Broadcast TV is not about to perish but interactivity will assume an important role. Edited by Mairi Clark

Broadcast TV is not about to perish but interactivity will assume an

important role. Edited by Mairi Clark

Will Internet services eventually replace broadcast TV?

The Internet could only replace broadcast TV if it offered the same

thing better or cheaper. Whether it is better or cheaper is a moot

point, however, because it is definitely not the same thing. The

Internet has many strengths, entertainment not among them. The

technology is improving fast, but no amount of squeezing signals down

phone lines will make the Internet a credible alternative to TV. We

spend three- and-a-half hours a day watching television, for the

pleasure of high-quality, passive, shared, entertainment. If anyone has

spent three- and-a-half hours actively enjoying themselves on the

Internet, they should think themselves lucky that their secure hospital

is so well-equipped.

Andy McIntosh

Consumers have always been drawn to content that interests them, TV

didn’t make radio obsolete and home video didn’t make cinema obsolete.

Interactive services will not replace broadcast TV - but live alongside

it. Consumers want to try out the interactive services, but if new media

owners want to ensure that their audience’s experiences with these

services meet expectations and are anything less than transient, the

challenge is to create loyalty through an experience and innovative

content that at least matches that of other established media channels.

Ajaz Ahmed, director, AKQA

Ever wondered if people asked whether TV would replace radio in the

past? You bet they did. As each new medium has been introduced there has

always been a camp evangelising its potential to change communications

and another dismissing it as a fad. Both have normally been wrong.

Interactivity is not a panacea which will improve every type of media

experience. There are pleasures to be gained from passive experiences

such as watching broadcast TV and listening to the radio. Interactive

services will come to play an increasing part in our lives and broadcast

services will remain.

James Tarin, interactive communications director, Chilcott Le Fevre


Today’s PC-using surfers are generally intolerant of advertising on the

Web. At best it is seen to be irrelevant and at worst it is an obstacle.

In the living room, however, people are more relaxed and are generally

receptive to TV-based advertising. Far from sitting in a brave new world

of Internet-connected PCs, tomorrow’s successful interactive advertising

will complement traditional broadcast media and be TV-based. Interactive

services will be available as just another channel, and successful

advertisers will persuade users to interact with broadcast ads by

briefly switching channels and sending a response. They will augment

their campaign further by placing additional ads on a multimedia CD that

plays to the TV, and having the user select those ads interactively on

dates that tie in with the broadcast.

Andrew Orange, managing director, CD-online

Digital technology will change the face of television. Eventually over

40 million UK TV sets will need either set-top boxes or in-built

decoders to access a proliferation of channels, including interactive

services. Already, interactivity in varying forms of sophistication is

here: Two Way TV enables Midlands homes to participate in quiz shows,

while 90,000 cable subscribers can watch Videotron’s interactive

channel. But will all this squeeze out broadcast television? Not

everyone will want to join in: some consumers won’t be able to afford

to, others will prefer not to. Many will want the sense of shared

experience which broadcast television provides. The appeal of the

broadcast experience will remain - the Cup Final or a Coronation Street

wedding, for example. The difference is some of us will have the choice

of six angles from which to view the goals, or ordering online a replica

wedding dress.

Nigel Sheldon, J. Walter Thompson,