Jeremy Rees is Managing Director, TSL Systems.

The future of TV

By Jeremy Rees

After decades of engaging with content in a lean-back, passive way, consumers are now much more engaged with what they watch, when and where. As viewers exercise their choice, the biggest challenge to traditional broadcasters now comes from alternative methods of content consumption, including streaming services such as Netflix and others.

The really big broadcasters have traditionally had two roles; first, as the creators of content, and second, as content distributors. Streaming has an impact on both those fronts.

On the content creation side, the ubiquity of video means that anyone can make their own TV programme quite easily with an iPhone or using a very inexpensive piece of Mac or PC software. The lowered price of entry into video production has also opened up video to smaller organisations — everyone from corporate users to the education sector.

However, the best and most compelling content is created by those who understand the craft and have the most innovative ideas. This is not going to change, so broadcasters still have to invest in high production values — and this means creative ideas, talented craftsmen and best-in-class equipment.

As a systems integrator that understands the mechanics of high-value TV content, TSL Systems is focused on ensuring that we can provide this high-end equipment to our customers, as we support them in the battle with the deluge of cheaply created content.

The biggest challenge to traditional broadcasters now comes from alternative methods of content consumption, including streaming services such as Netflix and others.

Professional quality equipment now has lower barriers to entry than ever before and you get a lot more for your dollar now than you used to. In the past, broadcasters and media organisations used to spend vast amounts of money on very specialised pieces of equipment, built into specialised facilities. While the market for this still exists, there is a growing secondary market for those organisations that can spend tens of thousands of dollars on a facility capable of generating some very high-quality material.

On the distribution side, the combination of 4G network roll-out and more sophisticated mobile devices means that consumers are able to receive and play increasingly high-quality content on-the-go — and they are also willing to spend money on subscriptions.

For traditional broadcasters, this means not only do they have to deliver their content in the usual linear fashion, but also via streaming to make their content available to consumers over the Internet. As a knock-on effect, they will also have to invest heavily in media asset management (MAM) systems in order to make all their content available for access via online platforms and on-demand services. Many broadcasters are now beginning to do just this. On the plus side, though, this can create a lucrative new revenue stream by charging for access to their archives of existing content.

From a TSL Systems perspective, this is an expansion of the work that we have done with our customers in the past. There is now a whole management layer there that is ripe for new technologies and there is real opportunity for systems integrators, like ourselves, who understand technology and how to go from content creation to distribution.

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