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DBS 2014 – Broadcasters cautioned about over-optimistic digital spending

Some broadcasters may be spending digital dollars on new equipment in order to get back digital cents, industry experts have been told.

Mr Andrew Yeo, Publisher and Editorial Director of Asia-Pacific Broadcasting (APB), delivered the warning to delegates attending a workshop on Effective Business Solutions for the Evolving Media Market, part of the ABU Digital Broadcasting Symposium in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

He said that, in order to retain eyeballs and woo highly mobile viewers, many free-to-air networks have launched or are launching over-the-top (OTT) content services.

“But are we spending digital dollars to make digital cents?” he asked.

And he said broadcasters might question whether they needed at this stage to go beyond high definition (HD) into 4K broadcasting. He said the Sochi Winter Olympics had been just a precursor to 4K broadcasting but would it become the next “normal” for the Summer Olympics in Brazil in 2016? He thought it could – but only when HEVC codec was fully optimized and the price of 4K-enabled TV receivers fell to under $2,000, stimulating consumer demand for long-form 4K content such as films and documentaries as well as live sports programming.

Mr Yeo’s advice was to make haste slowly.

“Before you invest in any new production system, be it HD or 4K, keep a close watch on what your audiences are watching, for how long, on what devices and whether they are switching to YouTube,” he said. He suggested cloud technology and big data analytics could provide insights into what was happening with fragmented audiences.