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BW Businessworld

Television Isn’t Going Anywhere

It will have to change its ways though. TV will have to serve as per viewers’ content consumption preference

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At the pace the world and the ecosystem around us is evolving, it is practically quite a tall ask to visualise a day in the year 2035! But at the same time, it is worth imagining, courtesy to the immense intrigue value attached to it. No matter how much we attempt to leave the past behind and focus on the present, the thought about the future still leaves us with a blend of emotions filled with anxiety, excitement and of course, hope. And it is this hope that leads us to imagine and envision a better tomorrow.

Representing a brand that pioneered private satellite television in India and at the same time writing a guest column about ‘End of TV’, is an irony in itself for me, but I still chose to do it since I see more opportunities than challenges in the years to come.

With the ever-evolving content consumption patterns, rising strength of the Internet bandwidth, advent of advanced portable multi-media screens, and above all, a dip in the data costs globally, the future, and in context to the theme of this column, a day in 2035, certainly is about ubiquitous screens and content mobility.

Content creators’ focus for the year 2035 should certainly be on the optimal usage of the omni-platform environment, which viewers will be experiencing in future.

I don’t think the viewer intends to move towards a world without TV, but surely demands more control on the delivery of the content. Delivery on preferred screen, time and place. The experience that viewers enjoy while watching a football game on a 4K screen today will turn into an 8K screen by 2035. It cannot be matched on a smaller portable device. The value that one derives while watching a sitcom or a drama series or a thriller for that matter, in the presence of family and friends cannot be derived on a smaller single screen. So the true essence of viewing a television, irrespective of whether the feed is coming through a DTH operator, over-the-top box, or through a stream from a given app, is here to stay. That said, the potential and demand for an access to rich content on-the-go cannot be overlooked. The key is to broaden the realm of storytelling. Gone are the days, when a content idea was conceptualised just for a single screen. One has to focus on the social dynamics and synergistic experiences that viewers expect, by creating exclusive content customised for specific screens. So the nuggets that cannot be covered on a television screen, can be purely delivered through other portable screens to quench the thirst for a more customised and personal viewing. A content thought cannot be conceived without keeping in mind the overall social surround.

The integration of television with the social world will be immense, empowering the viewer to virtually connect with friends and family while viewing the content remotely. The content search intelligence on television will be a key aspect; it will give the viewer the ability to find the right content from the right source. Aggregation of content from various apps, and the delivery of the same on one single screen based on the viewers’ preferences will be the essentials of a television screen in 2035. The role and importance that SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) plays on Internet today, Content Discovery Optimisation will play for a television screen tomorrow, offering the right content for the viewer based on the time of the day, kind of viewers sitting in front of screen, trend of the day, and so on.

Television will also have to serve the changing patterns of content consumption by the viewer.

As our chairman, Dr. Subhash Chandra, who has defined the word ‘pioneering’ for many businesses than one, but especially for the television industry, once said, “A circular relationship with the viewer is a must for the future of television.” We are of the firm belief that instant dialogue with the viewer gauging his feedback on the content consumed is extremely critical. It is also critical that the feedback is instantly incorporated in the delivery of the content, customising the viewing experience to its core.

So to summarise, as we try to envision a day in 2035 across the horizon, contemplating the various possibilities, one thing is for sure, we are certainly moving faster to a world without content viewing restrictions. Screens like television, tablets, mobile phones, or even the smart watches, will independently play an important role in delivering content, but the viewer and content, both will be the kings!

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

Punit Goenka

The author is MD & CEO, ZEE Entertainment Enterprises

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