Apple, Google influence 'worries' broadcast TV industry
Published Mar 22 2012, 13:05 GMT | By Andrew Laughlin
The UK broadcast industry expects money earned from online video services to quadruple by 2020, but two thirds of executives are concerned over the 'growing influence' of digital gatekeepers such as Google and Apple
, new research has revealed.
The latest Tomorrow Calling
survey by Red Bee Media has indicated that 78% of British broadcasters believe the financial outlook for their industry is 'positive'. They expect to see broad growth in both traditional TV revenues and new income streams.
There is particular optimism about future revenues from online video, including paid subscription and digital streaming licensing deals, as well as online advertising.
Broadcasting executives from across the industry said that they expect pay and advertising revenues from online video to quadruple over the next eight years.
However, they also expressed a number of concerns in the new digital world, predominantly over the growing power of 'digital gatekeepers'.
Many broadcasters use platforms such as iTunes, Google Play and Facebook to digitally distribute their programming. But around two thirds of respondents (64%) felt that the influence of the likes of Apple, Google, Amazon and Facebook is the 'most important challenge' facing their businesses through to 2020.
It is perhaps telling that the BBC last week announced plans to launch its own digital download service
, dubbed Project Barcelona, which will give the corporation more control over how it distributes content to consumers.
As the UK's broadband infrastructure improves and connection speeds rise, it is felt that the battle for industry revenues will increase massively, as major internet players and device manufacturers get into the content streaming market.
The broadcasters surveyed predicted that these very wealthy new players in the market, such as Apple and Google, will soon start competing for premium rights to sport, films and TV shows to differentiate their services to consumers.
Some three quarters (72%) of respondents felt that competition for premium content will intensify dramatically by 2020, as more companies seek to acquire rights.
More than half (57%) felt that technology firms such as Google, Apple or Samsung will challenge Sky by bidding for a package of live rights to Premiership football, possibly even when the rights become available this year
The Google-owned YouTube is expected to invest around £100m on commissioning original videos in the UK by 2020, while 59% of respondents expect Sky to spend more on TV production than ITV, marking a seismic shift in the industry.
Online video aggregators such as YouTube are predicted to benefit the most from growing advertising revenue, with 67% of respondents expecting aggreagators to take the biggest slice of the revenue.
But the broadcasters also expect the adoption (and connection) of IP-enabled devices to be a key factor, including estimates that almost a quarter (23%) of adults will be watching video through games consoles by 2020, up from just 12% in 2010.
Despite the various challenges, 78% of the UK television industry remain positive about their future prospects, particularly due to the emergence of new business models on digital platforms.
Non-traditional TV revenues are expected to become increasingly significant, including 58% of respondents predicting that product placement and advert-funded programming will become key revenue streams.
"From talking to the industry, it's clear that technology and internet businesses are fast becoming significant players," said Red Bee Media chief executive Bill Patrizio.
"The question we need to ask ourselves is whether the innovations brought by these new entrants are going to sustain or disrupt our industry in the years to come.
"Will the internet be the industry's friend or foe? And what role will regulatory bodies play in determining the impact and pace of change?"
He added: "If the last ten years have seen the convergence of broadcasting with broadband, it's likely that the remainder of the coming decade will see a collision and competition between business models driven by consumer demand and expectation and changing patterns of media consumption.
"Media companies will have to fight hard and innovate in a fast changing, technologically driven landscape if they are to make the most of this flourishing market."
Findings of the report were revealed today at The Guardian
's Changing Media Summit.> TV show piracy driven by lack of access to new programmes, says report