The future of linear TV


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Issue 84 - December 2013

Thames Valley centre continued a successful run of events with a panel discussion on linear television. Joss Armitage, Bob Lamb of Pilat Media and MobiTV’s Paul Scanlan discussed what the future might hold for traditional methods of consuming content and how it may be influenced by the new generation of multi-screen, cross-platform, over-the-top and IP delivery technologies.
The panel defined linear television as “the schedule”, a channel created for the viewer by a professional, delivered to any number of devices, in a number of ways. Furthermore, the event – be it a live football match or Sunday evening costume drama – is delivered to the device or screen at a fixed time.
Challenges faced by content distributors were highlighted. Whether the consumer wants to or knows they can view TV content anywhere can be rendered irrelevant by the UK’s poor infrastructure, which can rarely deliver the bandwidth required for a satisfactory service. There is a resistance to the growing number of boxes in the living room, fragmentation of devices and ultimately problems with rights. Where, when, over which connection and on what device will you be allowed to view your content?
Agreeing that the linear model was not disappearing any time soon, the conversation turned to metrics. Numbers were compared for those consuming their content in the linear fashion, fed by the channels schedule, versus those watching scheduled programming but from a PVR at a different time of day, versus those that only watch video on demand. The impact on advertising could be dramatic, raising the question of whether the broadcaster should be nervous of IP-based advertising metrics. They are real and show exactly what is being watched, when and where.
After a good-natured discussion, involving much of the audience, most agreed that just as tape is still being used in the broadcast environment, and film will surely never die completely (will it?), linear TV will survive. Methods of delivering the same content to a large group of people will need a reliable and efficient network that delivers the same quality of experience for everyone. It may not be transmitted over DVB from masts on hills in the future, but delivery over IP could be the future of linear TV?
Scanlan heads MobiTV’s new London office, while Lamb is managing director of OTTilus, a Pilat Media company delivering a end-to-end over-the-top management platform for live, catch-up, and VOD content. Armitage has been involved in the media industry for approaching two decades, including editing Cable and Satellite Communications INTL.
The Thames Valley centre event, ‘The Future of Linear Television’, was held on 6 November in Reading.

Tags: iss084 | linear tv | matthew robbins | thames valley centre | events | pilat media | joss armitage | panel | discussion | KitPlus
Contributing Author KitPlus

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