Internet television reality

By Louis Eksteen


Internet television is the next marketing driving force after social. It’s worth remembering television is the original screen. The first screen. Before computer monitors became commonplace, long before the concept of a second (mobile) screen, television (in quaint parlance “the TV set”) ruled the living room. Now internet television is challenging traditional television broadcast models.

Realising your own internet television dream is easier than you think. Many people believe streaming television content such as movies and shows is prohibited by slow internet connections. While it’s true that you need fast internet to stream internet television, an uncapped 4 MB ADSL line or equivalent will probably do the trick.

Fibre-to-the-home (FTTH)

With access to the internet becoming faster and cheaper, your streaming experience will improve over time. MTN’s recent announcement of its massive fibre-to-the-home rollout means 1 GB internet speed could be relatively commonplace soon. With a 1 GB connection, a full HD (1080p) movie can stream, literally, in a couple of minutes.

Driving the adoption of internet television services are over-the-top (OTT) devices such as Apple TV, Roku, Amazon’s Fire TV and even Android TV. These new internet television gadgets allow you to easily (in most cases) access a huge range of content such as movies and shows, all on demand.

Good-bye pay-TV and the video store

You also don’t have to pay a traditional pay television subscription fee, although some provides such as Netflix run a streaming subscription service (much cheaper than traditional pay television). The video store is already a relic of a bygone era.

In addition, you can almost cut out advertising altogether. Streamed shows and movies do not carry advertising, although the picture is different for traditional broadcasters now allowing the streaming of live television. Advertising is the only way free to air traditional television companies can make money, while it’s cream on the top for pay television services.

Adios advertising

Any major shift in how people view television, possibly with limited ability to use traditional interruptive advertising to reach these consumers, will necessarily have a major impact for television advertisers. That’s why many forward-leaning companies and brands are so keen on creating their own high-quality modern marketing campaigns, enabled by content marketing.

It’s got a long way to go, but brand content will over time become the best way for brands to influence purchasing decisions. This is a far cry from interrupting True Detective with supermarket ads.

But not everyone believes internet television will take over. Many traditional television owners argue that the convenience of programming done for consumers will last long into the future. Hence the big fight between interruptive internet television player Aereo (backed by Barry Diller) and the traditional (read: old) broadcast television industry in the US.

Local picture

Locally in South Africa, internet television pure-play startup AlternaTV mainly runs episodic individual videos online, without access to true over-the-top access. But it’s producing some original content alongside shared video. This disruptor has some 10 000 Likes on Facebook.

In another local development an over-the-top internet television startup has announced plans to enter the South African market. According to the TechCentral blog, Discover Digital plans to “give broadcasters a run for their money by launching both subscription-based and transactional video-on-demand (VOD) services”.

The future of internet television

The future of television itself is intrinsically linked to the internet. This means internet television really is the future of television itself. Advertising and pay-TV are both disrupted completely by this new phenomenon. Advertising’s disruptive power directed at a captured audience is already fading fast, while pay-TV’s exorbitant subscription rates can only stand up to live sport scrutiny.

Most other content is already available free or at low cost via internet television. Although not everyone agrees, this is the biggest impact on the traditional media world after the invention of the internet itself.