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TV 2020: No DVR, on-demand and watched solo

What will TV be like in 2020? According to a panel of experts from YouTube, Scripps, AT&T and Ericsson it will be without a home DVR, on-demand and a solo experience. Will it still be called TV?

Ericsson’s Simon Frost led out the discussion with a vision of the world in 2020. He said that by 2020 we will be living in the network society. 50B connected devices will be in the world with 15B of them video enabled. Of course, this will be far more devices than people, emphasizing the move to connect many of the devices that typically aren’t connected today. You can hear Mr. Frost talk about his presentation at the end of this posting or head straight there by clicking here.

Mr. Frost also forecast that we will be watching as much content on-demand as with linear television in 2020. My forecast suggests this may even be conservative. Looking at the growth rate of Netflix over the last few years, it is likely that the company will have 200M subscribers in 2020. Given that the company shows no sign of introducing linear viewing, it should be a big contributor to this transition.

In the panel discussion, each participant struck a slightly different note in their view of TV 2020. When I asked Channing Dawson of Scripps about how mobile devices would change the companies approach in 2020, he said tablets and smartphones already were. He mentioned that 60-70% of TV-Everywhere viewing was via tablets already, though he noted that today 93% of everything Scripps produces is seen by viewers through linear channels.

GW Shaw of AT&T said that there would still be a strong demand for the lean-back experience. Much of the viewing would continue to be through the TV. He also noted that ads today are still very inefficient and that by 2020 many of them would be much more highly targeted.

I asked Francisco Varela of YouTube about something he had said at TV Connect in the UK last month. He mentioned that the company needed to do better with their TV interfaces. He said by 2020 the company would we a strong force at the television providing much better recommendations and targeting content to the individual.

On one thing, everyone was in agreement: the home DVR would be dead by 2020. However, the need for the functionality will not go away. The DVR will simply migrate to the cloud. This is just a sampling of the varied and insightful comments from the panel. NAB will be publishing a recording of the panel which I will make available here as soon as it is available.

I interviewed Simon Frost about the panel immediately after the event. That short discussion is included below.
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