The number of people watching TV shows online via subscription services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Instant Video and catch-up has increased dramatically in the last few years. This has led a huge number of broadcasters to look at changing their approach and being more digitally oriented. The internet has become integral to the success of broadcasters but it is a careful balancing act determining what content should be made available online and what should be broadcast as usual.
BBC is just one of the established providers that are being forced to adapt. Their iPlayer is a useful service and has been enhanced by the decision to move the BBC3 TV channel online. The move was a relatively easy one because all of the programming was suitable for an internet audience. It is trickier with other channels such as BBC1 and BBC2 for example because the programmes on these channels appeal to traditional offline audiences. Finding a suitable strategy is difficult and can prove to be very costly.
The original idea the BBC had was for a Digital Media Initiative which would digitise a huge volume of archived content that could then be uploaded and made accessible to internet users. The plan was abandoned in 2013 because of a number of mistakes and errors. The original investment was worth £125.9 million. When it was scrapped it left a net loss of £98.4 million.
The mistakes with the Digital Media Initiative haven’t deterred the BBC, though; instead they have forced them to refocus their plans. Chief technology officer Matthew Postgate claims that over the next five years the corporation will actively seek to put foundations in place for them to be internet first in the future. This will include making more of the programming portfolio relevant for the internet age. It is hoped that the result will be a dynamic broadcaster with a successful on-air and online strategy.
The internet is certainly integral to the success of broadcasters in the future. The importance should drive technological development and will also bring designs forward as people look for the best way to deliver content. The future for the industry is set to be an exciting one filled with challenges and new competitors.