Television is becoming an experience rather than a living room asset

By Anindita Sarkar , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Media Publishing | March 25, 2011
Television will become a data that can move around with you.

The definition and understanding of television, which was once a living room asset, is undergoing a sea change. For consumers today, television means a mix of soaps, movies, video games and DVDs.

While addressing the audience on the second day of the FICCI Frames 2011 convention held at the Renaissance Powai in Mumbai, Brian David Johnson, futurist and director, future casting and experience research, Intel Corporation, said, "Television is becoming an experience that is beginning to tailor itself so as to move around with people's lives."

Johnson was speaking at the panel discussion titled 'TV Delivery Infrastructure For The Future: Are We Ready For It?' The other speakers in the panel were Noel Matthews, vice-president, Ericsson TV Solutions' European and APAC business development team, Walt Juchniewicz, chief executive officer, Juch-Tech, and Ashok Mansukhani, director, Indusind Media and Communications. The session was moderated by Paritosh Joshi, CEO, STAR CJ.

Johnson said that television today is becoming informative, ubiquitous, personal, as well as social. "And eventually, it will become a data that can be moved around with. Also, in time, not only will it behave as a social platform to connect with friends, but also with the government, education system, and culture."

Johnson informs that by 2015, 500 billion hours of video content will be available on the internet. Additionally, 12 billion devices will be offered that can be connected with the internet, or to one another.

But, will this phenomenon replace television completely?

"Not really," said Matthews. "While there will be many devices coming in, no one device will dominate the future." Instead, each will be used as a complimentary tool to suit the other, he opined.

"The future will be that of multi-consumption, wherein information will be absorbed across multiple platforms - and television will be a part of that overall consumption," he said.

But, is India a part of that future, too?

According to Juchniewicz, while India is trying its best to take advantage of the technological opportunities lying ahead, "what could kill this energy are the litigation issues."

The panel noted that the Indian ecosystem, too, will become a part of that future, provided the nation's shift from analog to digital happens at a quick pace.

"The cable industry is cognizant of this change and we are ready to invest in the digital system in a year from today, but we need clarity from the government on the overall requirements and a revenue sharing policy with the broadcasters," said Mansukhani.

Joshi noted that in a country like India, where there are more than 750 million mobile subscribers, mobile television could eventually become the primary delivery system.

"There are 250 million homes in this country and approximately 130 million television households. Television in this country runs only on electricity, while mobiles can be charged and can move around with the consumers," Joshi said.

Elaborating further, he said, "Also, with India mostly having single television households where the remote is controlled primarily by one, people would want to watch content on mobile platforms."

However, the panel exhibited a counter view. It unanimously stated that short format content will find space across small screen media platforms such as mobile, while long format content will still be an integral part of television.

"While news and other live content will continue to be on television, everything in the future will become video-on-demand," it concluded.

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