Thursday, November 17, 2005

Mobile TV the next frontier | The Australian

Despite Australian Soccer's night-of-nights (quick off-topic: I think we all realise that Kewell's "pass" to set up Bresciano for the only regulation goal of the match was just an almost-air swing. Another half inch to the left and we're thinking about four years time, trying to keep Guus from jumping on the first plane out of Sydney), last night the Australian representatives of free-to-air commercial TV, "Free TV Australia" managed to get the chief executives of the networks - Ten's Grant Blackley, Nine's Sam Chisholm and Seven's David Leckie, together to front advertisers and supporters to talk about the future of TV in this country.

Some interesting points brought up as to where these guys, the ones that have final say on this stufff, are willing to take Australian TV in the next five to ten years. The big mover? TV on your mobile phone;

"Mr Chisholm said Nine was involved in the trial of a new technology called DVB-H, which uses the digital TV spectrum to send normal TV channels to mobile devices. DVB-H, which is being tested in Sydney, is expected to provide a better mobile TV viewing experience than 3G mobile phones, which have limited storage capacity.

"The new battleground of this business will be mobility," Mr Chisholm said. "Radio taught us this three decades ago as they grew their business by mobility and the invention of the transistor radio." "

The problem is, these guys are still blinkered by the idea that TV is different to everything else, somehow superior, and that the only thing they need to do is repurpose existing content for the small screen using the existing broadcast schedule model. If you're going to take away some value (making the picture smaller) then you need to create some value to offset, like creating the option for video-on-demand. However in my opinion the big winner will be the one that looks beyond what they can produce as video and start making use of the technologies out there. By that I mean beyond just setting up websites as add-ons to TV programs. Of course, the question then is, if a TV company starts producing a website news service (online newspaper) or podcasting specially created programs (online radio) where do cross-media ownership laws come in? This may be one of those situations where the laws that once protected us may now, in a media world of almost unlimited reach, be holding us back.

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