Tomorrow’s World – Future Media

by Julian Westaby.

At our June Communications Breakfast we were delighted to hear from STV Director of Channels Bobby Hain.

We are in the midst of a media revolution – with new devices and services.  The smartphone in your pocket is already a gateway to a myriad of news, information and programming.

What’s coming down the track and what does that mean for media businesses, platforms and most of all, consumers?

Bobby began by asking the audience to take a normality check – “Who has a tablet?” “Who uses Twitter?”   The response in numbers was high – much higher than the National average, someone even had an Apple Watch, we are an audience in control of what we watch and how we watch it.  No longer do we need to rely on just the TV in the corner of the room to access media!

We heard how global media giants are being formed through consolidation and at the same time, individual participation through social media is increasing exponentially.  We the consumer, are now becoming the content creators.  We use our phones to create video and upload it instantaneously for all to see.

Bobby also spoke about the convenience of the iPlayer, Catch up TV, Netflix and how, with the sophistication of technology, the way we watch media is changing.  We skip through ads, pause live TV and stream video through our mobile devices.  Will this affect advertising revenue and in turn the commissioning of programmes? The Government is investigating funding and subscription models to address this and Bobby did not see the demise of advertising happening any time soon.

On-line platforms such as ‘Vessel, Periscope and YouTube – which broadcast short-form video (videos less than 20 minutes long) represents less than 3% of all media viewed.  Although we still watch the majority of media on our TV’s.

The Internet has grown phenomenally over the last decade, however bandwidth is still a restriction, whereas a TV aerial mast is not.  A TV show can have 20m viewers at the same time where an on-line video stream would probably struggle to cope with this volume.

The development of consumer content is growing which could explain the reason for the recent increase in ‘local’ content.  STV Glasgow celebrates its first birthday this month and with the recent launch of STV Edinburgh it is likely we will be seeing a lot more channels like this in the years to come.

Bobby, who has been in broadcasting for almost 35 years, has seen many changes in the way we communicate and share information.  The audience was grateful for his insight into what we can expect to watch and how, and in answer to the question“is there still a place for “the telly” and public service broadcasting” – the answer was definitely YES.  Bobby also talked us through what opportunities the new media landscape could offer business to grow and connect with consumers, often through the many on-line video tools such as Vessel, Periscope and YouTube.

The Q&A saw a flurry of questions around how media broadcasting is changing and Bobby with all his experience was well placed to put us in the ‘picture’ and what to look out for and expect in the years to come.