Friday, 25 May 2012

Serendipity and the art of channel hopping

With thanks to Adrian Scott for initially posting it - A refresh of BBC's TV channel home pages Like everyone who reads it, for me the phrase 'serendipitous discovery' tends to jump out of the page. TV seems to be following the rest of the media industry - music is ahead of the curve - of consumers needing trusted 'gatekeepers' to sift through the sheer volume of content available. Whether that's the cloud, social media, or an 'authoritative' source like a magazine seems to be up to them. For me, as soon as I subscribed to Prog magazine and SFX, I saw an immediate uptick in my music and book purchases (which given the newly freelance status qualifies as bad timing, methinks).

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Digesting the Future

This week, Geneva hosted what has to be one of the most interesting set of debates in the broadcast industry for ages: namely the SMPTE & EBU Emerging Technologies Forum. While there’s always a slight sense of theologians debating the number of angels that can dance on the head of a pin about these things – not to mention the problems of the technological deterministic mindset that tends to dominate when propeller-heads/beakers/boffins/call ‘em what you will all get together – some interesting stuff emerged.

The full dissection is over on the SMPTE Blog page maintained for this event by the ever-excellent Dick Hobbs, but here’s a quick bullet-pointed dissection of what we learned:

  • Rights are going to be a significant problem moving forward into the multiscreen era
  • Some random tech advances courtesy of Moore’s law (or at least a bastardisation thereof): 50bn connected devices by 2020; 18 stops of latitude; higher framerates; Super Hi-Vision (which is itself developing a 120fps signal) still on track for broadcast by 2020.
  • Kids simply do not have TVs in their bedrooms anymore
  • By 2015, 90% of all network traffic will be video. So codec improvement is an absolute necessity
  • A regular movie is now delivered in 200 different versions
  • Peter Hinssen, Across Technology: Although we feel we are immersed in digital technology today, we are only half way there, in the mid-point of the s-curve. As we cross into the second part of the digital s-curve we will start to talk about the benefits, not the features. Then it will become the new normal.

  • And, perhaps most importantly, Brigitta’s Five Laws of the Future should be enshrined and chanted by the audience at the start of any such future events:
  1. Anyone who claims to understand the future is either a multimillionaire or a charlatan
  2. We do not over-rate the rapidity of innovations, we under-rate it
  3. Public service broadcasting will continue to exist, but only if it develops from programme production to multimedia content production
  4. Necessary change is not dependent on technical facilities but on the ability of change management
  5. We as the decision-making group risk underestimate the impact of innovations because we are out of touch with the next generation – (Brigitta Nickelsen, Radio Bremen)

Thursday, 3 May 2012

IBC = I'm Back, Chaps

Is very happy to announce, that a whole three days after going freelance again, he's been appointed Managing Editor for this year's IBC Daily News. If past years are anything to go by - and I have done this before - that's some of June, most of July and *all*, but I mean *all*, of August accounted for. Then there's the actual show itself... It's a big gig, it's a demanding gig, but it's also a very good one, not least because a) you read everything in the magazine and thus, for a week or so only, have almost perfect knowledge of the entire broadcast industry, b) you get to see so many industry friends and colleagues in the Daily newsroom, and c) you get to work as a team with some great people producing something quite spectacular under huge pressure...and then, like true freelancers, scuttle off home again to your normal hermetic existence. See you in Amsterdam...In 125 days to be precise.

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Freelance again

After just over a year spent helping launch the sports broadcasting organisation SVG Europe, have decided to go back to freelancing again with immediate effect. 1st May? Hard to pick a better date...Oh, and sorry about the pic - couldn't resist.