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Broadband + IPTV = media overload

MIPTV, CANNES: “Thank goodness we don’t have broadband.” If I was a media buyer, I would perhaps be making this statement. Broadband opens up the opportunity of Internet TV (IPTV) and, unfortunately for us, we cannot truly experience what IPTV is all about and how awesome it is.

Yes it’s TV on the Internet but besides offering a true TV-like experience on multiple devices, it allows for video on demand, two-way interactivity, e-commerce capabilities and many other features – it takes TV and adds the best of the web, a truly convergent experience.

Interactive experience

IPTV is also not sitting in front of your computer, by yourself, in an office chair. IPTV is viewed on your TV set in your lounge and can be a lean-forward, interactive experience.

When radio was invented many, many years ago, one of the comments made was: “Wouldn’t it be nice if the listener could talk back?” This has of course changed dramatically.

I’m in Cannes at the moment and while I’m writing these articles, I’m listening to 5FM on streaming audio. On Saturday, 14 April 2007, I emailed the DJ directly, viewed the studio cam, and browsed www.5FM.co.za – I could have entered a competition, bought a CD, joined the 5FM community and done many other things via the 5FM website.

Some of the IPTV examples I’ve seen at MIPTV offer over 100 channels, from mass appeal channels to very niche – an opportunity and challenge for media buyers.

New platforms for content

As a content production company, this is very exciting. It opens up new platforms for content – especially for longer form branded entertainment content. For brands and advertisers it’s also exciting. IPTV is like a magazine rack for a viewer. You can pick up a magazine that interest you and the content and most importantly, the adverting is relevant to the reader.

Every brand ultimately wants to target their potential client directly. Traditional TV is a mass media and simply cannot do this. So for brands, IPTV would be the ultimate platform to reach consumers. The problem with the Internet is, however, the culture that everything on the web is free – so would people pay for content the web? Would they pay a monthly subscription? I believe yes. I spend over R300 per month on various magazines – from technology to travel to cars.

Let’s take cars for example. If I was looking at buying the new Audi A4, a 30-second TV spot is irrelevant to me – I want more information to help me make my purchasing decision. I can get this off the Audi website, from the salesman, a review in a magazine or possible a TV show if it features the car while I’m in interesting in buying.

Happy bunny

If all the information was available via an Audi IPTV channel, I’d be a happy bunny. Not just before I buy the vehicle but after I’ve bought it – where I can view various video clips relating to my specific vehicle but also lots of other Audi-related content.

Audi have of course taken the lead by having The Audi Channel on Sky Digital in the UK, but, it’s only available if you’re a Sky Digital subscriber.

What IPTV also allows is for the content to be pushed to other devices, such as mobile. Once you’ve made the content, it can be utilised over multiple platforms so the notion of TV everywhere is a reality. When it comes to mobile TV, Sky is a leader in this area and some of the research has been interesting. Skeptics said that people won’t watch long form content on a small screen, they won’t watch it at home and advertisers won’t embrace it. The usage patterns have proven that mobile TV is a very viable platform.

Mobile is again a platform for brands and advertisers and for media buyers another opportunity. True mobile TV – digital video broadcasting to handsets (DVB-H) will soon be a reality in SA and a new style of content needs to be produced for this device. People won’t watch 30-second TV spots and would be irritated if these kept interrupting their viewing experience which will be shorter that a TV viewing experience.

Snack media

Mobile TV requires snack media and 3 – 5 minute clips would work best. Yes, if I could have watched the entire game last night on my mobile when South Africa beat England to get into the semis, I would have. It’s all about the relevance of the content at a particular time in my life, whether I’m buying a car or wanting to get my stress levels up by hoping SA’s batting won’t collapse again.

We all want broadband for different reasons – for us it’s the opportunity to make entertaining, relevant, informative and targeted long form content for brands, advertisers and of course for the people who really want it – the consumer - me.

About Stanley Edwards

Stanley Edwards is a partner at Platypus Productions and is reporting for Bizcommunity.com from MIPTV in Cannes, 16 - 20 April 2007. Half-day report back seminars will be held in Johannesburg on 8 May and in Cape Town on 10 May. Visit www.platypusblog.com for more information and daily updates. To register, send your details to events@platypus.co.za.

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