Friday, May 25, 2012

A Friday Segue

On a balmy afternoon in a Hampstead pub, I had a  fascinating chat with a TV technology insider this afternoon: I shall try and keep him as anonymous as possible, but he's hugely well placed to comment on developments in the industry since he has worked with some of the world's largest broadcasters over a 25 year period.

First of all, he conceded that 3D is over.  It simply hasn't worked: it's expensive, makes people ill and brings little discernible benefit for mainstream content like sports. Fewer and fewer broadcasters are demanding it, apparently. The whole fad was based on wishful thinking by the movie industry, who realised that 3D was difficult to pirate.

Secondly, we compared notes and agreed that things have fundamentally changed in TV land. A decade later than I thought it would happen, digital and IP is now mainstream, and most players in the TV market have no idea how to cope with this (his words, not mine).

Our discussion on the costs of transmission were salutary: the costs of traditional broadcast are ridiculous compared to distribution over the internet. It's also clear that IP is taking massive market share from satellites in terms of distribution technologies.

Perhaps most interesting of all was our speculation on what will happen to the UK's Premier League rights, which are up for bidding in the next couple of weeks. Will the FA risk a new player like Al Jazeera or ESPN over the known quantity that is Sky, whatever their bid ?