Television and Future Media converge
The worlds of television, technology and future media converged on Monday for a series of workshops and presentations aimed at encouraging collaboration between the different BBC divisions.
Joint hosts Ralph Rivera, director of future media, and director of television Danny Cohen opened the event - entitled The Future is Now - with a talk at New Broadcasting House's Radio Theatre.
Cohen said that he feels fortunate to be living at a time of such 'profound, speedy change'.
Threats to television in 2014
Nic Newman highlighted three major challenges to traditional tv:
1. Audience attention
- 49% use smartphones at the same time
- Younger people do not engage with peak time early evening news
2. Rise of over-the-top providers
- Netflix - and increasingly Amazon - investing in original programming
- Shift in audience preference towards 'block' viewing of multiple episodes
- Increase in using tv for internet viewing
3. Business models
- Facebook argues that its audience during peak evening times is bigger than tv
- Facebook and Twitter targeting tv as they try to monetise their reach
'We are, as we sit at the BBC, right at the spearhead of that change and we can actually dictate to a fantastic extent how British people and beyond enjoy that change - and that's why we wanted to bring people together, to set a new benchmark for doing that at the BBC.'
Cohen then introduced digital strategist (and former BBC man) Nic Newman, who kicked off a full day of workshops and talks taking place in various locations across the BBC, with most presentations also streamed live online.Selfies with the Pope
Newman assessed the lessons of 2013's technological trends - from people taking selfies with the Pope to the demise of Blackberry - and looked ahead to 2014 with a series of challenges and predictions.
The major trend Newman highlighted was the continuing transition from traditional media formats to smartphones and tablets, noting that 50% of households are expected to have tablets by the end of 2014.
With increasing numbers of 18-24-year-olds primarily accessing BBC content through social media, Newman told the audience that the future is digital and multiplatform. 'Social is the starting point for new content.'
To contend with the threats to traditional television audiences posed by companies like Facebook and Twitter, he continued, there ought to be a content-neutral approach, in which BBC output can be applicable to as many different formats as possible.The world in 2020
But 'success is about holding onto the original values,' he concluded.
Newman's 2014 predictions
- The first £50 tablet will be launched
- Augmented reality becomes normalised through launches of Google Glass and similar products
- Companies like Facebook and Twitter to consolidate audiences and increase focus on monetisation - but there will also be fragmentation of social media formats
Elsewhere, workshops were held in the NBH Learning Zone on topics such as A Storyteller's Guide to Digital Storytelling, The Cutting Edge of Innovation and The Changing World of YouTube.
Further talks featured a number of high-profile people within the BBC, from Radio 1's Greg James presenting a session on the importance of short-form video content, to multiple Bafta-winning filmmaker Adam Curtis looking ahead to The World in 2020.
More workshops were held in Bristol, Belfast and Cardiff, with sessions in Salford and Glasgow set for Tuesday.
There were also exhibitions of consumer and production technologies in the NBH Media Café and 5th floor collaboration zone.