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The Future of Linear TV and Being Present

The Future of Linear TV and Being Present

The Future of Linear TV and Being Present inexorably linked? It’s far enough away from the new year for all those resolutions to start failing! Have you been writing journals, meditating, and giving thanks during your brain dump? Yes, the idea of being present is big business, an app-driven online antidote to overusing social media and drifting off into a virtual unreality of detachment. Always ironic that 90% of the marketing for these journals, even the paper ones, are all through social media!
What has The Future of Linear TV and Being Present got to do with each other? There was a fascinating article in Broadcast LINK setting out the move to an online-only future and if and when we switch off linear TV for good. 

BBC director general Tim Davie laid out the future of TV at an RTS event on 7 December last year, at least in BBC terms. The DG warned the market will shift towards an internet-first future by 2030, leading to switching off many linear TV and radio channels.
“A switch-off of broadcast will and should happen over time, and we should be active in planning for it,” he said. Furthermore, he added: “We are working on how an online BBC could be the best version of the BBC, shaped around people’s interests and needs – a daily partner to your life, bringing the BBC together in a single offer with personalised combinations.”

As a lover of live directing, I hope, actually I know, there will always be a place for live as-it-happens content, even if it is delivered over the internet as a live stream. I know from my show Good Game Asia that streaming is a part of the esports gaming and lifestyle vlogging ecosystem.

I want to go more into the philosophical argument for linear TV. Television schedules have long timetabled our lives. I recall the rush home twice a week to catch Blue Peter and reports of empty streets as the final episode of the original prime suspect was shown. 

I predicted event TV or an appointment to view TV at a talk and the Royal Institute many years ago. At the time, I thought live entertainment was critical to broadcasters’ future in a growing social media presence. The idea of FOMO, I have a new acronym, FOSMS, Fear Of Social Media Spoilers, i.e. if you don’t watch Love Island, all your friends will be talking about the latest bombshell of dumping. So we timetable our lives, making space for the event, which we can share with friends and family in real time.

When the Queen’s died, we all came together on TV to share the experience with wall-to-wall live coverage on all the channels. This week we all share the grief of a family enduring the nightmare of a missing person. It is an event the whole country seems to be talking about; although one of my disconnected children walked into a news broadcast this morning oblivious to the story,

This brings me to the connection—the idea of being present. Should we all be present as we go through the current strife of strikes by essential services, government scandals, and the war in Ukraine? Isn’t that what linear TV brings us? Even while watching recording programmes, there’s still a feeling that we could get a “we interrupt this programme” announcement. We are present and connected. There’s also a practical consideration; it is easier to hack the internet that an entire broadcast network.

So is linear TV coming to an end? Are we going to see the delivery of linear TV through the internet? Given the security issue, should we maintain digital broadcasting? Is there a new technology that can deliver this as a backup to the internet?

Then there’s the social angle of the structure—the timetabling of our lives. We eat and then sit down to “Strictly” or revise until 9 when we chill watching “Love Island.” Meals and eating together have passed as typical times to be present in family life. Some families can unite around sporting events.

How will the demise of linear timetabled TV impact our ability to be present? When first contact happens, where do we go to experience the landing? Suppose there is another pandemic; how do we all connect for those briefings, even if we return to social media to discuss? 

I suppose I am asking, “where is the community?” the conduit for community communication.

One hundred years ago, it was the BBC, one community for those able to afford a television.

Then D.E.R. gave us TV rentals, and mass access to TVs became a reality. It wasn’t long before big business cottoned on the captive nature of the audience, advertising became TV’s paymaster, and independent commercial broadcasting was born. We had two communities, BBC and ITV, and then other channels joined; other platforms came about through BSB and then Sky with yet more separated communities. However, there was a common thread in all these communities; they were on all the time and simultaneously. Next came the Streamers – Netflix, Amazon, Apple, Disney etc. Now we have entertainment anytime, anyplace. At the moment, we still have 24-hour linear news and broadcasters. Our goto places during times of trouble, national grief or celebration. But we have many communities to serve through groups on social media. In some cases, small groups.

We still need the comfort of one place of safety, a place of trust with no barriers to entry and no passwords or subscriptions to join. As the zombies run wild, before the power cuts out forever, I want to hear Hugh Edwards telling all my neighbours and me to lock the doors and keep quiet. Then I believe we will have a fighting chance of survival.

Jonathan Glazier: TV Director, Executive Producer, Lecturer at University for the Creative Arts. Former Head of BBC Light Entertainment and International Formats, MD FoxWorld TV UK. Creative Director at Talent TV, Creative Director Endemol Asia.

You can find me on social media at.

https://linktr.ee/JonathanGlazier

Pro social media

https://www.linkedin.com/in/jonathanglazier/

“Are Subscriptions Worth the Price?”

New Blog Post

Are Subscriptions Worth the Price? In recent years, streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, Apple Plus, and Disney have become a staple in households worldwide. However, as the cost of living continues to rise, more and more people are finding themselves forced to cut back on subscriptions, including those for streaming services.

The Cost over Value

  1. Netflix: offers a wide range of TV shows and movies, and is a great option for those who enjoy binge-watching. Netflix has three subscription plans, starting at $8.99 per month, $13.99 per month, and $17.99 per month.
  2. Amazon Prime: This streaming service is a great option for those who enjoy a mix of TV shows and movies, and who want additional benefits from their subscription. Amazon Prime costs $12.99 per month or $119 per year. This subscription includes access to Amazon’s Prime Video library as well as other benefits such as free shipping and early access to Amazon deals.
  3. Apple Plus: This streaming service is an excellent option for Apple users who want access to Apple’s original content and other services. It doesn’t have a vast selection of original material like Netflix and Amazon, but what it does have is pure quality. Apple Plus costs $4.99 per month and offers original content, movies, and TV shows.
  4. Disney: It includes access to Disney’s vast library of films and TV shows, including Star Wars, Marvel, and Pixar titles. This streaming service is perfect for families and for those who love Disney’s content. Disney costs $6.99 per month and offers access to Disney’s extensive library of movies and TV shows, as well as original content.

The Choice

While these streaming services offer a variety of content for viewers, their high monthly or annual cost can be prohibitive for many people, especially during a cost-of-living crisis. It’s important to weigh the cost of a subscription against the value it provides, as well as considering alternative options such as sharing accounts with friends or family, or choosing one or two services instead of subscribing to all of them. Ultimately, the decision to continue or cancel a subscription will depend on each individual’s financial situation and entertainment preferences.

In conclusion

So are subscriptions worth the price? Yes, but in moderation. If you only watch Ted Lasso on Apple plus, you are not getting Value for money. Disney is an excellent option if you have kids. The hard choice is between Netflix and Amazon; my advice is, to be honest, are you a Netflix person or an Amazon person? I think we are all a bit of both. I would probably subscribe to Amazon prime regardless of their video offering; if you are a regular online shopper it makes sense to pay fro free delivery alone.

The Future of TV

TV but not as we know it

So what is the future of TV as we know it?

Many years ago at the Royal Institute, I said that broadcasting would centre around live appointment to view tv, so a reduction in recorded programmes, particularly entertainment shows. That has happened, most of our Saturday night shows now have big live shows as part of the format. I also predicted that MIMO and FOMO would become significant components in scheduling strategy. Today if you don’t actually watch Love Island you “Miss It and Miss Out” and that fear drives views. Obviously, because social media will be full of spoilers, viewers have to watch, the “Fear of Missing Out” is real. Now streaming is shaping the future of TV. More significantly, where advertisers spend their money is changing the face of TV.

Will broadcast TV survive? That’s an interesting question. The big difference between broadcast and on-line was the linear schedule versus the on-demand of on-line, but we now see more live event streaming. The appointment to view has crossed into the on-line world with my daughters making a note of the expected upload of the next Sam and Colby video on youtube.

There’s a debate about sVoD against aVoD. sVoD is, of course, the Netflix subscription Video on Demand model while aVoD is the ad-funded model of youTube. All these services are known as “OTT”; Over The Top as in over the traditional TV services. The demographics of the viewer dictate the type of business model. Subscriptions are relatively high and tend to be funded from the Bank of Mum and Dad. That’s where the younger viewers tend to get their access to SVoD while preferring the content on the aVoD platforms

.All of this is bad for traditional broadcasters unless they can migrate their offering to some kind of OTT platform they will be doomed. In the UK, we are seeing the emergence of the ITV hub, which is a offers both ad-funded content and subscription services. Youtube is actually doing the same, you can free your self of the adverts by paying a subscription. Apple, of course, offers the PPV, pay per view.

Traditionally content providers got the cost of making the content plus a fee, and in the UK they kept (past tense is intentional) or shared the IP or intellectual rights. This meant they were free to resell the material and develop secondary revenue streams. However, Netflix keeps the rights, they have to, the content sits on their platform across the world for years. Any secondary use of the content threatens their business model. This means they have to develop healthy margins allowing a worthwhile production fee. They also have to build great relationships with their producers, and they are doing this and doing it well.

If I were in the business of making TVs or if I were a broadcaster or channel owner I’d be worried. If I were a traditional platform owner like Sky or Astro I’d be super concerned. Why pay $60 minimum for a cable or satellite service? Incidentally, I have always found “cable cutting” a bit of a strange phrase in the UK. We never really had cable TV, going instead straight to satellite which of course has no cable.

Eventually, Satellite TV will cease. Traditional Broadcasters will continue the move on-line. Even though the BBC is protected from the uncertainty of ad dollar funding because of the licence fee. It will come under pressure, and the licence fee will have to evolve. We need to keep the BBC as is; let’s keep one part of our life in national ownership. Not allowing it to descend into the hell of dumbed-down commercialism. iPlayer will see the BBC continue in some form, but we need to explore how we pay for it.

The future of TV content is excellent, we will all just be watching using different forms of delivery. The cable and satellite services will be the first to go, There will be heavy competition for our subscriptions, but the consumer will dictate the market. I don’t want to be paying out for three or four services because the content is fragmented across platforms and providers, Disney ITV HUB, Netflix Amazon etc.

I think to ensure their TV business stay relevant, the manufacturers will do a basket deal. All the VoD’s will offer the services for a one-off payment through on their smart TVs, that’s the future of TV. Mobile will do the same through the handset manufacturers.

As for Advertising, I hope it dies a death as we all move onto influencer marketing. Youtube is about to be overshadowed by Tic Toc. And we will all wake up to the fact that get rich schemes are a giant scam, and social media will face a crisis of funding.

Jonathan Glazier

Creative executive & multi-camera director in digital and television media, Consulting with and inspiring teams to reach their creative potential.

Elitism, is IP a thing anymore, for that matter, are TV formats a thing anymore?

Jonathan Glazier Formats and IP

Interesting I choose to write this on the day we hear ITV Studios has acquired Armaoza Formats, I wonder why… not why I’m writing but why the takeover? Is the format business as active as it once was? Or has the format fever just reverted into business as usual? Are MIP and MIPcom just getting smaller because of prohibitive costs and the Amazon effect of the internet with everyone, media buyers included, operating using their mobile while watching C21screeners and reading K7media reports?


Fremantle and Endemolshine are restructuring, otherwise known as downsizing, there have been precious few breakout hits showing any signs of longevity. Sure Love Island is doing the rounds, and The Singer is enjoying a flurry of sales but will we see a return to the days of Millionaire and Weakest Link taking millions. Yes, we all point to Got Talent, X factor and The Voice as being international successes, but in real terms, T.V. viewing is old hat, figures are down everywhere. If the floods of climate change don’t get them first, the next audience is stuck in Tic Toc land glued to influencers the rest of us have never heard of, unless we are down with the kids.

So are Apps the new Formats? Do we need a coded interactive thing with filters and followers, something that mums and dads think is the devils’ work and should be banned because it turns brains to mush and is a paedophiles paradise? One thing is for sure the bottom has dropped out of the Format lecture circuit, those of us that made some cash on the side exporting our early adopter knowledge haven’t been booked for a while. Try telling a Korean T.V. executive they need a workshop, they bled us dry of our expertise and now have shown the world they can do Formats as well.

There’s a market for selling intel ask K7media, freshly expanded into new offices in central Manchester, red phone box and all. The only trade on information today is about who is doing what and where. Netflix has bumped the holy grail of I.P. ownership into touch, sell a fact ent to discovery and that a worldwide sale so no secondary stream there. So there may be more content being watched, more opportunity to find a home for our content than ever, but how do we make it pay our mortgages?

The SVoD was thought to have been the opening up of a route to the audience free of the traditional gatekeepers, of course, all we have is new gatekeepers. Its the BarcroftTV model that is really bucking the trend, doing what Jon de Mol failed to do, creating a content model that self publishes to your tube and makes the finances work. Like JOnwhoi tried to own the production house and channel. Isn’t that a tradition broadcaster anyway? When the BBC started a producer would walk up to the controllers’ office and say, “I’ve found two comedians doing the circuit can we give them a T.V. show?” controller says yes and Morecambe and Wise are born. Peter Kosminsky thinks SVoD’s have created hyperinflation in drama, and that will eventually drive drama out of PSB’s (he means the BBC). Paying 7 figures an Episode where the BBC can just scrape together the low 6s. Incidentally, if the latest sci-fi outing of AnotherLife is an example of this great new drama explosion, we are doomed.


All of which brings me back to my initial thought, is I.P. a thing anymore? Well, it should be a thing, a person who creates something should keep a portion of the rights; otherwise, we are going to be left without incentive. It’s more a question of what is that I.P. is worth. As the audiences broaden worldwide and SVod’s and subtitles become far more global, we are going to see the multiple income streams from local production diminish. Yes, International versions of shows made for a more traditional broadcaster will, of course, continue to be made. Netflix, Apple and Amazon may carry their own localised versions of shows perhaps geoblocking to provide a more globally segmented offering.

But it could all be to no avail because the clock is Tic Toc ing for this current generation of cord cut natives watching barcroftTV, Vice, Joe media and BBC3,  then the content creators will have truly smashed the grip of this pesky gatekeepers. I was once heavily criticised for having an anarchic view of the “gatekeepers” people said they actually worked with the creators in partnership and I shouldn’t be so critical. I suggest you watch “How to Break into the Elite” on iPlayer. The T.V. industry comes across as one of the worst for a bias toward the upper-middle classes in terms of recruitment not only that it’s an industry rife with nepotism. It’s shocking, and Channel 4 is even worse than the BBC. T.V. is now something to do,  a cool industry. The days of passionate people driven by creativity are gone. I wanted to direct since I was six, an ordinary lad from a single-parent family, state school and dyslexic, thank goodness I had a charming R.P. accent, if I’d have come from South London there’d have been no chance, if I was a PoC totally no chance, unless I was a PoC from Eaton and Oxford. It’s a national disgrace.


Everyone deserves a voice, and we should create a society of equals, with Boris at the helm leading that cabinet we have no chance. We shouldn’t be celebrating equality until we get the first black prime minister from Brixton, state school and with Russell University 1st. The same goes for T.V. until we regain passionate, creative leaders who didn’t just think T.V. was an entry pass to Soho House and a better option than P.R. or the City. I joined T.V. when it was a leveller, it didn’t matter if you were Oxbridge, Eaton or Roundwood Park secondary modern,  we all had a voice, perhaps that’s what made ATV Elstree so very special.

Oh and I.P. is a thing it’s just not worth such a lot, and yes formats are still a thing, we just don’t act like its a British thing thank goodness.

Jonathan Glazier

Executive Producer & Director, Writer and Creator former BBC head of format entertainment.

One Life Two Narratives

Tennis

I’d like to share a recent observation and its relation to false news and modern reporting. In this world of instant narrative commentary being shared to the very palms of consumers, the need for accuracy has never been greater.

The illustration I use is a very simple one and is a result of the recent Wimbledon tennis match between Serena Williams and Alison Riske. Ms Riske was interviewed before the match, it was a really good interview and she came across as an open and engaging young woman. 

She explained how she hated being told to practice and train by her father but was now enjoying the game and her success.  She further explained that her father was ex-secret service on the Presidential detail and had been an FBI investigator. It painted a picture of a strict father, highly self disciplined, and during a discussion about her fiancées first meeting him, potentially quite a daunting man. It was also clear that she has a great relationship with him.

The key piece of information in the context of this piece was she mentioned that as a public servant her dad retired when she was as only five and he was looking for something to fill his time, she became that project.

All of which gave me an interesting and engaging back story to take to the impending match with Ms Williams. As with so many things any engagement with the participants adds to the viewers enjoyment, I know about Ms Williams and now i knew about her opponent.

It was a good match and after a great fight Ms Williams prevailed. I hope Mr Riske was not too hard on his daughters loss as it was excellent performance.

What really interested me was a comment made by the match commentator. He said, 

“of course her dad gave up everything to coach his daughter.” 

This would appear to be mis-interpreted piece of information. It may have come from another source and he was simply repeating what he believed. However, it came to be it gives Ms Riske’s backstory two entirely different angles. One the doting father enduring hardship to coach is daughter, the other a father who having retired early and possibly a bit board had decided, perhaps inspired by Serena’s own story of home schooling and parental coaching, to fashion his daughter into a star of the sport.

These are two entirely different stories, in the grand scheme of things probably only matter to Ms Riske and her immediate friends and family. But imagine if these two narratives were played out during the Bay of Pigs, the current Iran, UK and USA axis of tension, or at any time in the Brexit negotiations. Where a potentially benign situation is made toxic because of simple inaccurate representation of the facts.

As we all share and comment on everything from our best friends last meal, to the resignation of the UK’s ambassador to the USA we need to interrogate our reasoning, our arguments or our interpretation to ensure they represent reality, truth and have integrity. It is time consuming and requires thought in place of a mouse click on share. I fear that thought is being lost as the ease of commentary becomes ever simpler and ultimately thoughtless.