Search and consume way of the future

Below is the article from the Australian referred to by Guy Gadney..

Search and consume way of the future


ipt> Lara Sinclair | April 17, 2008

AUSTRALIA’S media executives are predicting a channel-less media environment that can be searched and consumed on the go, on demand and on a single device, a survey by Media on the eve of the 2020 Summit has found.

Creative Australia
Journalist Mara Blazic, SBS managing director Shaun Brown, Actor Joel Edgerton, Arts guru and corporate financier David Gonski, Musician Paul Grabowski, Comedian Corinne Grant, Writer Marieke Hardy, Actor Hugh Jackman, Actor Claudia Karvan, Director Barrie Kosky, Journalist Ramona Koval, Australian Film, Television and Radio School chief Sandra Levy, Designer Catherine Martin, Producer Hal McElroy, Actor-director John Polson, Media lawyer Ian Robertson, ABC chief Mark Scott, Foxtel chief Kim Williams.

Australia’s future security and prosperity
ABC presenter Geraldine Doogue.

Future directions for the Australian economy
Former Fairfax Media board member Mark Burrows, Finance commentator Paul Clitheroe, Former Fairfax Media chief executive Fred Hilmer, Fairfax Media chief executive David Kirk, Illyria owner Lachlan Murdoch, Austar chief executive John Porter, Former Ninemsn global executive Steve Vamos, Former PBL and Allco Equity chief Peter Yates.

Future of Australian governance News Limited chairman and chief executive John Hartigan, Seven Network chairman Kerry Stokes, Channel 7 freedom of information reporter Michael McKinnon.

Options for the future of Indigenous Australia
Former 60 Minutes journalist Jeff McMullen.

Population, sustainability, climate change and water
IAG community chief and former Optus HR chief Sam Mostyn, Media commentator Bernard Salt.

Strengthening communities, supporting families and social inclusion
Former eBay chief executive Daniel Petre.

Some of Australia’s top media chiefs – many of whom will participate in the Rudd Government’s summit (although media is not a specific discussion topic) – painted the picture of a changed media landscape by 2020.

SBS managing director Shaun Brown said multi-channelling – or the launch of new digital channels by free-to-air television broadcasters – would be “overtaken by on-demand services”.

“I’m of the view channels will be replaced with reservoirs of content from which viewers make choices on a time and platform basis that they identify,” Mr Brown said.

“This will present significant challenges to existing media organisations. Overseas content providers (the BBC, Fox, Warner Bros and even the English Premier League) will launch their own globally accessible content reservoirs, completely bypassing Australian free-to-air and pay aggregators,” he said.

Bernard Salt, another 2020 delegate, media commentator and a partner at KPMG, predicted the characteristics of successful media companies would be “fluidity, immediacy and responsiveness”.

He said Australian media would become more “Asianised” during the next 20 years as Asian media companies wanted to connect with audiences in Australia. “This begins with the cross-fertilisation of talent; Stan Grant, Tracey Holmes, Hugh Riminton and Gordon Elliott being examples of the outflow from Australia,” Mr Salt said. “There are now cross-regional sporting movements with Asia (such as) soccer and even basketball. The continued inflow of Chinese, Malaysian and Vietnamese migrants to Australia sets up the prospect of a cultural linkage that will over time replicate the special linkages that exist between Australia and Italy, as well as Greece and Lebanon.”

Foxtel chief executive Kim Williams said while the media industry would continue to fragment, on-demand and tailored products would be “ever more important”.

He said providing consumers with an easy way to find more personalised media products would be essential.

Goldman Sachs JB Were media analyst Christian Guerra said one device would be used to access phone services, the radio, the internet and video calling.

BigPond group managing director Justin Milne said homes would have “digital connections which will provide an unprecedented array of on-demand and live video, social networking, gaming and communications options”.

Austar chief executive John Porter, who will call on the Government to offer more incentives to companies to set up in regional Australia, predicted a “healthy mix” between on-demand and scheduled media.

“Human behaviour is such that we don’t want to have to make all the decisions,” Mr Porter said.

There was disagreement among executives on how content would be funded in a decade.

While Mr Guerra tipped a free advertising-funded model, Mr Brown said premium content would “command a fee from the consumer”. He said the role of the commercial break as a means of funding content would be “greatly diminished” in favour of pre-roll and mid-roll commercials.

Few commentators would nominate winners or losers during the next decade.

But Fairfax chief executive David Kirk reiterated observations that successful media companies would need to create and aggregate relevant content, own powerful multimedia brands and build new media revenue models.

Steve Vamos, the outgoing Seattle-based vice-president of Microsoft’s Online Services Group, said the winners would behave like “networks that link people across all functions of the business”. “The main players in the industry will remain the same, however their businesses may, and may need to, look quite different,” he predicted.


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