Tag: broadcasting

3D broadcasting drought continues

Although every television maker in the world wants to introduce 3D as standard on the boxes, broadcast content is still looking a little thin since the first models arrived at John Lewis and sat on the shelf for a month.

Despite BSkyB launching 3D channels along with hefty marketing campaigns – which saw 3D football matches broadcast in pubs and gushing reports about the technology featuring in associated newspapers – there’s still little in the way of actual 3D broadcast content. 

That’s because there’s not much you can do with 3D telly on a day-to-day basis. We reported this last year, with Meko analysts telling us 3D will never be an everyday thing. It’ll be a couple of hours a week, at most, on the television. We imagine most punters don’t quite fancy watching Pat Butcher’s earrings swing out of the screen into their faces.

More obviously, creating regular 3D content for broadcast is very high-cost. Particularly with live content, say analysts at Ovum. There is a “lack of enthusiasm” for investing in 3D content production, according to Ovum’s The State Of 3D (Strategic Focus) report, and as such the whole situation is unlikely to undergo any swift change.

It will be up to packaged goods such as Blu-Ray, streaming, and above all console gaming to keep 3D afloat. Sony is pushing its 3D technology with the PS3, but then it would, having as it does something of a monopoly with 3D. Sony runs Blu-Ray, it knocks out 3D tellies, sells 3D studio equipment and it has heavy investment in the studios which create the content.

According to Ovum, which collared a shedload of execs to talk about strategic priorities, production of 3D content or the launch of 3D channels is at the very lowest rung of the ladder for investment. Over half said 3D content production was “not an important business consideration,” while broadcasters in Europe or North America didn’t give a hoot either.

Which isn’t great news for the future of 3D broadcasting. Many of the most popular shows here in the UK are imports from the States, and if the broadcasters aren’t able or willing to take advantage of the technology which was hoist upon us, it’s unlikely there will be any significant boost in the near future.

BSkyB, which really wants to flog its 3D services, recently pinned its hopes on a channel launch called Sky Atlantic, promising to air the best from the US. We shouldn’t expect a Sky Atlantic 3D launch any time soon.

As for sports, 3D can work sometimes, but reception has been generally less than enthusiastic.

Even 3D boffins agree that the format is not suited to sports that move at a fast pace. What does that rule out? Well, football, rugby, tennis, basketball for a start. 

Rupert Murdoch's BSkyB buy gets green light from EC

News Corp, the media conglomerate owned by Rupert Murdoch, has won approval by the European Commission to take over British Sky Broadcasting (BSkyB) further expanding Murdoch’s unholy media empire.

The European Commission said that the buyout would not “significantly impede effective competition”. The word “significantly” is pretty er significant here – it amounts to an admission that it will have some effect on competition. Hardly surprising considering the size and reach of News Corp and the dominance of Sky’s broadcasting services in the UK.

Despite the approval, the Commission said that the UK government is free to interfere with the decision to protect “media plurarlity”.

In addition to its stake of BSkyB, News Corp owns The Sun, News of the World, The Times and The Sunday Times

Ofcom, the UK telecoms and broadcasting regulator, has launched an antitrust probe into News Corp’s expansion. It will make its decision before the end of the month, which could either back the Commission’s approval or reject it entirely.

News Corp already owns just over 39 percent of BSkyB and was offering £7.8 billion ($12.1 billion) to buy out the remaining 61 percent. BSkyB was not so keen, believing it is worth more, but negotiations were frozen until regulatory approval is completed. The Commission’s decision today is one further step in bringing Sky fully into Murdoch’s hands.

UK space sector will continue to soar

The space industry has grown thanks to the amount of investment that the UK puts into the research and design as well as the “niche and exciting” reputation this sector has, an expert in the has said.

His comments follow a UK Space Agency report which shows the British space industry has grown by nearly eight percent through the recession and is now worth over £7.5 billion to the economy.
The report, ‘The Size and Health of the UK Space Industry,’ is the latest update of a biennial survey of British companies involved in the sector and shows the space industry has grown by more than 10 per cent on average over the last two years.
Carried out by Oxford Economics, the report surveyed 260 companies across both the upstream (companies which provide space technology) and the downstream (companies that utilise space technologies).

It found that even through tough economic conditions the space industry has maintained its momentum, as it recorded an average growth of more than 11 per cent in downstream companies and three per cent growth in upstream providers, compared to the national GDP growth of 0.3 per cent.

A source tells TechEye: “The UK space industry is doing so well for a number of reasons. The first is the amount of investment that is put into research and design in this sector, which means the UK is in a better position to form partnerships and gain investment with different countries and businesses such as telecoms. However, over the past few years the funding and sponsorship have fallen. That said, the industry is still doing well.

“Another reason for the success is that this market is still seen as niche and exciting. If there are going to be investments made then this is probably where it will be.”
According to the report broadcasting continues to be the primary application for space technology, with sales of £5,069 million in 2008/9. The bulk of the remaining revenues are linked to applications for telecommunications, which generated £1,800 million. Together these two applications accounted for over 90 percent of the total market.

“It comes as no surprise that the space industry is soaring. Unlike many other industries, we place a huge reliance in this sector. Satellites are an essential part of everyday life as is broadcasting, which was found to make up the 90 percent of the total market. And the market will continue to rise with new developments and investments from the likes of China and Russia,” our source told us.
The report also found that employment within the space sector has also strengthened by just over nine percent to reach 24,900 in 2008/2009. However, although the sector is doing well the report said there was a challenge in finding competent engineers.

Our source tells us this struggle won’t last for long: “Although there is still a gap in the employment market when it comes to this sector we have seen a renewed interest from the next generation who are embarking on engineering courses in a bid to work in this industry.

“With more expertise, more interest from other countries and more developments in terms of broadcasting the space industry will continue to soar.” 

Virgin rushes to beat Sky to 3D broadcasting

Virgin Media has rushed out to beat Sky to the 3D game, offering an on-demand movie streaming service to the, er, tens of people who have a 3D set top box, 3D telly, 3D glasses and Virgin plus.

The first film available is modern classic StreetDance 3D. HD films cost more dosh and 3D even more – about £6 for a 24 hour rental. Lined up for the service are Garfield’s Pet Force 3D, Disney’s A Christmas Carol 3D, Step Up 3D and Despicable Me 3D. The film that kick started it all, Avatar, will probably be going to Sky as Murdoch’s Fox owns the rights.

When we asked Virgin if the move was to beat Sky to a 3D service we were offered a standard “on the record” response – about offering new technology to customers first, blah blah. There was no off the record response so we’ll take that as a yes.

While Virgin may consider it a minor victory to get ahead of the broadcasting pack, the fact is Sky dominates paid-for broadcasting and dictates where the industry will go. If Sky is doing something everyone else wants to do it too, first, or eventually. Just as the BBC rushed to get HD live before Sky did, even though no one had an HD telly at the time, Virgin has rushed to get 3D up and running, even though no one has a 3D telly except the one guy who bought one from John Lewis a couple of months ago. 

Analysts have told us that there will be 3D TVs in the home – but rather than genuine consumer demand it will be a case of keeping up with the Jones’. That’s how the market in the West works. Apparently that’s how broadcasting works too.