Gartner (Nov 2015) has predicted that in 2016 there will be about 6.4billion connected devices in use with 5.5million new things getting connected each day. Smart homes, smart phones, on-line, on-air, laptops, tablets, e-readers, SVOD services, super fast broadband. ISP-based delivery …the list goes on.
Huawei suggests that by 2025 there will be four billion new broadband users, more than 100 billion devices will be digitally connected and everyone will consume content such that data will increase >500-fold. The digital interest comes from consumers wanting ROADS experience – Real-time, On-demand, All-online, DIY, and Social as an integral part of their lives.
VR and AR are set to be the next platform for mobile and broadcast so when are we going to have time to watch everything?
Let’s assume that most adults are working, commuting, watching TV, surfing and sleeping, then average US an UK data means they need 27.9 hours a day. The author also averaged published data on 8-18 year old daily activity showing they need 23,8 hours a day. Although most schools offer sports, it is limited yet both US and UK governments suggest children and adults increase their exercise levels. With greater demand for content absorption which sport to choose poses a problem as neither team nor paired sports are conducive to device distraction, nor are individual sports like skiing or golf.
In a study[i] released in January the average 8-18 year olds have increased their social media contact by 77 minutes compared to 57 minutes in 2004. To accommodate increased viewing hours consumers are often viewing TV during mealtimes and sharing time in person yet online. Most young consumers have a TV in their room, own a smart phone and often use two or more display devices simultaneously.
|averaged UK and US adult activity|
|commute to work||2.00|
|shower and bathroom use||0.75|
|surfing for whatever||2.74|
|time with children||0.32|
Viewers want to watch premium content at the best possible resolution on any screen, any time and anywhere. In addition, it to be easy to sign up, renew, defer or even cancel any of the services they use. They want to make payments to their content suppliers quickly using a choice of payment methods, and without compromising their bank or card details. They also want a broadband service that is fast and offers 100% uptime.
A report by Goldman Sachs analysts Drew Borst and Fred Krom suggested that in 2011 in the US, cinema attendance had fallen to an all time low in 25 years. Confronted with increasing options of entertainment at home and films with a shrinking cinema release window, the consumer would rather avoid high priced concessions and stay home with a DVD or download a movie. In the UK however, cinema ticket sales have increased suggesting that consumers spend so much time in front of a screen that they want to get out and put their smart phone in their pocket for a couple of hours while they watch a movie or a transmitted ballet or concert.
So as the broadcast and connected digital media industry challenge their R&D departments and creative talents to deliver increasing returns for shareholders, one wonders where the time to consume more content will come from. Many folk eat or cycle at the gym while looking at their phone. Already commuters travel with more than one connected device and multitask as they watch downloaded content, upload pictures to Facebook or play games while scanning emails and shopping online.
A glance at daily activities and time used versus a mere 24 hours available begs these questions:
- What activities can be given up to accommodate even more content?
- With constant multi-tasking is there time for in depth focussed learning for our future engineers, scientists, writers and directors.
- Can we anticipate increasing our relationships with devices while one on one relationships further decline and do we know the long term impact of such a social dynamics shift?
- Is it time to consider quality over quantity for content?
- Will our brains develop to accommodate ever increasing content?
- Are we seeing the impact of putting the economy above human and environmental impacts?
- Will future energy and resource costs divide society where only the wealthy can afford connectivity?
- If our tastes whether music, shopping trends or twitter feeds are digitally tracked, do we risk living in a bubble? Having only friends with the same tastes, staying within a realm of a particular music or film genre and only watching limited news feeds unaware of what is happening all over the world.
Globalisation has opened up many new markets from television sets to television formats What opportunities does this offer for technological advanmcement? Is there a market for innovative technology that provides entertainment and communication possibilities yet considers user physiology reducing neck aches, noise induced hearing loss and social isolation? Innovative technology where e-waste no longer ends up on land fill and becomes a reusable resource by this or other industries. Innovative technologies that encourage more rather than less human contact. We are an industry that has perpetuated the centuries of human habit whatever race, color or religion, that of story telling. However, even though we have been fascinated with recently emerging technologies that are enabling creative ways to deliver messages to stakeholders and are an essential component of the modern marketing mix, none can beat the immediacy or long standing memory of human contact incorporating messages with body language. Listening to stories alone works for certain topics but sports are best enjoyed in the company of other humans as the banter about rivalries and the personalities are as important as the goals scored.
On-line teaching provides an off the shelf at your own pace method for transferring information yet fails to accommodate human differences such as dyslexia, mentally challenged and the visually impaired. Humans do not learn nor do they interpret information in the same ways and innovative communication technology must consider this in order to avoid misinterpretation and monitor impacts.
A time-waster, familiar to all of us, whether our banking, the IRS or our internet provider is the “helpline”. I can categorically state that paint has dried quicker than the time I have taken to get some responses. We have all ended up frustrated after spending hours trolling the on-line pages without success finally resorting to a forum only to find many have done the same. Innovative technology is required in this area. Broadcaster and consumers alike don’t have hours to read the 160 pages of FAQ’s or the inclination to pay for technical advice after being on hold for an hour.
In conclusion, although there is a desire to be even more connected, there is little free time available for absorbing more content. We don’t even have twenty four hours as a day is actually 23 hours, 56 minutes and 4.1 seconds based on one complete rotation of the earth. With thirteen days of video uploaded onto YouTube every second, there is more content than time available in a lifetime so we need to k now how to choose. Technology can be used to help us decide but should never become the decision maker or we risk losing a global perspective and risk never exploring new content outside our favourites bubble. The market for content is no longer going to be whether you can afford it but rather have you time to consume it.
 Over 24 hours allows for multi-tasking
[i] Kaiser Family Foundation Generation M2: Media in the Lives of 8- to 18-year-olds
About Janet West
Janet West’s career has turned a full circle – from environmental science to broadcasting and back to the environment, bringing an extensive international business career in marketing, management in the private and public sectors in the fields of television and film, communications and environmental consulting/lecturing and research. With a solid academic background with a Master’s Degree in Environmental Chemistry and Environmental Strategy, along with her practical experience, Janet offers a visionary view to sustainability in business. With over twenty-five years in broadcasting, she has seen the phenomenal changes the industry has experienced and is working to increase awareness of the impact of all these changes. Most recently, Janet has worked at BBC R&D, has been a Pioneer in Practice with the EU-funded Climate KIC program working with the Warwick University on carbon foot-printing IT services and involved with The University of Bologna on developing a communications strategy for sustainability for the connected world. Janet’s research interest is in the environmental impact of the connected world and she is often asked to speak at conferences and corporate events. Janet has been working with Broadcast Beat for two years, interviewing clients on their technological innovations and chairing panels on live TV.