The US and UK TV markets: the differences and why they’re important

By Nigel Walley – @nwalley –

Sept 2011 - New NW BW Head & Shoulders (thumbnail)Late last year, HBO and CBS in the US announced web streaming services that sent the US trade press into paroxysms of ‘cord-cutting’ hyperbole.   ‘HBO Go’ and ‘CBS All Access’ were feted as marking ‘the end of TV’.   At the time we thought it was strange that their launch was also reported breathlessly by the UK trade press, as though it had some strategic relevance to us.  In Decipher, we barely gave it a nod.  The main reason is that we have had both the equivalent launches here already without the world caving in (for HBO read Sky’s NOW TV [left, below], and for CBS read ITV Pay).  They have had only limited impact on our market. more “The US and UK TV markets: the differences and why they’re important”

An Open Letter To Our Friends at Sky

By Decipher –

070716 Decipher SquareDear Friends At Sky

As you know, we at Decipher love few things more than a new set-top box, and – if there isn’t a full-scale launch to talk about – then the next best thing for us is to ruminate on what might be coming down the track.

Our interest was piqued by a report on a potential new Sky box in last week’s The Telegraph (who, coincidentally, first broke the news last April of your Project Ethan development initiative). This new article speculated that you would bring forward the release of a new set-top box to this spring – a whole nine months to a year before we expected to see its arrival in UK living rooms. This was partly driven by their claiming that the internal name for Ethan was once “Project 2016”. more “An Open Letter To Our Friends at Sky”

Ad-tech and fraud: the industry responds

Head and shoulders

By Matthew Walters –

At the turn of the year, we at Decipher wrote a piece on these pages asking whether the advent of future ad-tech – against the backdrop of ad-tech itself, the web and television becoming ever more converged – required a new form of (at present, extremely limited) regulatory oversight.  This was in reaction to a story, first published in the Financial Times and subsequently elsewhere, that over the course of a one-month investigation 72% of ad impressions being offered on open exchanges under the were fraudulent. Such was the scale of the problem that the FT chose to write directly to advertisers, warning them not to trust inventory being traded on open exchanges and to only use the FT’s trusted seller. more “Ad-tech and fraud: the industry responds”

Reflections on #RTSRona

Sept 2011 - New NW BW Head & Shoulders (thumbnail)And so to the British Museum to witness the introductory Royal Television Society speech of Rona Fairhead (hashtag #RTSRona), the new chair of the BBC Trust. A great BBC occasion at the British Museum, or as one wag billed it – a line up of impressive relics supporting one of the great institutions of Empire. (My personal favourite was ‘talking about ‘Auntie’ in the ‘Mummy’ exhibit).

Those of us who witnessed the car crash that was Maria Miller’s introduction to the RTS quickly recognised that this was a very different event – albeit for a very different role. Maria Miller exposed herself, over a 40 minute period, to be a vacuous buffoon….and a badly briefed one at that. Rona Fairhead, it was quickly apparent, is a very impressive, very classy operator. However it is clear, at a time when we are still questioning the role of the BBC trust , that she is an establishment player through and through.  We need to see that she can combine this with being a new broom or a fresh voice, not just a refreshingly competent one. On top of this, she was being interviewed by Sir Peter Bazalgette, the nearest thing that the UK television industry has to royalty. more “Reflections on #RTSRona”

A line in the sand?  Fox, Dish and contentious advances in PVR functionality

Head and shouldersBy Matt Walters –

The eyes of the media and tech world have been concentrated for most of this month of January on one American city, but it could be argued that many observers were looking in the wrong direction.  Four hundred and fifty miles from the “wearable tech” and “high dynamic range” imaging of this year’s CES in Las Vegas, an unassuming Los Angeles District courthouse played host to a drama with a far more profound near-term impact for how television content is consumed in the United States (and perhaps more widely).  The case was fast becoming the American media world’s Jarndyce v Jarndyce. more “A line in the sand?  Fox, Dish and contentious advances in PVR functionality”

Three little words that mean three very different things for TV

By Matt Walters – 

Head and shouldersWe’re only three weeks into 2015 but January’s already served up another industry conference, this time IBC’s Content Everywhere MENA in Dubai.  Fresh from the HDR (high dynamic range), drones and smart homes of CES, execs from media players both regional (Abu Dhabi Media, Etisalat) and international (YouTube, Yahoo) returned to more familiar and immediate matters, discussing – among other things – the impact new services are having on “traditional” TV and the evolution of Content or TV Everywhere.  It’s clear that this, which we describe in more detail below, is and will continue to be one of the year’s biggest talking points – inside and outside the conference room. more “Three little words that mean three very different things for TV”

“International expansion” cannot be taken for granted

By Matt Walters – and shoulders

Magine, once described (not entirely accurately) by one industry commentator as “Spotify for TV”, has since its original launch in Sweden in November 2012 been held up as the poster boy for a total cloud television future.  With good reason we in the industry took notice as it first claimed to sign up 500,000 paying subscribers in its first twelve months on the back of formidable carriage deals it had agreed with SVT (the Swedish public service broadcaster), TV4, CNN International, the BBC, Eurosport, National Geographic, Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network.  A further successful launch in Germany, spurred by agreements with RTL (giving users access to channels including, among others, RTL, VOX, Eurosport, Nickeolodeon and Comedy Central), shortly followed, and Magine now claims to have subscribers that run to seven figures in Germany. more ““International expansion” cannot be taken for granted”

Will ad tech require a regulatory revolution?

By Decipher –

070716 Decipher Square

In many ways, 2014 was  a successful year for future ad-tech.  Blockbuster M&A deals saw the ownership of, Brightroll and SpotXchange change hands (to AOL, Yahoo and RTL respectively).  And the UK’s very own Channel 4 has announced (but not detailed) plans for a private, automated ad trading marketplace for All4, its rebranded catch-up service, to be launched early next year.

Yet dark clouds sit on ad-tech’s horizon as we start 2015.  A recent Financial Times investigation highlighted the malaise.  According to a study the FT conducted with Pixalate, a company specialising in detection and prevention of ad fraud, over the course of a single month 72% of ad impressions being offered on open exchanges under the name were fraudulent.  more “Will ad tech require a regulatory revolution?”

Video on demand finds its home on TV sets

mediabug logo - update 2_nosubtitleStacey Sterzel –

Adrian Czerwick –

Over the past decade there has been a proliferation of devices on which television content can be viewed on demand. There has been much discussion around changes to audience viewing engendered by these devices, from mobile television to second screening. In 2014, significant improvements in video on demand services and devices by both television industry stalwarts, such as BSkyB and Virgin Media, and by newer players to the market (such as Google Play and Apple TV) have led to an increase in viewing of on demand content on the best screen in the house – the television. more “Video on demand finds its home on TV sets”

Who Drives Ad Innovation In The UK?

By Nigel Walley – @nwalleySept 2011 - New NW BW Head & Shoulders (thumbnail)

We are in an interesting period with television and video advertising innovation in the UK. There is a lot of it about, but not always in the right places and it is not being delivered with enough consistency for us to claim that we are an advanced ad market. As part of our FutureMedia analysis, we have been picking TV advertising apart to assess the state of innovation.

From a tech point of view, broadcast TV has traditionally been a ‘low innovation’ zone. Apart from a brief flirtation with red button interactivity in the last decade, there has been little broadcast ad innovation to talk of, and platform based VOD has yet to materialise properly.  Most innovation around video formats has come therefore from the web elements of the industry. more “Who Drives Ad Innovation In The UK?”