Global broadcasters share vision of future

The SMPTE Forum on Emerging Media Technologies took a look at the future of the broadcast and content creation and delivery industries today, as more than 130 leaders from across the globe gathered in Geneva, Switzerland for the two-day event.

“In five years the TV set is going to get bigger and bigger in the living room as we move to Super HD as a way to increase the quality of the experience,” says Ingrid Deltenre, EBU director general. “The better the quality the longer people will watch and feel like they are part of the story.”

Gilles Marchand, general director of Radio Television Suisse (RTS), adds that the second screen experience is also something that will improve and that, within five years, easy-to-use VOD access and an all-screens-are-connected environment will dominate homes around the world.

“There will also be a highly personal experience where viewers are more part of the program and can customize things,” he says.

And steps are already being taken towards the latter personalised experience. Brigitta Nickelsen, head of the multimedia reporting and online department at Radio Bremen in Germany, says that a Bavarian broadcaster will begin a new interactive late-night news programme in the next few weeks that will allow viewers to choose what topics are covered and even change the flow of the conversation while the show is occurring.

“They can give the topic a thumbs up or down through their Facebook page and change the content or discussion,” she explains.

The challenge for all broadcasters is sorting through the wealth of distribution models currently available but also to maintain a focus on the traditional broadcast networks. Fernando Bittencourt, general director of engineering for TV Globo Network, says that news and sport will always be available on a linear channel but that VOD services have to be managed in such a way that they magnify the linear channel.

“We have a lot of discussions about losing the linear audience to VOD and one step we are taking is delaying novellas by a day so it doesn’t have an immediate impact on linear TV viewership,” he says.

Providing a US perspective was Dr. Sheau Ng, NBC Universal, vice president and head of research and development, who says that the network has embraced distribution mediums like streaming, downloads on services like Amazon and iTunes, and others as it looks to stay ahead of the change.

“Disruption is what someone else does to you,” he says. “When you do it yourself it is called ‘change management.’”

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