I’ve just come back from the Broadcast Evolution Summit, a three-day conference exploring how the world of TV and broadcasting is changing, where I was given an opportunity to present some ideas on how the changes in next generation broadband infrastructures will create new opportunities and business models for content providers. Its impossible to turn down an opportunity to speak at a conference if its in Cannes and just as you’re getting over the winter blues, but this was a very good event.
One of the most striking things which really ought to have crossed my mind before was that the broadcast and internet industries are such different beasts, and at times it felt a little like we were looking at each other through some distorting lens, each with perfectly rational views of each other but very slightly wrong in important ways. So this conference was the first opportunity I’d had to meet, listen and chew over the challenges and changes the broadcast industry is facing, and fascinating it was. I plan to start a mini-series of blog entries about some of the speakers and impacts they’ve had on my thinking, and some of the ideas which came from listening to an industry undergoing change.
One thing was clear though, that this industry is facing many of the same pressures the music industry is facing – new technologies and ways of consuming media disrupting the ordered and well established way of doing things. However, there was much less of the Fergal Sharkey position, resisting change and arguing others should prop up their way of life, and much more of the Billy Bragg world view that people will still want to watch quality content, albeit in very different ways, and that although they haven’t got all the answers just yet there is a willingness to collaborate and learn so their industry has a long and successful future.
As I collect my thoughts – and there were lots – the first is that this kind of event, where two industries get to explore their similarities and opportunities, is a welcome addition to the European conference circuit. If there were a music industry version of it I’d be there like a shot!