Lessons from Amsterdam – IBC2008; Part One

22Sep08

Last weekend, I was lucky enough to visit Amsterdam for the annual International Broadcasting Convention (IBC) which brings together nearly 50,000 visitors from the world of TV. From traditional broadcast to exciting applications such as mobile and IPTV, the exhibition and conference is a window into all that’s going on in video and radio entertainment. But the broadcast model has never sat comfortably with the wild web – issues of rights management, content protection and the internet’s natural disposition for breeding disruptive technologies have led to these two media channels into prickly relations in the past.

Now, Michael Grade, executive chairman of ITV, has added fuel to the fire, telling conference attendees that “Google and YouTube are just parasites, they just live off our content is what they do. As long as we can create the content, the content is the keys to the castle for us going forward. The day they start spending one billion pounds a year on content is the day I’ll start worrying.”

Grade is confusing professional content with social media content, showing a huge lack of understanding in terms of why people use TV and why people use YouTube. I’m with Shane Richmond on this one, who rightly states that “Online video is not about replicating traditional broadcast TV and it’s certainly not about cannibalising ITV’s meagre audience, which is a drop in the ocean in internet terms.”

The consumer values content above all else and is far from worried about where it comes from. It’s a fact the music business has found difficult to swallow, and the TV industry is equally reluctant to get on board. Fortunately, companies like Shiny Red client APRICO are out there getting content owners to sit up and take notice. APRICO’s software means that consumers can watch programmes from traditional TV sources as well as internet content – like the ever popular Rocketboom – all in one channel, personalised to a particular interest. Once again, content is king… we just have to recognise that its kingdom is a cross-platform one.

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