Exec Survey Paints Computer-Heavy TV Future

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New technology is dividing the TV audience into two distinct groups. One will remain "largely passive in the living room," while the other will drive radical changes to the business model in their search for "anytime, anywhere content through multiple channels."

That's according to a report by IBM Business Consulting Services, The End of Television As We Know It, that looks at the next half-dozen years.

The study predicts that, in that time, overall advertising will increase, in part because digital video recorders will increase content consumption. But the DVR will also decrease the demand for traditional spots, as will video-on-demand.

According to the study, which culled its research from 65 hour-long interviews with media executives, "most surveyed executives, regardless of company, placed the least confidence in TV advertising compared to user-driven, on-demand revenue streams."

The title of the study evokes a doomsday scenario, but it could have as easily have been called The Beginning of Television As We Will Come To know It. Still, the survey suggests that, for media executives to get there from here, they will need to do the following:

•Segment, as in "cover your bets." Invest in strategies that serve both the passive and active viewers, including tailoring "content, advertising, pricing, and reach."

•Innovate pricing, windows, packaging, and distribution now. "Take risks today to avoid losing position over the long term."

•Open. That means open, standards-based delivery platforms, but with both content protection and consumer flexibility.

•Experiment, which the study buzz-phrases as "develop, trial, refine, roll out, repeat."

•Get moving, which means "create seamless content mobility" and "synchornization across devices without required user modification."

•Reorganize the business, outsourcing, partnering or consolidating non-core functions.

Not surprisingly from a company with IBM in its name, the report paints a computer-heavy profile of a 2012 advanced-media user whose consumption, says the report, will go "far beyond traditional 'lean back' behavior and constrained content." (see bcbeat.com).

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