March 17, 2010 Jill

Over at in shot, there’s a post on why TV must change its revenue model — and fast.

Broadcast television is about to be turned on its head. While many media proprietors (including free-to-air, pay-tv, cable and satellite operators) are still breathing a sigh of relief from the costs to switch to digital, the real battle for supremacy has only just begun.

At stake, is control of the entire television advertising business model, worth globally in hundreds of billions of dollars. With it, is control of the global television syndication and distribution business as we know it.

The problem lies in the ad spot.

The problem with television is that it has not changed its engine in more than fifty years. What started out as shows brought to you by, resulted in the highly successful, albeit conventional 30-second spot commercial.

The spot is stale and completely out of date in an on-demand world. If television continues with it, it risks alienating audiences even further, who have all but grown accustom to personalising their viewing habits and time shifting their favourite television programs, all thanks to a device called TiVo. Moreover, if television fails to ignore the fundamental audience shift away from advertising interruption to one of invitation, then it will surely risk the very livelihood of its own industry at its own peril.

Brand integration is no solution. Consider if you will, the typical hour of tv. How many ads are there? At least 10. Do you want to write 10 products into your episode? What kind of a nightmare would that be?

So what are the solutions? The in shot piece, suggests a few that can overlay onto the story-viewing experience without interrupting it. Widgets and technology will allow viewers to click on parts of the screen and “pull” in information about products and services. This is the “click on the character’s dress and a new browser tab opens with the shopping information” idea.

Also coming is more Social TV; television events that we can share. Socializing TV isn’t new. It’s throwing an Oscar party or joining live tweeting the Olympics. Advertisers and marketers will be looking for ways to share their messages with the communities that form around social tv events.

While these are solutions that will help to monetize television content, they can be done without the networks. Nor do internet ready TVs which can get content direct from the web without any network involvement at all. Some of the TV makers seem to be moving into the content creation business.

In fact, Ridley Scott Associates’ new series Parallel Lines is produced by Philip’s Cinema TV. Neat premise: five directors make films in five different genres using the same dialogue. Here’s a trailer:

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