CABLE CONGRESS – AMSTERDAM. Should traditional parties such as cable companies and commercial broadcasters are afraid of newcomers such as Google? On the contrary was the message of Vincent Dureau, head of TV technology at Google. “Ad skipping is a good thing in the long run for the TV industry,” he told a fully packed house during his opening keynote, “People have always been avoiding commercials by zapping, now they skip. But people don’t skip all commercials.” In the future there will be an accurate viewership database of what people are watching, so people will see targeted advertising they will actually watch. “There is plenty of evidence on the web, if you look at the Google results we had fewer ads, but we generated more money with higher click-through rates.”
The emerging trends on the web will also apply to television. Video is now being democratised. Firstly, the costs of producing has gone done with HD cameras now costing less than one thousand dollars and an online editing suite for less than two hundred dollars. Secondly, the cost of storage is dropping 50% every six months. And thirdly the cost of distribution is going down. Because of this, the web is now the new ground for video.
This offers new opportunities for broadcasters. “CBS is now working with YouTube and has uploaded some 300 shows on the same day as they air on TV. These are long form shows, as long as thirty minutes. For some late night shows this added some 200,000 viewers, which adds 5% to the total audience.” Another example is CurrentTV, a regular television channel which uses about 30% of user generated content in its programming. A special feature on the channel is Google News, on top of the hour and on the half hour, which brings the news stories that people have searched for on the web. The news as decided by the viewer rather than the editors.
In the view of Dureau the days of a simple, straightforward EPG are gone. People will need more advanced tools to find their content cross-platform. “At Google we have very little strategic plans, we experiment a lot, but we measure exactly what happens.” cable is very well positioned to take on the roll a binding factor between advertisers, viewers and programmers.