After the iPod, await the age of the video pod

CANNES: The future holds opportunities of connecting to audiences in unimaginable ways through content that is more personal and more meaningful for the consumer.

That was Dawn Airey, managing director Sky networks, BSkyB, UK giving her take during one of Tuesday's keynote addresses 'Fast Forward to TV in 2015.'

Suffice to say that Indiantelevision.com remains skeptical of crystal ball gazing, more so where technologies are involved. Fortunately though, Airey's address was grounded in the present so there was still enough one could take away from it, more so since the subjects covered were in a way an extension of what had been discussed earlier during the session on 'Interactive Advertising, Current Successes and Opportunities in the On-Demand World.'

So what is the brave new world according to Airey? The obvious one, of course, is that viewers will have the option of choosing from multilinear plotlines for various shows much the same way as is already happening in a big way in the gaming world. Drama is where the story of the future of interactive TV might well be scripted. That will be the biggest change because what drives interactivity today is unscripted shows (as in reality TV) and not in scripted programming.

And just as Apple's iPod has become a must-have accessory for today's cool dudes, tomorrow it will be the videopod and other new wave tech advances that take centrestage.

Another obvious is that the linear programming schedules, that define TV viewing today, will in disappear in a large part. Except in the case of live events (sports, in particular) as well as for breaking news stories. Sports will continue to lend itself to community viewing (as in at the pub with the lads to watch a soccer match for instance). But otherwise TV will be all about time shift so that content (in customised packages) will be available 'whatever, whenever, wherever' the consumer wants.

And it will be channels that get higher ratings from viewers on the convenience/ quality/ control (in terms of choices) will come out on the winning side, Airey says.

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