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Surfeit of Choices and Too Many Alternate Options of Engagement Gradually Eating into Time Spent before Box

Broadcast TV now faces a media landscape which its once prime position is being threatened

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Time, Box, Indians
A surfeit of choices and too many alternate options of engagement are gradually eating into the time spent before the box. Pixabay

A surfeit of choices and too many alternate options of engagement are gradually eating into the time spent before the box. Although Indians still spend nearly four hours a day watching TV, the shift to alternate screens is happening fast. Broadcast TV now faces a media landscape which its once prime position is being threatened. A shift in socio-cultural preferences is igniting this change in viewing habits. Cord cutting, as the phenomenon of actually giving up your Cable or Satellite connection which is quite apparent in markets like the US, is now slowly making an entry into Indian homes. I know many people who now access all their news and entertainment via Internet and on demand is becoming more dynamic and democratic than ever before. As broadcasters, we can propagate programmes online and on demand, and if we can catch the viewers attention, they will be discussed and recommended by thousands of people on social networks in real time, becoming instantly accessible by new viewers.

Globally, there is a trend where many large telecom firms like AT&T, Comcast, Singtel, Airtel and Jio are acquiring media (and entertainment) companies — and tech companies like Apple, Amazon, Google, Facebook, Netflix, Sony (they acquired Columbia three decades ago) are diversifying into content. A handful of entertainment giants like Disney, Bertelsmann, Discovery and Viacom are still in the race of eyeballs. Of course, there are hundreds of local and regional players around the world and some of them like Times Group in India are of a significant size. Besides, several OTT platforms/services are still out there pretty much panning the proverbial gold. Where do simple vanilla broadcasters fit in the everchanging world of tomorrow, specially in India with its diverse audience of a billion plus is consuming more inexpensive data i.e. information and entertainment than even highly developed markets like US Europe.

Three billion viewers all over the globe are not going to junk their TV connections in a hurry but within the next four or five years, half of them will switch to streaming on demand services. Unfortunately, technology and regulators worldwide are adding to the woes of conventional TV networks. Long-form entertainment is still very much in broadcasters’ domain. The real threat is the changing lifestyle and habits of today’s generation. Increasingly, we are seeing the success of made for streaming films, dramas and documentaries etc are stealing audiences. With larger budgets, courtesy deeper pockets even the talent is attracted towards the tech turned media conglomerates and OTTs . There is not only a shift in consumers but purveyors of media and entertainment away from linear TV. Gaming and short form content is another magnet pulling millions apart from the box. Multiple media across multiple devices is the new normal. From archetypical family viewing home entertainment is getting individual, interactive and instant. Streaming audio/video and personalised TV with a smorgasbord of different formats both genres and duration is the way forward for sure.

Time, Box, Indians
Although Indians still spend nearly four hours a day watching TV, the shift to alternate screens is happening fast. Pixabay

Content, a term used for anything from a tweet to a thesis, news to exposes, a song to a music channel, a short video clip to a library of films is hardly a differentiator in most cases. Even exclusive coverage major sporting events, political upheavals, wars, disasters or triumphs of the human spirit can get you only fleeting audience. Nothing is sticky anymore. Regurgitating of the same story in different formats is hardly compelling. One reason that broadcasters will lose this battle is their inability to innovate their programming. A cookie cutter approach where formatted shows are universally produced and screened are now reaching a fatigue level. Every successful show or programme is replicated. More of the same works to a large extent and it has in case of television but now it’s coming to the end of the course. After a point familiarity breeds contempt.

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In fact, so far OTTs have had successes which had either a different look and feel than existing broadcast shows or went into darker areas. However, programmers and creators must be wary of falling in a similar trap as their predecessor. If everyone is going to rely on a similar matrix, albeit in a broader spectrum of genres, only the best will survive. I believe that the present average of 4 hours a day of tele viewing is about the optimum to sustain. Unlike appointment TV which has a fixed point chart and hence limited programming options online watching streamed or stored has virtually no limitations of choice. The next enhancement for consumer will be virtual reality and immersive TV and customisation. The coming five years is festival time for Indians as we will be offered a large array of content by different platforms. Creative fraternity needs to understand the new fragmented and attention deficit audience. It’s broadcasters who have to begin thinking of a strategy for the next decade or face extinction. (IANS)

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Over 14% Indians Affected by ‘Shopper’ Malware: Report

After the screen is unlocked, the app launches, gathers information about the victim's device and sends it to the attacker's servers. The server returns the commands for the application to execute

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A new Trojan application is boosting popular shopping app ratings and installations and spreading ads that annoy users and over 14 percent Indians have been affected by this malware dubbed as “Shopper”, researchers from global cybersecurity and anti-virus brand Kaspersky said on Sunday.

The highest share of users infected by “Trojan-Dropper. AndroidOS.Shopper.a” from October to November 2019 was in Russia, with a staggering 28.46 per cent of all users affected by the shopaholic app located in the country. Almost a fifth (18.70 per cent) of infections were in Brazil and 14.23 per cent in India.

“Despite the fact that at the moment, the real danger stemming from this malicious app is limited to unsolicited ads, fake reviews and ratings issued in the name of the victim, no one can guarantee that the creators of this malware will not change their payload to something else,” Igor Golovin, Malware Analyst at Kaspersky, said in a statement.

For now, the focus of this malicious app is on retail, but its capabilities enable attackers to spread fake information via users’ social media accounts and other platforms.

The Trojan, dubbed “Shopper”, first drew the attention of researchers following its extensive obfuscation and use of the Google Accessibility Service.

The service enables users to set a voice to read out app content and automate interaction with the user interface — designed to help people with disabilities. However, in the hands of attackers this feature presents a serious threat to the device owner.

“The malware could automatically share videos containing whatever the operators behind Shopper would want on personal pages of users accounts and just flood the internet with unreliable information,” added GOlovin.

Smartphone
There was 54 per cent increase in data breaches in 2019 as compared to 2018 and 2020 will see significant rise in the number of Smartphone-focused malware and banking Trojans, a new report has predicted. Pixabay

According to the researchers, once the Trojan has the permission to use the service, it can gain almost unlimited opportunities to interact with the system interface and applications. It can capture data featured on the screen, press buttons and even emulate user gestures.

It is not known yet how the malicious application is being spread, however, researchers at Kaspersky assume that it may be downloaded by device owners from fraudulent ads or third-party app stores while trying to get a legitimate application.

Surprisingly, the app masks itself as a system application and uses a system icon named “ConfigAPKs” in order to hide itself from the user.

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After the screen is unlocked, the app launches, gathers information about the victim’s device and sends it to the attacker’s servers. The server returns the commands for the application to execute.

Notably, depending on the commands, the app can use a device owner’s Google or Facebook account to register on popular shopping and entertainment such as AliExpress, Lazada, Zalora, Shein, Joom, Likee and Alibaba, leave application reviews in Google Play on behalf of the device owner, check the rights to use the Accessibility Service and if permission is not granted, it sends a phishing request for them.

The app can also turn off Google Play Protect — a feature that runs a safety check on apps from the Google Play Store before they are downloaded, and open links received from the remote server in an invisible window and hide itself from the app menu after a number of screens are unblocked. (IANS)