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National boundaries broken down

14 September 2013
National boundaries broken down

Some six billion YouTube videos are watched every day around the world and, according to the European MD of YouTube Matt Glotzbach, “national boundaries have fundamentally been broken down” and “traditional gatekeepers have been removed”.

But according to the TV broadcasters and producers at The Next Big Battle: National Broadcasters vs. Global Platforms session in the Forum there is still a whole lotta life left in live and linear television.

Indeed, Discovery’s COO John Honeycutt (pictured) believes that the skills that broadcasters and channel operators have in aggregating and presenting content in an easy to use way is what viewers will continue to look for even as they may also watch YouTube and other online services. “Infinite choice is a beautiful thing but if I have to take 20 minutes navigating to get there that is not a good consumer experience,” said Honeycutt.

“The fracturing of choice and the simple decision making process about what app to use and what device to use is not simple,” said Honeycutt. “Many of us are technically savvy but that is a large swatch of people who simply want to be entertained and giving that to them in a package that is logical and navigable and understandable and has relevance to their desires is something that can’t be forgotten.” He reminded the audience that Discovery Channel alone counts 333 million subscribers globally vs. 36 million for Netflix.

Not only that but there are still big pitfalls in securing global rights for many programmes, most obviously sports and films, but also for standard television, added Gary Woolf, senior vice president digital at All3Media, which created the just launched new-style game show called Million Second Quiz on NBC in the US. “You think about the trouble we have with delivering on-demand content across different territories with meta data and translation and other issues and I think it is more complicated in terms of technology and preparing your content than people give it credit.”

YouTube’s Glotzbach says that we are at a “golden age” of connected devices at the moment and once that “landscape” of many devices doing many different things settles down this will be a game changer for video consumption in terms of ease of use. BSkyB’s Commercial Director Rob Webster said that he sees all these trends as opportunities which is why Sky “continually adapts its business models”, for instance it has launched its own entry-level priced OTT service Now TV. At the same time Sky recently launched Sky Movies Disney, the first time that Disney has licensed its brand to a broadcaster for use in on-demand as well as HD and 3D versions. “Consumers trust us to add value and offer sensible curation of content,” said Webster.

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