What is the future of TV? Broadcasters, media companies and analysts give their take

To explore what the future holds for television for our Future of TV issue, we checked in with broadcasters, media companies, market researchers and analysts to get their take.

Xiaofeng Wang, senior analyst, Forrester

TV as content will never go away, but its format and device are constantly changing. As TV becomes more digitalized and smart, the line between TV and over-the-top (OTT) is blurring. For advertisers and agencies, TV and online video planning and measurement will continue to merge. Data will play a bigger role in the future of TV. Data — access to it and the collection and use of it — will offer some marketers, adtech vendors, agencies, and media companies a competitive advantage, while others will scramble to survive. Industry leaders like Netflix have brought in data analytics for better content creation and acquisition, personalized recommendations and marketing. With an abundance of options, consumers will vote with their wallets and select OTT winners and losers based on quality of content and price.

Aaron Perlstein, broadcast director, Noble People

The appetite for investing in content is, and will remain, strong because we all want to be entertained. The groundwork is being laid around two major battle lines, ad supported vs non-ad supported and how it is consumers actually receive their content. Netflix has shown how the relationship between content providers, consumers, and advertisers has changed. Consumers now have more say in how many ads they see, if any at all. In these instances, advertisers will have to continue to evolve how and when they talk to consumers.

How people actually receive that content is becoming just as important. IP delivered entertainment opens new doors in how advertisers can target consumers. However, it’s possible that not all consumers will be included in this new age. Advertisers will continue to face a patchwork, fragmented system that blends new and old for the foreseeable future.

David Bouchier, chief digital entertainment officer, Virgin TV

We now watch TV wherever we want, on a convenient screen, be it around the home, or out and about on a mobile or tablet. Streaming apps which need the best connectivity are already core to the viewing experience.

At Virgin TV, we’re ready for the future. Our network offers the best on-demand viewing experience, and our TV service provides the UK’s best choice of video apps, giving customers a seamless viewing experience wherever they are and on whatever screen they want. We are working hard to ensure every screen delivers an ever more personalized experience.

Although the viewing experience is more personal and personalized, key genres such as sport, entertainment and kids remain important. Sport is still essential watch-together viewing for families and friends, and movies and event TV will continue to bring households together. At the same time, original programming – available exclusively to customers on-demand to view as a box set – is now commanding the best talent, huge production budgets, and is right up there with movies for big-ticket entertainment.

As a Pay TV platform, it means we’re well positioned to create strong partnerships with the studios, OTT players and production studios. This together with our next-generation set-top box, the Virgin TV V6, powered by ultrafast broadband, means we’re offering customers the best way to watch the best TV.

Nick Theakstone, global chief investment officer, Group M

Television is a really important part of the media and marketing mix. It’s about how you use television. The launch of Finecast, which is going to hook into the addressable side of television and it’s going to hook into the addressable side of television and is about us looking ahead to what television is going to look like and how we can really enhance all aspects, whether it’s the basic linear product, the addressable product or the digital aspect. Joining those three together and delivering a strong product is going to be the key. I can’t see any reason why television can’t go from strength to strength.

Judith Warn-Ford, head of UK media, Ebiquity

In the short-term, TV will continue to be the best medium for generating advertising payback. Content remains crucial and, despite the increasing popularity of box set binging and streamed viewing, live television still delivers the biggest audiences when the content is engaging. Just look at Strictly Come Dancing, The Great British Bake Off or Love Island.

However, advertisers also have to be aware of the fact that viewing is becoming increasingly fragmented and selective, with younger audiences starting to desert the ‘linear’ side of the medium. As the next generation of viewer develops, high quality content that continues to draw in audiences on a mass scale will be essential to success.

Manish Maheshwari, chief executive officer, Network 18

Almost all content, and eventually marketing, will move towards a multi-touchpoint ecosystem, with a highly personalized view based on screen, time and location of consumption. In the era of personalization and multi-touch point ecosystem, TV will be just one of the many screens available to the audience. The audience will consume content across multiple touch point-system as TVs, watches, and even cars are becoming ‘smarter.’ Just to give an example, Moneycontrol has now launched its app on both the Apple Smartwatch, as well as integrated into the Jaguar car systems. Users are already consuming data like stock prices on their phones (Moneycontrol app available in the Apple Watch), and store interesting news for later consumption through their desktop, mobile. This gives the unique opportunity of capturing data about the users consumption patterns, across devices, location, time of the day, and both physical (in-store consumption), and digital consumption.

James Currell, resident, VIMN UK, Northern and Eastern Europe

“Don’t believe everything the digital doomsayers and e-evangelists tell you… TV as we know it has a healthy future; the vast majority of viewing is still live and linear and ‘schedules’ and ‘channels’ and all the associated sitcoms, celebrity travelogues and shiny floor talent shows will be with us for years to come. But TV as we know it is also changing, becoming more on-demand and on-the-go as over-the-top streaming of video content continues to grow in popularity on big screens and small. This accelerating change in consumption patterns is a challenge to broadcast business models but also a tremendous growth opportunity. The winners in this new TV ecology will be those who invest most effectively to secure the best content and build the best brands, with increasing value given to live event TV, as well as genres that work well on streaming and social platforms such as scripted and short-form. Successful innovation of distribution and commercial partnerships will play a key part alongside this content evolution.”

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