Countering Netflix chief executive Reed Hastings’ assertion that broadcast TV would be extinct by 2030, the Head of Technology for the DVB Project, Peter Siebert told the TV Connect conference. “Let’s see if Netflix will be around in 2030 and what the state of broadcast will be by then.”
Representing one of the leading bodies developing specifications for digital television systems on behalf of broadcasters, it’s not surprising to find Seibert defending broadcast’s position.
“While all broadcast will be delivered by IP we are not there yet. Broadband delivery is not as cost effective compared to classical broadcast and there is limited broadband access in many countries.”
Citing another statement, made several years ago by then BBC iPlayer boss Anthony Rose that broadcast would be long dead by now, Siebert said, “Not all predictions are true.”
According to the DVB, viewing of TV in EBU countries has remained pretty constant. Seibert extrapolated the trend toward on-demand to suggest that the amount of time shifted and live views will intersect around 2030.
“This is evolutionary, not revolutionary,” he said.
“Broadcast will stay but consumption patterns will change over time. Broadcasters will have to adapt - but they’re in a good position. They are a trusted brand, they have a lot of content available and are, in many countries, the leading content provider. Furthermore, the big screen’s relevance has never been higher. It is still the first choice for watching streaming content than on a smartphone or tablet.”
OTT and VOD service providers have to adapt too, he said. “In order to be competitive they have to provide the same quality of experience as TV, they need to address the big screen in the living toom and they need an easy way for viewers to navigate OTT VOD content. For the time being the navigation is anything but easy.”
He argued: “No storytelling technology has disappeared. We still read books, we still tell stories to children, we go to the theatre and the cinema – so I’m positive that TV will be there for generations to come.”
“I must give some credit to Netflix,” he added wryly. “They’ve been quite a successful organisation and even I use them in my private life.”