Trends To Impact The Broadcast Industry
So far it’s been bit of a rollercoaster of a year for the broadcast industry. With the likes of Brexit showering uncertainty over the industry as well as several big acquisitions underway, there are bound to be some changes on the horizon…
The OTT Battleground
With the new Disney OTT service set for launch at the end of the year and with a colossal back catalogue of Marvel, Pixar, Lucasfilm, Disney and eventually 21st Century Fox, there is a battle on the horizon which is likely to send shockwaves through Amazon and Netflix. These are two of the most prominent streaming services losing a significant selection of films to Disney, we’re almost certain that every comic book geek and parent is inevitably going to decide to cancel their current subscriptions and make that move over to Disney.
Further pressure will also come from Time Warner as they too are planning to launch their service late this year as well. It will be a bumper time for consumers although fragmentation is not likely to be good for content owners in the longer term as subscribers are likely not to continue with all services as the cost and complexity will just be a little too high for most.
UK broadcasters are likely to join forces together and set to pile even more pressure on the streaming giants Amazon and Netflix. With the CEO of Ofcom calling for the UK’s major broadcasters to unite and create a fully integrated platform, this can only add further stressed on Netflix and Amazon here in the UK. Ofcom has promised support for this notion but all we can do for now is just watch this space for more the latest information being released.
The multi-billion dollar question… who could acquire Netflix? The rumours currently are surrounding Apple or Microsoft but would either of them actually benefit from spending so much money? As things stand, the markets and shareholders are prepared to give Netflix a little more time to get out of the red, but if those subscriber growth numbers start to tail off, they may start to feel that added pressure.
It probably won’t come as a shock that the likes of Brexit is going to have a pretty huge impact on UK broadcasters.
It’s going to be a dominant theme for a while still and UK based broadcasters will have to apply for broadcast licenses elsewhere in Europe. But, in the short term, it’s unlikely to be a mass exodus. In the long term however, there will be probably remain a mutual recognition between the UK and EU of broadcast licenses in some form, providing the industry can up its lobbying ability. As things stand at the moment, however, the industry is steeped in uncertainty.
Glacial Growth For Both AR and VR
Augmented and Virtual reality has been gaining momentum for a long time now. These sort of technologies have not yet burnt out as 3D TVs did, but it’s not something we can see making mainstream for quite a while yet. The nature of AR and VR means we can expect these technologies to be led by the gaming industry as users prefer to be immersed in their favourite video games.
5G and 4K
We can start to see more 5G rollouts in London later this year. Limited trials, expensive rollouts and limited handsets for the foreseeable future, which means that this is another technical innovation that is looking for a critical problem to solve. Although, we are a little way off from becoming a significant platform that replaces 4G, we can start to expect to see it driving 4K tablets. However, at the moment, 4K is more of a marketing gimmick than a real viewing use, particularly if content isn’t being filmed in 4K.
Folding Screen Smartphones
2018 was the year of edge to edge screens, but foldable screens are starting to creep in. Samsung and Huawei were the first to bring out their first foldable phones, but just like tablets, these types of phones will take their time in order to work out their purpose within the technology ecosystem but companies need to present them as more than media consumption devices in order to justify their rather hefty price tags.
AI In The Content Chain
Amazon has already started to develop an AI tool in the form of Amazon recognition, which helps identify people, places and objects to enrich metadata. Algorithms that provide better, more targeted recommendations will become more refined and therefore offer a much better user experience. BBC Four took on an experiment which saw them attempt to create a programme using augmented intelligence. It wasn’t a huge success in terms of providing a watchable TV show but it does highlight how AI can start to develop in broadcast beyond recommendation features. Machine learning now forms the backbone of many semi-automated subtitling systems and as these algorithms get better as time goes on they will also get faster, allowing for near real-time subtitling with even less human intervention.