Sometimes you have an epiphany.
Its not normally in the refuse room in your block of flats.
I stumbled in with my bags, and there before me is a huge empty box for an UltraHD 50in curved OLED screen. For a moment I’m quite taken back, not because its anything that unusual, but because it hits me for the first time that even though 4K isn’t coming soon for the terrestrial channels, it is already a reality for Netflix and Amazon and that’s quite a lot of us, right now, 24% of UK households have a Netflix account, and 13% have an Amazon Prime account.
That’s a huge number, and that has risen from 14% in a year, this points to an increase of just under 1% a month.
For those accessing these services via a television or looking to do that (arguably the best way to consume in terms of ‘experience’), there will be a desire to experience Netflix and the like in a faster and more enjoyable way, better quality images on bigger screens. This times perfectly with the announcement of faster broadband over the old copper lines with BT’s new GFast technology offering up to 500mbps (or more), smashing even fibre’s current speeds by 2017-18 to most homes in the UK.
For years we’ve smirked at television manufacturers, pushing higher resolutions and 3D, without any way of easily watching the content designed for it. DVD and Bluray is solid state, and technology like that is over – finito, the apps on your TV, tablet or phone as well as your browser on your laptop can be updated in the background, allowing higher resolutions and better quality images. With solid state, once set, you’re stuck with it for a decade, but not with software.
The new broadcasters will push sales of televisions, audiences will begin to default to VoD services rather than Live TV and the competition will be fierce – TV advertising and revenues for those in this sector will continue to drop as brands spread ever lowering budgets over internet based services, and advertising creative content decision-making often done by committee over email, will further kill the genre. Audiences here and abroad will no longer tolerate adverts in programmes and opt for ad-free low subscription broadcasters, switching to live TV for ‘event television’ (sports or extraordinary events or high-end drama), they won’t tolerate (and already don’t) 13 minutes of adverts in 1 hour of programming (49% of households own a TV recorder to skip adverts).
We are starting work on a 4k series for Netflix and another 4k series for Amazon at the same time! Here are competing broadcasters commissioning either new work, or series dropped by the terrestrials which the VoD broadcasters believe have potential. The traditional broadcasters are facing a crisis point, and will need to step up and look at a wider audience for their mainstream high budget broadcasting because female audiences over 50 are not the only demographic who watch TV, as the VoD broadcasters are demonstrating.