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Convergence Nirvana

The way we are consuming video content is changing, says Andy Rogers, MD etv online…

This year we are reaching the convergence ‘nirvana’ and for those of us who have been involved in the digital revolution for the last 10 years or so this cannot come too soon. The acid test for all uptake of technology is whether your mother has heard of it, and I can confirm that my mum has not only heard of iPlayer, she uses it every week on her PC.

With access to video content becoming prevalent across devices, producers are starting to think about formatting their content at the production stage to cater for these screen sizes and technical constraints. This is made easier still with initiatives from the likes of Adobe who provide software that encodes on the fly, dependant on the devices, giving us the best possible experience for our particular situation on any Flash-enabled device.

It would appear however that most content producers are missing a trick; providing the same content across a number of devices is great, but we tend to have different time, environmental or technical constraints imposed on us depending on where and how we are accessing this content. We also all fall into a demographic that dictates how and when we can consume video-based entertainment, infotainment or education content. These things make us unique and a lot of work has been done in the web world to allow us to change the way we interact with text and image-based information via web 2.0 and web 3.0 enabled websites and portals so why not with video content?

As content producers and strategists in the area, we are beginning to look at the opportunities to create themes and creative which work across devices and can be monetised accordingly. The YouTube Susan Boyle fiasco is a good example of how necessary this is for broadcasters today. New devices should not just offer the same linear experience, but should provide additional or contextual content catered to meet individual’s needs wherever and whenever they are viewing. This can be done in a number of ways, but it is important that the producers and creatives understand the technical constraints, and understand the pace of access across to the 2ft-to-10ft range of interaction.

By tailoring the content and associated interaction to the device, it’s possible to form a content campaign where it is possible to create far greater recognition, brand loyalty and uptake. Revenue opportunities (something which all broadcasters have more than a passing interest in these testing economic times) can also be maximised, by focussing the content on device – specific interaction, for example prompting mobile users to text a short code before moving onto one of a set of tailored outcomes.

As technology drives audience fragmentation, we must adopt this approach, not only to satisfy consumer demand, but also to be able to finance compelling content production that fits with the habits of the new viewing audiences. Pretty soon single screen commissioning will look very old-fashioned.