The Great Connected Television Debate: Saul Berman (IBM) on The End Of Television As We Know It

Saul Berman, Partner & Vice President at IBM Global Business Service

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. Berman’s perspective during ‘The Great Connected Television Debate: Will The Internet Be The End Of Television As We Know It’ during IBC 2012.

Saul Berman from IBM on The End of Television at IBC 2012

The first speaker was Saul Berman, 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).

Did Television ‘as we know it’ ever exist?

He argues that TV already changed so much from 50 years ago we can’t even argue whether TV ‘as we know it’ ever existed. TV has shifted from central programming to self-programming, being able to watch whenever and wherever you want. And by making it digital it’s freed from TV sets and future generation won’t even know the TV-set as we know it. Content does not come from controlled sources anymore, but can come from the individual contributor.

The new normal will be digital viewing

Mr. Berman compares the developments within the TV industry with the shift that happened to the music industry a couple of years ago. In 2006 only 6% of music revenue came from digital distribution. The new normal will be digital viewing on demand and by being connected constantly it will become more social with friends. And by uploading your own content to social networks the TV looses its central role as content platform. It’s becoming more mainstream, and with the over 45 years old age group jumping in, it’s no longer just the kids or new generation.

Connected consumer

Pay-tv operators are threatened by cord shaving and cord cutting but won’t acknowledge it and blame it on the economic situation. Specific house hold formations don’t need a cable subscription anymore and rely on on-demand and OTT sources for their TV consumption. The new generation has a new way of consuming content. The challenge lies in the ability of the industry to monetize it. It’s not free as Anderson proposes but there is real value.  People are listening more music and is worth more than ever but music companies are earning 50% less. The revenue is no longer to the traditional controllers of the value chain but is more scattered among innovating companies that are able to connect to the ‘connected consumer’.

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

Jon Honecutt, Discovery

Jon Honeycutt is 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.

Read more about Mr. Honeycutt’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.

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