The Great Connected Television Debate: Jon Honeycutt (Discovery) on The End Of Television As We Know It

Jon Honeycutt, EVP & COO Discovery Networks International

During the IBC 2012 session ‘The Great Connected Television Debate: Will The Internet Be The End Of Television As We Know It? (IBC 2012)’ two teams were  speaking for and against this will debate whether the emergence of video devices and displays connected directly to data networks will make traditional television channels redundant and obsolete.

Below a summary of Mr. Honeycutt’s perspective during ‘The Great Connected Television Debate: Will The Internet Be The End Of Television As We Know It’ during IBC 2012.

Jon Honeycutt from Discovery on The End of Television at IBC 2012

The seconds speaker was Jon Honeycutt, EVP and COO for Discovery Networks International. He argues that people have always been talking about the death of TV industry or the death of linear channels. And although the industry has been through changes when free terrestrial was joined by paid cable and the analog signal became digital. DVR’s, which where considered to be the death of linear TV, found its place within the landscape and cohabitating very nicely in the living room. So change to television is nothing new. With the growth of digital connected devices traditional channels adapt and improve their offering and will be able to translate the disruption into opportunity.

Beyond the hype

Mr. Honeycutt want to go beyond the hype of the trends and numbers and tries to place the developments as being part of the ever-ongoing process of technological innovation. People are watching more linear TV than ever, average users from the UK and Italy watch 4 hours of linear TV per day and only 2 hours of TV on the Internet per month. In The Netherlands and Sweden catch-up TV counts for 85% of all on-demand viewing. And as long as the implementation of the technology that is capable of delivering a high quality of experience (QoE) for users is limited in some upcoming countries (he mentions India and Brazil) traditional linear TV channels remain relevant.

High quality and findable TV content

In the end viewers want high quality content that is easy findable and makes you want to talk about it. Discovery sees itself as a key player within the value chain by creating high quality content which is vital for the market and the TV ecosystem. And secondly, viewers have a need for curation and want quality content that is relevant and interesting. Social and intelligent recommendation applications and tools will play an important role but won’t take over the curated TV channel. As Mr. Bergman noted, it depends on demographics and tools are being used differently during our lifetime. Social TV will be driving linear viewing since it’s provided a common shared experience. ‘TV to talk about’ will thrive because of Social TV and social media.

Broadcaster need to adapt but there are industry fundamentals

As Mr. Honeycutt sums up: “broadcasters need to adapt and continue to be relevant, and those that can’t or won’t may indeed become irrelevant. (…) Successful broadcasters will need to invest in content, extend their reach and engage viewers across multiple platforms in challenging and exciting ways.”

Broadcasters need four features at their core:

  1. Create original, compelling and owned content.
  2. Total portability, making content available on the right screen.
  3. Accessibility and catch-up, make content available when you want it.
  4. Extended social experiences, second screens and after shows.

However, although Mr. Honeycutt acknowledges theses developments there are some key fundamentals of the TV industry that must hold true.

  1. Continued value exchange between the consumer, the platform, the content provider, and the content creator.
  2. Content must be brand associated since consumers trust and use these brands to navigate through content choices.
  3. It must be measurable. Without the ability to measure how many and who is watching a piece of content, the entire revenue model (both pay TV and the advertising model) will collapse.

Also read the perspectives of the other speakers during the great connected television debate at IBC 2012

Also read the perspectives of the other speakers during the great connected television debate at IBC 2012

Saul Berman, IBM

Saul Berman is Partner & Vice President, Global Strategy Consulting Leader & Innovation and Growth Services Leader at IBM Global Business Services. Mr. Berman wrote a paper in 2005 called ‘The End of Television as we know it’ (which served as the inspiration for this blog during my university courses in new media & television).

Read more about Mr. Berman’s perspective on The End of Television as we know it.

Nick Thexton, Cisco

Nick Thexton is CTO for the Service Provider Video Technology Group at Cisco in the UK. He most recently served as SVP and CTO at NDS before the acquisition of the company by Cisco this year. Het argues that it’s the channel that is changing and has to go through a transformative process, and that some of the channels will fail.

Read more about Mr. Thexton’s perspective on The End of Television as we know it.

David Brennan, Media Native

David Brennan was Research and Strategy Director at Thinkbox from its launch in 2006 until August 2011, when he set up his own media consultancy – Media Native – specialising in the role of TV in the communications mix in the 21st Century.

Read more about Mr. Brennan’s perspective on The End of Television as we know it.

Anthony Rose, Zeebox

Anthony Rose is Co-founder and CTO of Zeebox, a new platform that turns live TV into a two-way, social and interactive viewing experience on the seconds screen. Previously he headed up BBC iPlayer from 2007 to 2010, taking it from pre-launch to major success story.

Read more about Mr. Rose’s perspective on The End of Television as we know it.

Nigel Walley, Decipher

Nigel Walley is Managing Director of Decipher the media strategy consultancy, and Chairman of the Decipher Group of companies. Since founding Decipher in 1998, he has worked on interactive media and technology projects for a wide range of clients including NTL, Telewest, ITV, the BBC, Sky, UKTV, Channel 4, Sony, the UK Govt (DTI), and Viacom.

Read more about Mr. Walley’s perspective on The End of Television as we know it.

More in Broadcasting, Business Model, Connected TV, IBC2012, Post
Saul Berman from IBM on The End of Television at IBC 2012
The Great Connected Television Debate: Saul Berman (IBM) on The End Of Television As We Know It

A summary of Saul Berman's perspective during 'The Great Connected Television Debate: Will The Internet Be The End Of Television...

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