and able to satisfy the needs of the media industry.

Today’s world of high definition digital TV was unimaginable back in 1960. Digital processes, new production workflows, delivery of interactive online sites, mobile television and OTT services such as BBC iPlayer are always hungry for more bandwidth. MediaCityUK, with its purpose-built infrastructure, creative village and 20 million plus metres of optical fibre for the high speed transmission of voice, data, high and standard definition video and wireless communications services is excellently set-up to be the home of the new BBC for the digital age.

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Tesco hopes you won’t blink and miss the deals

British retailer Tesco has announced that it is to make its range of online films and TV programmes available to its Tesco Clubcard holders free of charge. Tesco bought 80% of Blinkbox in 2011 and will use the streaming service to reward customer loyalty. By uniting Blinkbox with its estimated 15 million Clubcard holders, Tesco is hoping to expand the current two million users of Blinkbox. Dubbed Clubcard TV, the new offer will provide access to family movies including Care Bears, Batman and Superman.

Tesco will have watched with interest as recent viewing figures revealed that House of Cards, the series streamed exclusively on Netflix, was the most watched content online over the Super Bowl weekend. Netflix is clearly gaining traction by making an entire series available exclusively all at once.

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Making the most of exclusive premium content

Already in 2013 we are seeing premium online services providers exploring new ways to differentiate their services. If 2012 was all about VoD providers such as LoveFilm and Netflix striving to get viewers connected across an increasing number of devices, then 2013 is about the battle for exclusive content and how best to exploit it.

Netflix has exclusively made an entire new series available to its subscribers featuring Kevin Spacey whilst LoveFilm has agreed a deal to stream 11 original children's and comedy TV test pilots produced by the studios of its parent company, Amazon.

Netflix has come a long way in its first year in the UK, and by making a new series exclusively available all at once, it is changing the way that consumers consume content. Are the days of waiting a week for the next episode of our favourite drama coming to an end?