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In TV’s new golden age, consumers are already online, Industry must follow 10 June 2015

Never mind the golden age of television. This is the age of the golden rule: Consumers have the gold and they make the rules.

From a consumer viewpoint, there were remarkable moments in the keynote address by Bell Media president Mary Ann Turcke at the Canadian Telecom Summit last week. Accusing Canadians who access U.S. based video on demand streaming service Netflix as “stealing” was the one that got most of the attention, but she also observed that TV viewers “demand simplicity” and “will not tolerate national borders.”

Exactly. Bell Media may “dread” Netflix Inc., but it’s an icon of simplicity. It’s been built, along with Google Inc., Inc., Facebook Inc. and Apple Inc. (a.k.a. GAFA), from the thin air of ideas. Combined, these innovators have just about completed a global techno-disruption of all media and many formerly non-media practices – in less than two decades.

The assumption that viewers are already online also seemed implicit in keynotes from the Telecom Summit. Nitin Kawale, president of Rogers Communications Inc.’s business enterprises, pointed out that Canadian consumers live in the digital era, but Canadian industry – not so much. He cited Canada’s poor rating in innovation, 13 of 16 peer countries.

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