Medientage 2011: How will TV look in future?

Jörn Krieger ©RapidTVNews | 20-10-2011

The question which changes television will go through in future was discussed at the panel "TV of the future - hybrid, interactive, social" at the Medientage München conference in Munich on 19 October 2011.
While Sebastian Blum, managing director of consulting company Booz & Company, predicts that 50% of TV consumption will be non-linear in the year 2020, Helmut Thoma remains sceptical. The former head of commercial broadcaster RTL expects television to stay mainly linear in future. A viewer accessing a catch-up portal such as ZDFmediathek would ask: "How should I know what to watch?" Thoma said that the euphoria currently present in the industry is something he's seen before. For example, in the year 2000, it was said that the internet would eat television. "But it has not digested it so far." Thoma invited his fellow panelists to meet again in 10 years. "We will then be astonished about the things which have not taken place."
Gary Davey, programme director of Sky Deutschland, reminded everyone that the quality of content would decide about success or failure - independently of whether it's offered linear or non-linear. In the view of Wolfgang Elsäßer, head of Astra Deutschland, non-linear television is not a replacement, but a supplement to linear television. Elsäßer announced that Astra would present the interactive portal of its HDTV platform HD+ in November 2011 on which linear TV channels will be able to provide on-demand content.
Johannes Larcher, senior vice president international of Hulu, is certain that non-linear TV consumption will rise: In particular the young generation wants to liberate itself from TV channels' rigid programme schedules and, for example, decide themselves when to watch a TV series. Larcher expects that on-demand content platforms such as Netflix will in future increasingly compete with classic TV broadcasters for attractive programme content which traditionally ran on conventional television.
Regarding financing, Larcher sees paid-for models in an advantageous position: "The best business model ever invented in the TV market is pay-TV." Hulu launched in the USA as an advertising-financed on-demand platform for TV content. With Hulu Plus, there is now a premium version granting access to a larger and more current offering for $7.99 per month. "The dual strategy allows us a better monetization than a sole advertising-supported model," said Larcher.
Six weeks ago, Hulu launched in Japan with further international markets to follow. Larcher didn't want to disclose whether Germany would be one of them. The German market has many interesting characteristics, he said. "But no decision has been made yet whether we will launch a German Hulu or not."