Winner takes all?

Winner takes all?

Earlier this week, in an article in The Guardian, and during a BBC radio piece, Richard Sambrook, former head of BBC News and director of the Centre for Journalism at Cardiff University, warned that TV news audiences could fall by a third within a decade. 

Younger viewers are tuning in for just 25 hours a year. And, wait for it, older people, are increasingly adopting the digital habits of younger viewers and watching less TV news. This structural shift is not part of some dystopian future.

It’s part of a wave of change sweeping over the media industry.

The switch to mobile devices challenges existing media models in such a way that the upheaval of the transition from analogue to digital broadcasting pales by comparison.

Tony Emerson, Microsoft, made this same point earlier this week as he held his iPhone aloft and warned that ‘millennials have a different view of quality’.

As broadcasters wrestle with which new format to adopt to blast out to bigger and better screens (4K, 8K, HDR, UHD, VR and more acronyms than you can shake a stick at) the audience is, none too quietly, switching to their mobiles, eschewing the big screen.

And yet, Ang Lee showed his audience, at the NAB Show, in Las Vegas how, in a darkened movie theatre, new technology, in the right hands can deliver a visceral (and communal) punch that no mobile device could ever match.

On the floor of the NAB Show, in the coffee bars and fast food joints, there was talk of budget decisions being taken away from the technologists, of uncertainty over the direction to take. 

Choices and dilemmas.

The winners will be those who face (and address) the challenging questions, those perhaps prepared to do the unthinkable. Those who understand their audiences, those who gather and collect data to facilitate the delivery of rich, personalised, immersive and engaging content. 

Are you ready to play the game, to roll the dice?

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Last modified on 22 April 2016
Andy Townend

Proven track record in shaping and delivering complex national transformation programs.