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Last Updated: Monday, 27 November 2006, 06:08 GMT
Future of TV: The video-on-demand guru
BT Vision chief executive Dan Marks
Dan Marks is leading BT's launch into the TV market
BT is preparing to enter the TV market with the launch of a video-on-demand service, BT Vision.

Viewers will receive TV channels through a Freeview receiver as well as programmes and films on demand through a broadband connection. Dan Marks is the chief executive of BT Vision.

How will we be watching TV in 10 years?

TV is likely to mean something slightly different. Let's say - how will we be accessing our entertainment and communication needs in 10 years time?

It's likely to be from a wider variety of devices in and out of the home. That's key to it - at the moment there's one device, the television set, which dominates the consumption of entertainment but does a relatively limited number of things - it delivers linear channels.

There's another device [the computer], which is in a different place in the home, which doesn't deliver linear channels very well and isn't really in a place where people want to consume entertainment. But it does interactivity and data rather well.

And I think in 10 years time you'll see those two functions come much closer together.

What does the future hold for the traditional TV channel?

I think they have a future in the medium term - there will always be a place for time-sensitive entertainment and information. But as networks become more sophisticated and more interactive, and devices become more capable, so there will be less and less importance and value placed on the schedule.

Channels are entertainment brands - they help customers make purchasing decisions or viewing decisions. They give customers a sense of what to expect and of quality, and they are a helping hand through an enormous surfeit of choice.

So entertainment brands are going to survive - the question is which ones and what will they be delivering? I don't think they will only be delivering linear programming in 10 years time - they'll be delivering a whole load of other services.

Will TV programmes be changed by how we watch them?

I can think of some programming that won't change at all - football programming is going to look like football programming. But I think the addition of these interactive functions will allow communities to share football experiences much more easily and will allow them to transact and do a whole range of other things very easily.

Now, those things are rather difficult. You can watch the game on one box, you can buy the tickets on another box and you can listen to the game when you're out of the house on another box. And you bring those three things together.

There are other formats where there's a much greater likelihood that the fundamental experience will be changed.

In non-fiction programming, in particular programming that has an education aspect, the ability to go backwards and forwards between data and video, in and out of communities, talk to people at the same time as watching, could change formats.

How will the viewing experience and viewing habits change?

The living room is a place where family activities take place and people watch the television there quite a lot during the day. I'm not sure that all of those statements are going to stay true for 10 or 20 years, but for the medium term I think they will stay true.

Most people are going to do most of their television watching on their television set in their living room and what we're doing in BT Vision is making the television set much more versatile and much more intelligent.

What role will user-generated video play in mainstream viewing?

We're starting to see a continuum of types of programming - from mainstream at one end to user-generated content at the other. And in the middle there is what you might call niche programming.

There will be some crossovers but I suspect user-generated content will spawn so-called professional content, that so-called professional content will dissolve and fragment into niche content and eventually into user-generated content and you'll get a much richer ecology of programming types.




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