All change please!

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If proof were needed that the media landscape has changed/is changing forever, the end of 2017 has given us perhaps the clearest indication yet: Rupert Murdoch possibly about to sell most of his film and TV interests.

This has of course made headlines everywhere, with Disney reportedly in the frame (no pun intended) and, if that fails, then Comcast looks like it might also be interested. Although Murdoch would be left with Fox News, Fox Sports and the Fox TV network, if the news stories are accurate, a deal of this nature would represent the end of an era.

This is about scale and being able to compete with the so-called “FAANGs”: Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix and Google. Dominic Rushe and Edward Helmore, writing in UK Sunday newspaper The Observer, say, “A sale at $60bn (£45bn) would leave the family, whose fortune is already valued by Forbes at $14bn, wealthy for the ages. But the sale also looks an admission of defeat.”

Putting it into context – and as most of you are doubtless aware – Apple has upwards of $270bn in cash outside the US, waiting to repatriate it when it feels the tax rate is low enough. Meanwhile, the FAANGs are all heavily involved in video and becoming more so; for Netflix it’s of course its whole business.

We are witnessing the changing of the guard and where this all ends up is anyone’s guess.. For consumers, the market is a mess. Speaking personally, my Mother recently requested a Netflix subscription for Xmas. I explained that it isn’t a direct replacement for her (and my) beloved Love Film DVD postal rental service. That had somewhere near 100,000 titles, including the joyously obscure. Netflix doesn’t. I then also had to explain that Netflix is only one of several when it comes to films. And then there’s the OTT TV services…It was a tricky conversation.

Of course, over time consolidation will occur but for now, the consumer is being bamboozled. Trying to find content that you want is at best a frustrating experience, at worst a trawl through multiple services, united in their inability to provide a decent GUI. Amazon Video, really? That’s the best you can do?

Universal search functionality would be hugely beneficial, giving us the ability to search linear and non-linear content in one go. A pipedream? Maybe, but we all can dream.

Back to Murdoch. Even seasoned analysts have been taken aback by this possible sale. But the internet is king now and Murdoch has never been a web guru in any way.

SMPTE makes IP progress while HDR HD maybe more viable than 4K HDR

A couple of quick technology points before we wish those of you who celebrate merry festivities. We have written several blogs that have touched on the subject of the transition to IP (the last here) and while the topic may be in danger of becoming a little staid, its importance can’t be ignored. Rather than repeat what our friends at Rascular said in a recent blog, you can read it here. Interesting stuff.

Lastly, 4K. While there are some sectors – sports, OTT productions – where 4K has gained a foothold, one can hardly describe it as having mass market appeal at this point. But what about HDR HD? Some are now beginning to argue that in the short/medium term, that might have more appeal. Just a thought.

And on that note, Happy Christmas and New Year!  See you in 2018, when of course we’ll be here to help you with all your communications needs. Until then…