TV On IP For 2008
2007 was the year of short-form content, seeing 50% growth in the UK. 2008 will be more about long-form content, of full-length programmes available over the internet to mass audiences.
Many trends are driving this.
- First, the rights clearance framework will enable full-length BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Five content to be made available free (with or without ads) over the web.
- Second, cheaper distribution costs, driven by falling prices for streaming from the content distribution networks, are making long-form streaming models viable.
- Third, content owners' long-term technology projects to make this vast amount of content available over IP are now coming on-stream.
- Fourth, audience-facing products are reaching maturity and the quality of the video they serve has improved enormously.
- Finally, improved technologies from Adobe (Air) and Microsoft (Silverlight) will help drive ease of use, adoption and consumption.
I hope that Internet Service Providers ensure their "unlimited broadband" promises mean what they say on the tin and that we see a faster rollout of higher-speed services - hats off to Virgin's 50Mbps broadband service. The only thing missing is the final ten yards of railroad/ getting IP video to the large screen in the living room. 2008 will be the year when a decent range of devices - TV, Xbox Live Marketplace, BT Vision, Tiscali TV or just a simple VGA cable from laptop to TV - finally hit the mainstream.
N.B. A version of this post originally appeared in New Media Age [subscription may be required to access link]
Ashley Highfield is Director, BBC Future Media and Technology.