The future of broadcasting
I recently was asked to give a talk to television and film students at Edinburgh Napier University by a man named Alistair Scott (how spooky), lecturer of Film & Television at Screen Academy Scotland.
He is a man with vast experience and knowledge, and it was really interesting seeing and hearing the scope of the course, and what these young people are learning. It was great too to meet many of the students and chat about how they see the future of our business.
We’ve also agreed a formal placement scheme with the University where we take week-long placements with a number of students throughout the year. We do our best to let them see how we work and how communications integrate when we’re dealing with multi channel projects. It’s been very successful so far and we’ve had some lovely feedback from many of our visitors.
My talk was based around the history of ‘broadcast’ and where things might go in the future. The reason I put broadcast in inverted commas is because it’s a word which has changed meaning over the years. When I was younger (pre web – yes I am that old), broadcast meant BBC1, BBC 2 and ITV, and that was it. Now my telly at home has more than 200 channels (mostly rubbish admittedly) and of course we have internet broadcasts – You Tube etc, on demand availability, and much of this mobile.
So broadcast delivery methods are completely different – and so are the techniques and skills that professionals use to create content. Some better – some not, in my opinion.
One of our FMCG clients has an internal server based broadcast network, delivering programming to thousands of colleagues in offices, manufacturing sites and desktops. The content ranges from current ad campaigns to news programmes, featuring interviews with senior management, features on charity work and much more. This is not new particularly, but it shows intent, and lots of other businesses are showing interest in this method.
So is this the future – small private networks for business – I think so but what about us as consumers, and the bigger picture? My son barely watches the TV now – most of his entertainment is either globally networking through gaming, or mobile ‘broadcast’ through YouTube. If you consider the content creation for both these avenues you really see two ends of the spectrum. Gaming creators are high end, high tec, high production value, where YouTube ranges from phone filmed cats, to uploads of blockbuster movies and lot in-between.
My original talk looked historically back to 1982 – the launch year of Channel 4 – and what a year that was! But that’s only 33 years ago.
So transport yourself another 33 years from now.
Where will the living room TV go? And what sort of visual entertainment delivery might we be using?
Things that exist as experimental now will potentially become everyday items - screens that roll up like paper displaying 4k, 8k and higher resolution; mobile communication that pushes capture and delivery to new levels; projector technology that will deliver phones with inbuilt projectors producing high brightness large-scale imagery; sheets of clear glass with embedded video display options that can come alive with moving image at the touch of a button.
These things exist now, and I suspect will be part of out lives in the future.
But the fact remains – someone is going to have to make content for all of this. It’s an interesting thought… isn’t it?