Notes From the Future


Ideas and observations gathered from the Future of Television conference this week in lower Manhattan:

* Consumers 18-35 are “significantly dissatisfied with regular linear television,” said David Wolf, who leads Accenture’s global media and entertainment practice.

* “It’s early days still, but the good news is that multiplatform exploitation seems to expanding audience, not cannibalizing it,” — J.B. Perrette, president of NBC Universal Digital Distribution, on a subsequent panel.

* "Commercial-skipping is severely threatening the economic model. This is our biggest challenge…and this is frankly what is killing the broadcast networks as we speak.” — Garth Ancier, president of BBC Worldwide America.

* "Congress is terrified about the digital television transition. One thing you don’t want to do is stand between people and their television…. So they put it as far as possible from the elections, hoping people will forget by the time the next election happens." — David Oxenford, partner with Davis Wright Tremaine.

* Mike Hawkey, EchoStar vice president of sales and marketing, explained that one of the key reasons the company acquired Sling Media is the potential to monetize the content people access through the Slingboxes: "I know somebody moved this content from A to B, I can tell you exactly why he moved it, and I know what it is that moved there."

*NBCU general counsel Rick Cotton said 99% of this summer’s online Olympics viewing took place at and 1% was from unauthorized sources. "We put a lot of effort into working with the Internet sharing sites… to make sure unauthorized content was not available on those sites." When consumers find it’s difficult to upload video or find video at YouTube or Veoh or, "then it registers with them that there are sites like or — and the audience moves very, very quickly." He added that Hulu, the joint venture between NBCU and News Corp., is more than 50% ahead in terms of projections of audience generation. 

* 30% of live sporting events are time-shifted, with an increase in people who "pause, wait and fast-forward" through commercials, according to Mark Risis, TiVo’s director of interactive advertising sales.

* Of consumers asked about what they’re looking for in their next TV purchase, 89% cited energy efficiency as a criterion, with 88% citing picture quality and 51% saying they were interested in Internet connectivity, according to CEA chief economist Shawn DuBravac.

* DuBravac said 80% of adults 18-24 own a videogame console today, up from 30% five years ago.

* Jay LaPlante, founder of Web-video comedy studio Black20, said his 14-employee company has produced 500 videos for less than $1 million ("that’s all-in") and those have generated 50 million views. Black20 now is pitching three Web series to TV networks, and "the cumulative price of the three shows is a fraction of what it would cost to do just one for traditional TV."