With 2012 (and CES) on the horizon, it is time to throw down a few predictions on video:
Beam Me Up Scotty It’s no secret that the imaginative world of science fiction has provided the inspiration for technological innovation in our world. Think video phone from “2001: A Space Odyssey”. Think Captain Kirk on the deck of The Enterprise saying “Computer, calculate that to the last digit of PI.” (OK, that one made the computer have a nervous breakdown and billow smoke.) But video-phones, Kinect games, and tablets have all moved from science-fiction to reality. Next up: voice activation. The people at Apple have already brought us Siri, so I predict that soon all of us will be talking to our smartphones, and even our TVs. Voice activation is coming of age and could soon be applied to accessing entertainment data and video navigation. Imagine standing on the deck of your own entertainment arena saying “Computer, show me who played Khan in ‘Star Trek: Wrath of Khan” and what else they’ve been in. (Hmm, that might make a computer have a nervous breakdown too!) Thanks Gene Roddenberry wherever you are.
If Content is King, Discovery is Queen: We’ve been told for quite a while that ‘content is king’. But it’s clear that with so much content, consumers can be overwhelmed. Meta-data, recommendations, relational data, social, personalization, images, video are all playing a role in the increasingly important discovery process . So I predict that discovery will become as important as the content itself. Doubt the importance of discovery? Think of all the flak Netflix got from its users with the new UI it introduced on the Xbox. The content was the same but when the UI changed on the Xbox, users went ballistic. Everyone is searching for the holy grail of discovery that users will demand to find the video content they want to watch. The perfect combination has yet to emerge but this area is getting increasingly sophisticated. Content discovery is becoming its own form of entertainment: queen to the content king.
I’ll Be Late for That Appointment: Linear TV is becoming more disrupted. First was Tivo, now VOD. We are becoming an on-demand society: we want to watch what we want when we want. This puts a strain on content distributors and content creators too who are challenged to keep up with growing demand. Events like sports games or some season finales still have a place but how many people race home to be in front of their TV to watch a weekly show anymore? So I predict that as more consumers assume a show is going to be available on VOD, they will be less committed to appointment TV. If audiences keep shrinking carriage fees and ad revenue will shrink as well. But VOD sales will have to make up for this loss. So VOD licensing will begin to feel more like programming and might even become VOD channels that appeal to particular demographics. (I am waiting for some original UltraMan shows so I can show my son what daddy watched when I was a kid…)
So there you have it. 2011 has been an incredible year in our industry and IVA continues to be at the forefront where I can cobble together a few predictions from the trenches. See you at CES in 2012.
Rhodes Mason, VP of Business Development
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