This article was originally published on TVBEurope.
From the World Cup to the Queen’s funeral, TV can still catch the attention of the masses. TVBEurope hears from a number of key industry executives as they analyse the trends that are reshaping how we produce, distribute and watch TV.
Since 1996, when the UN General Assembly declared November 21st as World Television Day to mark the impact the TV had in our decision-making, the concept of television has changed drastically.
Today, although it still plays an important role in our lives, the television is no longer synonymous with a box with a screen for families to gather around. From OTT platforms to linear FAST channels, mobile devices to traditional TV sets, online to 5G to AI, when we say we’re watching TV it can mean many different things. Industry executives review the events of the past year which proved that the TV can still catch the attention of masses – from the Queen’s funeral to the war in Ukraine – while analysing the trends that are reshaping how we produce, distribute and watch these events.
FAST is one future of TV
The recent rise in popularity of free ad-supported TV (FAST) could see 2023 labelled the ‘Year of the FAST Channel’ reckons Vince Matherne, EVP global sales, Visual Data.
FAST channels present media companies with the opportunity to monetise older content into new revenue streams and reach larger, younger audiences and cord-cutters of all ages and demographics. FAST also offer an avenue to monetise niche content where a traditional linear channel would not be cost-viable.
“The success of the FAST format in the US is now making its way into Europe thanks to increasing adoption of smart TVs and OTT devices,” Matherne says. “To be able to make the most of the trend in a cost-effective manner, it’s imperative that content owners can easily manage the output of their libraries to a single fulfilment point.” He adds that this should offer localisation, deliveries to multiple non-linear platforms, and simultaneously feeds FAST channels.
“Smart and fast, and doing more with less will continue to be the future of TV.”
“The success of the FAST format in the US is now making its way into Europe thanks to increasing adoption of smart TVs and OTT devices. To be able to make the most of the trend in a cost-effective manner, it’s imperative that content owners can easily manage the output of their libraries to a single fulfilment point. Smart and fast, and doing more with less will continue to be the future of TV.”- Vince Matherne, EVP Global Sales
XR and virtual sets spark creative renaissance
Advances in extended reality and real-time graphics technologies have become increasingly important for our TV experience. Broadcasters such as Warner Bros Discovery, ITV and NBC adopted XR techniques and virtual studio sets to showcase broadcast productions, not least when Covid prevented large-scale presence at major live events. Disguise is one of the main tech vendors in this space, helping broadcasters to use Epic Games’ Unreal Engine in any graphics generation “from a ticker or AR graphic to a high-fidelity immersive environment,” says the firm’s GM of broadcast, Grigory Mindlin.
Over the next few years Mindlin expects to see all graphics rendered in the cloud and on demand; “With the increasing use of AR graphics and more broadcast platforms emerging, they will also be customised for each viewer based on the viewer’s preferences.”
Virtual set technologies are also top of mind at AE Live. For Scott Marlow, head of virtual studios, the developments have given broadcasters fresh options to engage audiences in ways that might also be cheaper than having to dress and lock-out large physical sets.
“Virtual sets are endless sources of creative flexibility, allowing any combination of green screen or LED backdrops, virtual and augmented reality, real-time graphics, video and still images,” he says. “Virtual set elements can mix with physical ‘hard’ sets to expand the creative production capabilities of existing spaces.
Producers can also repurpose the same studio location for multiple programmes – a sports show one day, a cooking segment the next. News or sports shows running continuous live event coverage can drop in new graphics and statistical updates.
“Virtual sets are the perfect option for creating multiple customised environments to deliver immersive storytelling.”
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