Magazine article Marketing

Raymond Snoddy on Media: I've Seen TV's Future and Ads Are in It

Magazine article Marketing

Raymond Snoddy on Media: I've Seen TV's Future and Ads Are in It

Article excerpt

If you offered a fiver to everyone in the marketing community who is a regular at the IBC convention in Amsterdam, it wouldn't cost you much. Even mainstream broadcasters are few and far between among the hordes of engineering types who gather in Holland every September.

But if you want the latest on the current state of play in high-definition and mobile television or digital cinema, the conference and exhibition is the place to eavesdrop on the techies. Some even explain what they are up to in a recognisable human language.

The scale is a bit forbidding, with more than 1200 exhibits and 45,000 visitors, and the conference's TV channel tends to carry breathless news of an outside-broadcast truck being sold. But the application of a quick dipstick produces results: digital cinema really is on the way, there are significant problems with the speedy growth of high-definition television, mobile TV is not all plain sailing and TV advertising may not be dead in the digital age after all.

Digital film for cinema is relatively easy. Top cinematographers say the engineers have finally cracked the problem of how to handle light levels digitally in a way that replicates the quality of the conventional release print of a movie. The barriers should now fall away.

High-definition is a different matter. The engineers were all salivating in Amsterdam that after 25 years of effort, 2006 has been the breakthrough year for HD - courtesy of the World Cup. Er ... that's it. Lots of high-quality content is now urgently needed and production cost is a real issue for commercial and public-service broadcasters alike.

Sony executives were among those noting that consumers who forked out their money for high-definition TV sets for the World Cup are now starting to complain about a lack of things to watch.

Neither do governments besotted by the internet and analogue switch-off seem to grasp HDTV's importance.

The performance of the pounds 3bn-a-year BBC in this arena has been lamentable. In a reincarnation of the potter's wheel, the Beeb thinks it is acceptable to spend long periods broadcasting an HD show-reel and a loop of David Attenborough's Planet Earth. The bats in the world's deepest cave are really interesting, but after the fourth viewing even they begin to pall. …

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