Friday, December 28, 2012

2012 Review

Every year, this publication makes predictions for the year ahead, and every year end, we review out predictions. Here is an analysis of the outcomes we predicted for 2012:

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.

3/10 - Europe has significantly higher spending on media than the US, and nothing has really changed. Indeed, the recession has been a golden era for TV as more people stay in with the box (or tablet). A big rasberry for us on this one.....

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.

9/10 - yes, 2012 was the year YouTube became a broadcaster and started to commission original content at volume. The product has been re-orientated as a content, not user generated content, play.

YouView - will finally arrive to underwhelming response.

9/10 - yawns in living rooms across Britain, a product for those who can't afford Virgin or Sky, or who take a pragmatic view of the cost of entertainment.

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.

5/10 - unproven, but we think this is still a strong bet in the short and medium term.

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.

2/10 - a disasterous year for the ubiquitous service as it fails to find any foothold and sees its IPO tank big time. Facebook is important for video, but has pretty much given up the ghost in the face of YouTube's ubiquity.

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.

6/10 - ruomours of the death of the browser were premature, but the whole industry is a mess and apps provide far better user experience, and, arguably, easier development environments. The trouble is, anyone wanting to publish video now has to deal with hundreds of permutations on formats, browsers, apps, devices and platforms.

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

1/10 - wrong, wrong, wrong; but wait...!

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.

6/10 - perhaps we're being generous to ourselves, but this wave has seriously started if our experience here at TVE is representative.

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.

0/10 - eehaahh, nope, nothing to date from Cupertino...

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.

10/10 - yes, video is once again a nightmare with https, rtmp, HLS, HDS, etc. etc...

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.

4/10 - another year and more migration to the bottomless pit that YouTube represents; the only bright spots on the horizon were the awarding of the first few local broadcast licences in the UK and the rise of the micro studio in the US.

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!

7/10 - so when did you last check the weather or play Millionaire on your TV? It's rumoured that over 90% of connected TVs aren't connected to the web at all. This remains a pipe dream for TV manufacturers.

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....

10/10 - at least the public has noticed all of this, but the monopolies and tax avoidance remains.

A poorish year for our predictions, but I suspect you will see some of these reappearing as we publish our 2013 Almanac.