Wednesday, January 04, 2012

IPTV Times 2012 Almanac

Here we go again. Another year has passed in the online TV world.

So, what's in store for the year ahead ?

Recession - this seems to have been largely good for the TV industry to date, as people stay at home, but America has shown that real hardship results in declining revenues and we predict that this trend will start to impact in Europe.

YouTube steps up a gear - already YouTube has been making plays for the video management platform market whilst also trying to become a content owner. Google is determined to own video content distribution and will bring all of the force of its organisation to bear. Content owners will be stupid to play along. But they will.

YouView - will finally arrive to underwhelming response.

Forget Europe - the old world is a mess. The growth of television, and television like services, will be in countries like Brazil, India, China, Turkey and Indonesia.

Facebook as a platform - will become one of the most important video delivery channels, but will struggle as they seek to offer their own video solutions in competition with third parties.

The web is over - video now belongs on smart devices of all kinds, from mobiles to connected TVs. The web browser will become an increasing irrelevance.

Sports Stall - finally, the price paid for sports rights will begin to fall, even for premium events.

Brand TV - from sports clubs to bands, brands will begin to realise that they need to control their video output and that simply posting on YouTube does not amount to a video strategy.

Apple TV Screens - if all that I've been told is true, Steve Jobs' final legacy will be a new TV product based around the screen and a revamped iTunes.

Format wars - yes, it's rearing its ugly head again. As the vast majority of online video has gone H.264, so the advent of HTML5 brings huge issues as Flash decays as a platform for video delivery. But HTML5 has huge issues around security and non-standardisation and is supprted in a different way by pretty much every browser out there.

Micro-narrowcasters - forget music sites, or even generic sites, there is a huge gap in the market for music, sports and other 'micro-brands' to take control of their online presence and to stop subsidising the likes of YouTube, facebook and iTunes. McFly's Supercity has been a very successful example of this, attracting tens of thousands of paying subscribers. The model is a difficult one, but worth persevering with.

The death of the on-screen app - just as second screen applications like Clicker and Zeebox multiply, the idea of sticking apps on a TV screen will finally die away as manufacturers realise that video screens are best for, er..., watching video!

Failure of regulation - the monopolists will thrive, be given massive tax beaks and will relish the recession as a way of killing off what little competition here is. Our politicians will suck up to them, make noises about an 'entrepreneurial-led recover', set the dogs of the HMRC on small businesses, do nothing about effective monopolies, and then wonder why entrepreneurs like me are thinking that signing on (with that lovely RPI linked annual hike) is the best strategy for surviving the recession....

I expect 2012 to be the most challenging year of my (long) professional career, so I can only wish and hope that those of you out there manage to weather, and even set a fair course, in the storm ahead.

Best wishes from Peter, myself and everyone at TV Everywhere's companies for 2012!