The media industry has their say on the future of TV

With more people deciding to watch TV across different devices at any given time, it is clear to say that the traditional linear structure we have all become accustomed to is changing.

At the Edinburgh International TV Festival, the question that seemed to crop up throughout almost every session and panel was, what is the future of TV?

During the leaders debate panel, BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5 and Sky were presented with a graph to show the dips each channel had experienced over the last year.

Ralph Lee, deputy chief creative officer at Channel 4, who was standing in for Jay Hunt while she prepares to leave the channel, said: “The strength of digital and millennial viewers show that TV is evolving. You can’t just capture a whole channel in a double figure.”

Meanwhile, Kevin Lygo, chief creative officer at ITV echoed Lee’s thoughts however added his joy at the success of Love Island which did well both digitally and through the conventional watching habits. He said: “Thank God for Love Island. It has shown that young people will still come in their groves.

While the show helped boost ITV2 viewing among 16 to 34 year-olds up by 50% so far this year, it also helped bump online viewing to the ITV Hub by 34% in the first half of the year. ITV Hub now has 20 million registered viewers including more than 75% of the UK’s 16-24 year olds.

"The ITV hub has increased because that is where young people go," Lygo said.

In a panel with Sue Perkins, Youtubers Daniel Howell and Phil Lester discussed their infuriation with TV having spent the last ten years uploading videos to YouTube and building an audience across the world. Howell explained his personal experience after creating a documentary on eSports with BBC3, which couldn't be viewed outside the UK.

He said: "I was trying to get it ungeolocked because my audience is all around the world and they wanted to watch it. But that’s just not how it works. And I understand there are reasons for that. We have a lot of questions about it though and people just say how that this is how it is. But if we ask why and then we sometimes manage to deprogramme people to just try it and then they see what happens."

Lester added that he doesn't think this will be a problem for long, expecting it to change in the next five years.

The Drum spoke to delegates at the festival in Edinburgh last week to find out what they think the future of TV looks like and what we have to look forward to. You can see their responses above.

Ian Coyle, senior commissioning editor for comedy and entertainment at UKTV seemed optimistic about the future despite the changes. He said: “The convergence of online and TV will continue at a pace but I’m very positive about it because more platforms means you need more content.”

Zai Bennet, director of programmes at Sky UK, also seemed optimistic but somewhat unsure saying he didn’t think “anyone knows the future of TV” or how people will consume it as it continues to change.

Ying Lei, senior advisor at HunanTV, Deborah Williams, chief executive of Diversity Creativity Network, and Krishan Aurora, content consultant at SBS Australia also had their say.

Find out what delegates at the festival had to say about Jon Snow's plea for the media reconnect with 'left behind' public.

Jenny Cleeton

Jenny Cleeton is The Drum's video and social media content creator working across the The Drum's digital platforms based in London. She produces, films, presents and edits the title's social video output while also reporting on the creative marketing sector.

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