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Wake up call for broadcasters: Jain, Kalle

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MUMBAI: "My time is prime time. Today consumers want to watch television at their own time, place and convenience. The scenario is moving from a phase when the broadcaster used to define prime time? now it's the consumer who takes the call," said The Walt Disney Company India managing director Rajat Jain.

Jain attributed this phenomenon to the changing times, dynamic technology, the changing consumer, changing media scenario and rise in consumer friendly technological devises.
He also stressed on the three screens that will gain importance in the future: television, mobile and computer. "India has 80 million phones, 37.5 million internet and broadband users, 4.3 million computer and 473,000 laptops. The buying power among Indians is also on the rise and there is an emergence of a new tribe 'Technobabies' who are born to be wired and tech savvy. They do their homework online and also buy CDs and books online," he said.

Jain reiterated the point that technologies like IPTV, DTH, TiVo and broadband will make the environment more dynamic with interactivity coming in. He gave examples of BBC and ITV teaming up in a "multicasting" trial to broadcast their main channels over the Internet for the first time.

Jain emphasized on the breakthrough iPod technology, wherein television shows could be downloaded on the iPod for 99 cents. However, Sony Pictures Television International vice president international networks Superna Kalle pointed out that while it was brilliant that people were downloading and watching shows on the iPod; but it also meant that they were not watching them on their television sets and hence broadcasters and advertisers were both losing out. "These disruptive technologies are reshaping the broadcast landscape. Broadcasters have to rethink their strategy," Kalle emphasized.

She further added, "Channel brands do not matter anymore as most people in the US are using the TiVo technology where you can zap ads and watch what you want to watch. It is the shows that are becoming a brand now."

Kalle also pointed out the various opportunities in digital broadcast. "Do not alienate existing audiences but continue to march towards the inevitable future. Each approach requires a different device and each changes viewers in a different way. Emerging digital technologies can be an opportunity or a threat for broadcasters," she concluded.

"Consumers today want seamless availability of content for their personalized viewing. They want control over time and place of viewing content and pay per view could well be the new norm in the near future," Jain said.

He signed off by quoting The Walt Disney Company CEO Robert Iger as saying, "Technology also powers creativity and innovation. Across our company, we are using technology to improve our product and remain on the leading edge of entertainment offerings. We firmly believe in a platform agnostic approach to distribution. Applying technology to enhance our content and extend its distribution enables us to get closer to our increasingly more sophisticated customers worldwide."

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