Friday, April 06, 2007

TV on IP Audit

With a few days off over Easter, this may be a good time to reflect on the runaway train that is the TV over IP sector (and whilst on this point, can you please contribute to the debate about the terminology in this industry if you feel so moved).

Let's look at the facts (and you'll find the references to all these figures in recent posts):

IPTV is small medium, with a mere 5m global users, perhaps doubling over the next two years at best.

TV over IP (or internet TV) consists of around 25% of US internet users (around 40m), and by some vague extrapolation, some 140m people worldwide, I'd guess, rising to 250m within the next two years (viewers who watch for an hour or more a week). (Incidentally, the 140m current viewers are the wealthiest and best educated people in a world where 75% of people just don't matter because they don't earn enough to buy a plug, let alone a computer.) But, TV still covers two thirds of the world's population.

Online advertising contributes around 5 - 10% of global ad spend when internet browsing consists of 27% of media time - and rising.

People pay more attention to videos than banners on the internet; most people still want to watch the TV in their living room (apart from the fact that it's now a plasma screen with web browsing and IPTV capability), but wealthy AB males watch in their 'dens' (ie home office) and teenagers don't give a damn what they watch and where.

Everyone has thirty seconds of fame in this wonderful new world of user generated content, especially if they're banal , dangerous, stupid and confound traditional TV commissioning editors.

Oh, and everyone's trying to get in on the game, apart from the fact that all the listed companies in the sector (with the exception of the dodgy Jump TV) are worth jack sh**t (so much for Web 2.0 valuations..).

Ad agencies are seriously waking up, but they're looking at the long tail and going 'do I want to risk my client out there ?'.

And the major media companies are launching their own initiatives. Finally.

If Microsoft win Doubleclick they'll keep their heads above water, if they don't and it goes to Google, then you're looking at a utility company.

Google may get rumbled by the ad agencies, but only once it's far too late, since Google is too far from their business model for them to notice that someone was eating their (rather hearty) lunch.

The media buying agencies should have a realised a long time ago that they're in the tech industry, and more pertinent still, they're in a real time marketplace. Instead, they have badlyh paid twenty two year olds spending tens of millions for non-the-wiser clients on TV. A medium where, quite frankly, you can't measure anything any more (do the math on this - sixty million population, a ten thousand measurement sample, watching 400 channels over several different media).

Internet TV offers real time measurement, but the disappointment in real figures makes everyone shy away, and publish web figures instead (which, believe me, are hugely inflated).

Technology is bringing reality into markets that have happily obfuscated for so long.

So. what does it amount to ?

In two words, threats and opportunities. And these are worth billions.

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