MIPCOM 2014: What do buyers want in 4K?


MUMBAI: 4K is on everyone’s mind. Even when Indian direct to home (DTH) players, Videocon d2h and Tata Sky launched their 4K set top boxes (STBs), everyone questioned if there was enough content available in 4K. The same was discussed even at the just concluded MIPCOM 2014 at Cannes in the session ‘What do buyers want in 4K?’

The session which saw Sky Deutschland EVP programming Gary Davey, France Télévisions director of future media Eric Scherer, Atlantic Productions director of operations Ruth Sessions and Red Bull Media House head of commercial distribution Bernhard Hafenscher speaking on the issue which was moderated by journalist & industry consultant Chris Forrester.

Talking about the general prospect for 4K in the world, Davey said that a platform like Sky Deutschland is excited about the sea change that content is set to witness. “We will be very active on 4K. While we haven’t decided a launch date as yet, we are committed to it,” said Davey.

What is interesting is that the take-up for 4K has outperformed even high definition (HD). So, is it the broadcasting push, the industry push or the consumer pull? Said Davey, “According to me, people just love the idea of big screen viewing with higher resolution.”

For Sessions, content creators today are telling stories for multiple platforms and so a lot of them are filming it in 4K. Atlantic Productions has been filming in 4K for the past four years. “We have always been hungry for resolution and I believe in future proofing. So for the right projects, where we thought that stories that we are saying today will be relevant for the next 10-15 years, we film in 4K,” said Sessions adding that stories benefit when told in 4K.

Television today has the risk of being over passed by new barbarians-Netflix and by millennial kids. “France TV too, have decided to test with 4K,” added Scherer.

During the discussion, one thing which came out clearly was that it is sports and sports events which will be most important in 4K. “People can become a part of the sport, when they watch it in 4K. Once the market grows, we will have a lot of content in 4K,” said Hafenscher.

The other content created in 4K will include high end documentary movies and arts content. “You have to pick the projects for 4K. It needs to mean something and add value,” informed Davey.

In 3D and 4K quality, there is a lot of information in every shot. “There is so much going on in the image, because of the depth,” said Sessions.

While content creators are excited about filming in 4K, the extremely high production cost is what keeps them on their toes. “The cost depends on the category of the content. It is expensive, but not multiple of costs. The cost increases also because of multiple use of cameras,” informed Scherer.

So will 4K percolate to broadcasters? “It will take a little longer than people expect. For a long time, we will be cherry picking the content in 4K. In fact all the promise that ultra HD had made has not been realised as yet,” informed Davey.

According to the panel, in the next five years, the world could see two-three 4K channels, which would start as special events and then move to a full-fledged channel.

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