London Media Summit

I attended the London Media Summit at the London Business School today.  There were the usual suits and corporate promos but, somewhat surprisingly, there was a series of excellent discussions around encouraging and managing creativity in the media and PVRs/DVRs and the impact they will have for consumers and producers.
Some of the key points were made by Brian Sullivan, Director of New Products at Sky especially on the impact of PVRs where he said:
* All PVRs or DVRs are not the same.  Sky+ differs from Tivo in, for example, the way it integrates with the existing EPG and such differences with features and functions mean that each PVR will engender a different type of experience and therefore, use.
* Social changes are occuring – it is now rare to have family, or collective, viewing of TV.  You are also seeing people watching smaller chunks of television but which adds up to the same weekly amount as previously [it has only risen by around 2% since the Second World War!].
* The main way in which PVRs change user behaviour is in short term timeshifting of content
* The type of content affects the way in which it is viewed and time-shifted [‘live’ time sensitive content like news and sport is rarely timeshifted as it loses its value and there are lots of competing sources for this info; series are more likely to be watched in a PVR household as it reduces the commitment needed to watch the episodes – you can record the programmes if you are likely to be out – but this is dependent on the frequency of the show – if it is daily you are unlikely to timeshift beyond 30mins or so because it impacts upon other viewing in the available time before the subsequent episode e.g. eastenders or coronation street]
* Subscibers are very happy with the Sky+ product – giving it a 8-10 rating.  The key here is that two thirds are increasigly valuing the underlying pay TV product – thus decreasing the churn rate and keeping up Sky’s income and decreasing costs of maintaining existing clients.
* The key to the success of the Sky+ product is its seemless integration with the existing EPG – you do not know the PVR is there!  Whereas with other PVR/DVRs you use their proprietory EPG – thus you have to get to know another navigation system beyond the one you ordinarily use [freeview; Sky; Cable].
* 62% watch live content through the PVR meaning that 38% of content is recorded [time-shifted to some extent].