Kelsey Group

New digital technologies using ATSC-DTV standards are redefining the TV experience and enabling new business models, said Glenn Reitmeier, VP of tech standards and policy for NBC Universal, who was speaking at BIA’s Winning Media Strategies conference in Washington, D.C. “We are at a really exciting phase” akin to General Sarnoff’s use of radio receivers to redefine the radio industry.

Reitmeier said what we’re seeing is a new software-based environment that acts as “an application framework” allowing such features as conditional access, subscription pay per view, digital rights management and content downloads. When that is combined with interactive channels, a whole new world opens up, including voting, social networks, e-commerce and targeted ads.

The advances will enable broadcasters to reclaim their fundamental advantage by 2015, said Reitmeier. But it isn’t about the home TV. Fundamentally, consumers just want content on any screen. Devices such as video-enabled phones are exploding, helping achieve growth from this “very mature business.” Non-real time services are also an important part of the equation, including on demand and clipcasting, targeted ad insertion, and location-based preference codes.

Mike Bloxham, director of insight and research at the Center for Media Design at Ball State University, speaking on the same panel, continued on the same theme. Indeed, a recent study by the center quantified 65 different categories of media consumption using four types of screens: TV, computers, mobile and “other,” including GPS, in-screen navigation, etc.

While digital has added diversity at every demographic, Bloxham was quick to note that live TV still dominates and is used 318 minutes per day on average. That includes more than an hour of commercials — more time than is spent viewing news.

Pundits who have written off live TV in favor of the Internet, game consoles and digital video recorders are getting ahead of themselves, he notes. It hasn’t happened yet. Those media are used far less. “Television is a very solid business for many years to come,” says Bloxham.

At the same time, “television” now consists of a mishmash of each platform. There are no ‘TV companies’ anymore, he says. “There is ‘platform promiscuity.’ Consumers don’t care in the slightest if programs coming in via telcos, mobile whatever.”

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