A new era for ITV

The final quarter of 2022 is likely to go down as one of the most significant periods in the long and remarkable TV career of Kevin Lygo, ITV’s Managing Director of media and entertainment.

For starters, there’s been one of the most successful ever series of the entertainment flagship I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here!, not forgetting ITV1’s high-profile coverage of the Qatar World Cup, with plaudits for the irascible studio pundit Roy Keane and, crucially, the overdue launch of the broadcaster’s shiny and heavily marketed new streaming service, ITVX.

ITV turns to the X factor

How refreshing it is to hear ITV being negative about its own online service, ITV Hub. Apparently, it is clunky, looks dated, isn’t a destination, and there is nothing on it. All pretty much true, and expressed only a good chunk of a decade after all those things were clear to the UK consumer. Why this sudden honesty? The imminent launch of Hub’s replacement, of course: ITVX will debut on 8 December.

From the ground to the cloud

As real-time cloud processing starts to deliver new opportunities for broadcasters, the RTS technology colloquium ‘From ground to cloud’ featured a presentation on uploading live content by AWS Elemental specialist solutions architect David Walker.

Dr Rob Oldfield, co-founder of Salsa Sound, which has developed an AI engine that automates audio mixing for live sport broadcasts, and Ethan Kovacs, senior cloud media engineer at Sky, discussed ways of making the cloud work for sport.

RTS London looks at how to survive in the world of streaming

Over the past year, SVoD services such as Disney+, HBO Max, Peacock (NBCUniversal) and AppleTV+ have come on stream, joining the likes of Netflix and Amazon. 

Alan Wolk, co-founder of media consultancy TV[R]EV, speaking from New Jersey, dubbed the streaming boom a “flixcopalypse”. He said two more – Paramount+ and Discovery+ – were due to launch soon. 

Success is not guaranteed. The short-form streamer Quibi, launched by former Disney exec Jeffrey Katzenberg, collapsed this month after only half a year in business.

RTS London reflect on this year's RTS Cambridge Convention

Reed Hastings and Kirsty Wark (Credit: RTS/Richard Kendal)

The late-September event was hosted by the University of Westminster, and chaired by media producer and consultant Aradhna Tayal. It featured Bloomberg media reporter Joe Mayes, London Centre Chair Phil Barnes and James Cordell, a London committee member and first-time attendee at the convention.

The panel noted that one of the key themes throughout was the rise of streaming and whether the already established subscription video on demand (SVoD) companies – with more set to enter the market – will dominate the UK broadcast industry.

RTS Cambridge Convention Review

The biennial RTS Cambridge Convention is where the big cheeses of the tv industry go to gnaw over the big issues facing it. This year the theme is 'Content, Consumers and Everything in Between', so there's plenty to digest!

If you were unable to get to King's College, Cambridge for 18th-20th September, here is your chance to get the lowdown. We've asked our expert panel to take their VIP Passes and come back with all the issues, the highlights, and the buzz!

BritBox: Traditional media's answer to US streaming giants

Queen Victoria (Jenna Coleman) in Victoria (Credit: ITV)

It seems only a few short years ago that the BBC and ITV were thought of as the titans of British media. But all of us in the UK’s traditional media solar system are getting smaller and smaller in the Apple, Amazon and Netflix universe.” Thus said Lord Hall, Director-General of the BBC, in March, as he unveiled the corporation’s plans for its new financial year.

“We need to find new ways to adapt to the changing needs of our audiences, and we need to be able to do it in real time to keep pace with our global competitors,” he continued.

Hulu ups the ante

The Looming Tower (Credit: Hulu)

Sometimes, a single show can change the way a broadcaster or a platform is perceived. For the US streaming service Hulu, The Handmaid’s Tale – based on Margaret Atwood’s dystopian novel – has been one such show.

The 10-part series was made for Hulu by MGM Television (Hulu does not have in-house production capabilities) and quickly became water-cooler viewing on both sides of the Atlantic. It went on to win multiple awards, including a Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Drama Series and a brace of Golden Globes.

Is targeted advertising the future of TV?

That was one of the main conclusions from an RTS early evening event, Is targeted advertising the future of TV?

A capacity crowd heard how the arrival of streaming services headed by Netflix and Amazon Prime plus the challenge from Facebook and Google are changing the dynamics of TV advertising. 

Catch-up TV and the traditional broadcasters' own on-demand offerings are also driving change.  

All this is posing problems for audience measurement, the bedrock of TV advertising for more than half a century.