Digital, Interactive and Web TV
Providers] [Content Providers]
Choice: Depending on the provider, today's
subscribers can access over 50 channels, (over
100 including carrousel pay-per view movie channels). Within a few years
viewers may well have access to over 200 channels.
In the US, local community stations are common, keeping their viewers in
touch with local news and events and providing local companies with access
to their "home" market.
Better Pictures: No more ghosting, snow
or other degradation. The picture received will be at the same quality as
sent from the studio.
Wide Screen: Viewers with new widescreen
TVs will be able to take advantage of the higher proportion of widescreen
format (16:9 or 1.77:1) material included in digital TV broadcasts. Many
films originally made for the cinema will now be able to be shown as intended
by the director.
The normal ratios for cinema presentation are either 1.85:1 or for CinemaScope
at 2.35:1. The 1:85:1 film will be just slightly trimmed. CinemaScope involves
more cropping and the TV companies will still need to pan the original film
shot but nowhere as much as for current TVs.
Multi-track Dolby® Sound: Initially
UK digital TV will broadcast a digital 2 channel stereo sound that is comparable
to the current Nicam system. For the future full 6 channel Dolby® surround
sound will be possible.
Multiple Languages: The extra bandwidth
of digital TV allows programmes and films to be broadcast in a variety of
Advanced Teletext: Digital allows teletext
with different fonts and sharper graphics and pictures. It also has easier
navigation and faster response. Whilst not yet as advanced as PC displays
it brings a step change in quality. The higher bandwidth should provide much
more opportunity for advertisers to have their own pages or to sponsor the
standard pages. When linked with Web-TV, advertisers will be able to link
these rather static pages to the more dynamic web.
Advanced Electronic Programme Guides: These
could include sophisticated search engines, perhaps using a natural language
interface, the means to personalise and store search profiles for each member
of the household, to auto switch on or auto recording when a programme matching
the profiles starts, providing additional background information about the
programmes, and a reference library of all recordings made, etc.. See
Electronic Programme Guides.
Interactive Services: Digital TV provides
the basis for interactive communications with friends and family, the local
community, businesses, pressure groups, societies, and government. It provides
an interactive window into the world's expanding collection of electronic
information databases, assisting family members with their homework, study,
work, and hobbies and interests. See new services.
Reduced License Fees: As an incentive to
providers to invest in digital TV, the ITV license payments will fall from
£363 million in 1998 to £292 million in 1999. Further reductions
are possible as additional discounts are gained as more viewers switch to
Lower Operating Costs: Digital services
cost less to operate as many digital signals can be squeezed into the space
occupied by a single analogue signal. The savings are particularly large
for satellitte systems.
Enhanced Profit Stream: Once the capital
cost has been recovered, profits will rise sharply.
Increased Advertising Revenue: Digital set-top
boxes allow providers to gather accurate viewing habits on which they can
match with demographic data. They can then use this data to more accurately
promote their own services. The same data can be used to offer premium
advertising rates in return for broadcasting the advert when the target audience
has a propensity to watch. Ultimately, the set-top boxes could be individually
programmed to receive and show only certain types of advert, even perhaps
storing the adverts and showing them the next time the viewer switches on.
Revenue from New Data Services: These will
be delivered via the new digital teletext service or via web-tv. Income will
come from a mix of viewer premium subscriptions, pay-per-access, and advertising
Revenue from Archive Material: With 50 plus
years of broadcasting the content providers have amassed a huge archive.
New technology allows old recording to be enhanced by removing scratches
and noise and by bring colours vividly back to life. Current analogue TV
channels are now at capacity with 24 hour 7 day broadcasting but the numerous
digital channels provides a welcome outlet for such material. Nostalgia
is big business.
Revenue from Movies: These have always been
popular, with many people wishing to see blockbuster movies and famous stars
yet again. Once again, the film studios have amassed a huge archive. Digital
TV, especially cable with its potential for programmes on demand, provides
viewers with a convenient and hassle free way to view movies. No more need
to go out on a cold winter's evening and drive to a video rental shop - and
then have to take it back the next day.
Re-packaging the News: Many of the content
providers have the backing of news media groups. SkyDigital for example is
backed by News International. Digital TV provides the opportunity to re-package
this information for specialise channels. For example, business channels,
financial markets, industry sectors, geographical markets, etc..
Educational and Information Revenue Streams:
The concept of life long learning is fast gaining recognition but given the
1,000 of possible courses and topics it is not really practical to use the
mass broadcasting media. Currently such programmes tend to be broadcast overnight
(for video taping) or distributed directly via video tape and these methods
have copyright problems. Digital TV with its numerous channels and its
subscription and encryption systems, provides a way to broadcast such material
as a revenue stream. Expect to see many universities and business schools
delivering over digital TV.
Sales of New Digital Sets: BREMA estimate
that digital TVs worth £600 million will be sold in the year 2000, and
that 10% of UK households will have a widescreen receiver by the end of that
year. By 2002 they estimate 5m homes will be receiving digital TV with half
of those purchasing a new digital TV and the remainder a set-top box.
Currently large screen digital TVs cost circa £1,000 compared to over
£300 for analogue models.
Sales of New Digital Videos: To gain the
best quality recordings and the ability to simultaneously watch one channel
and record another, consumers should invest in digital video recorders. It
is likely that the DVD laser disk players and medium will become the standard
for recording digital programmes.
Sales of Enhanced Set-top Boxes: Meanwhile,
whilst the initial set-top boxes are being subsidised, expect to see boxes
with enhanced functionality being sold at a premium price. Such boxes could
provide enhanced data services including the internet and e-mail, multi-tracked
stereo sound, on-line shopping, multiple choice of viewing position at sports
events, advanced interactive teletext, programmable timers with links to
the video, and the means to update the software to support new services.
Supplying Retailers: TV sales in the West
have reached saturation point. The launch of a new generation of digital
TV provides a substantial filip that will accelerate sales throughout the
Much Cheaper Advertising: An advert on normal
ITV costs an average of £50,000. On Sky analogue it is around £17,000.
On digital it could be as low as £1,000 for a 100 slots.
Highly Targetted Advertising: Digital TV
provides the opportunity to target more precise audiences, eventually possibly
down to an audience of 1 - true One
to One Marketing.
Interactive Adverts: A new generation
of interactive adverts will really engage the recipient thus increasing the
propensity to buy. Interactive digital TV provides the basis for conducting
Mass Customisation - unique products
or services for individual customers all at a mass produced price.
See later section What are the implications and
possibilities for the advertising industry?
New Mobile License Sales: When the vast
majority of homes have switched to digital TV then the government will be
able to license the frequency spectrums for mobile communications - a rapidly
expanding communications medium that is supporting any time, any place, any
Government Direct: The UK government is
committed to a programme called variously ‘Better Government’, ‘Modernising
Government', and ‘Modernising Britain'. One personal objective of the Prime
Minister is to streamline bureaucracy, with 25% of Government services delivered
electronically by the year 2002. Digital TV, along with PCs and kiosk systems,
is a key platform to delivering services to a large proportion of the population.
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