Change happens

The digital media industry is changing rapidly.

Autumn in the United States brings college football, brilliant foliage and change. The weather gets a little cooler, school resumes and we carefully hoard nice days knowing that the snow could fly tomorrow.

We move indoors, resume routines of past autumns and, invariably, watch more TV.

Like most Baby Boomers, my TV habits have changed. I watch more shows off the DVR, and more fare from Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime Instant Video than I’d ever have believed I would.

It’s likely more than operators and broadcasters would have believed, too… until recently.

As John F. Kennedy said, “Change is the law of life. And those who look to the past or present are certain to miss the future.”

At IBC last month, I saw a lot of TV and service provider executives looking into the future, even as they sometimes clung to the past. The mood in Amsterdam was set during the first keynote, when Charlie Vogt, CEO of Imagine, said he believed all-IP delivered TV was just around the corner, less than 2 years away. Of course, during the Q&A, an audience member offered that a Finnish operator already was live-streaming four channels.

U.K. public broadcaster Ch. 4, meanwhile, suggested broadcasters that tried to separate their linear brand from their online brands were doing more harm than good, and revealed its own plans to merge on-demand and linear offerings into “All 4,” an online hub offering its 4oD on demand service and all of its TV networks.

“All in one place, designed from the ground up,” said its CEO David Abraham.

Ah, change.

Hardware continues to get smaller, TV screens continue to get bigger, and the traditional TV audience continues to shrink, or to at least move like a river from one screen to another.

Mobile — as Ooyala’s just released Q2 2014 Video Index showed — continues to grow, increasingly becoming the first screen, especially among younger viewers. More than 25% of all video views in the quarter were on mobile devices.

Mobile devices remain the future. A report from the United Nations forecast that 50% of the world would have access to broadband by 2017, calling mobile broadband specifically the “fastest growing technology in human history.”

The Video Index, by the way, found that most viewing of long-form content was still done on the biggest screens available, televisions.

While that may be true now, how long before bigger mobile screens, like the new iPhone 6 Plus, start to erode that number as well?

Sooner, I think, than we’ll admit to, or even realize.

As C.S. Lewis wrote, “Isn’t it funny how, day-by-day, nothing changes… but, when you look back everything is different?”


Follow me on Twitter @JimONeillMedia


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