Out-Law / Your Daily Need-To-Know

Personalised programming on multiple devices the future broadcasters must embrace, says taskforce

Out-Law News | 22 May 2014 | 10:03 am | 2 min. read

Broadcasters will be delivering personalised content to the public by 2025 on a number of different devices, such as mobile devices and connected TVs, an industry taskforce has said.

The Future of Innovation in Television Technology (FITT) Taskforce, formed under the auspices of the Digital Television Group (DTG), said that broadcasters' business models will need to evolve to harness the value of consumer data. This will help them deliver programmes and advertising that is appropriately targeted at individuals and in turn increase their own revenues, it said.

"By 2025, the internet and computing technology will have transformed not only our relationship with our TV screens, but also with each other and the world around us. Devices will be connected all of the time, providing access to our own personalised content anytime, anywhere. And – depending on consumers' willingness to share data on their consumption – this will enable all kinds of producers and broadcasters to track the vast amount of individual data and present tailored offerings and targeted advertising."

The taskforce said that the broadcast industry and UK government should "develop models that provide open and clear information regarding data gathering that will garner public trust and support". It said that the legal environment must strike a balance between allowing organisations to collect consumers' data and ensuring their privacy rights are protected and called on broadcasters to "explore models of self-regulation" so as to reassurance consumers about their privacy.

The FITT taskforce was asked by the UK government to report on how the broadcast industry can leverage innovations in UK television technology to generate future growth. In its final report, it identified the potential for a new central 'creative cloud' to be set up and used by broadcasters and other members of the UK's creative industries.

Establishing a creative cloud could help the businesses reduce the costs involved in processing and storing the large volumes of data that is generated during the production of content, from video and audio files to graphics, it said.

"The greatest computing challenge for the production and post-production community is the handling of huge peaks and troughs in demand for computationally intensive rendering," the FITT taskforce said in its report. "This requires a data centre with sufficient energy, processing capability, connectivity and storage to meet this demand but also to provide the benefit of being a shared resource across the UK creative industry."

The taskforce said that the data centres could be optimised to cut down on the time it takes to transfer and render audio visual files. It said that the 'creative cloud' could be accessed on a "pay-as-you-go" basis to suit the particular scheduling needs of the individuals businesses that would use it.

It called on the UK government to encourage broadcasters and other content creators in the country to use a 'creative cloud' by part funding the initiative at the outset.

However, the taskforce said that it recognises that altering the way broadcast content is produced and consumed would require the UK to have "robust and sustainable networks and infrastructure".

It identified the need to make the most of the "finite spectrum" that is available for delivering content over wireless networks, and said that a mix of technologies, including possibly the use of 'white space' for transmitting data over networks, could be deployed depending on where consumers are across the country.

"The UK needs to develop an ongoing review process to ensure the most efficient delivery mechanisms are used to provide universally-available content," the report said.