Friday, 5 September 2008

What is TV III?

I was supposed to talk about TV III Branding in this post, but before we go any further, I’d like to quickly comment on the TVIII terminology. The history of Television is divided in three periods, whose nomenclature varies depending on the author. Basically, the three eras differ in terms of distribution or availability of content, which of course, have a major impact on economic and social factors. The television eras are not mutually exclusive, as the periods overlap each other and continue to exist even after the start of a new era. This condition remains true as long as the requisites for a particular era don’t cease to exist.

This is getting too abstract, so I’m showing a table with different terms to define each era, by different authors.

I chose to use Rogers et al. terms, because they are rather neutral. They don’t refer to any specific sector or technology within the eras. I believe this avoids confusion, as Broadcasters, continue to exist in the Cable Era, as well as Cable Operators are still active in the Digital Era. The same applies to Scarcity in the Age of Availability, or availability in the Age of Plenty.

Having said that, it is important to understand the characteristics of TV III, because they directly affect the way television brands are managed. I really wanted to keep it short, but here we go…

TV III is characterised by:

  • The end of the distribution bottleneck due to new digital distribution technologies (eg. digital TV, the internet, etc.), lowering entry barriers, thus allowing new entrants and more competition;
  • The shift in the TV value chain from conduit to content. As distribution becomes more commodified everyday, programming gains momentum;
  • The market deregulation. New elements become excuses to implement rules that were not allowed in the past. Looser rules, new opportunities;
  • The horizontal consolidation of companies giving birth to giant media conglomerates;
  • The so-called convergence, but not from the technological point of view, but from Jenkin’s perception of it as a cultural shift, where viewers connect information from dispersed sources and share their findings and experiences with each other. Convergence happens within the brain.

These characteristics are all linked in a cause-and-consequence system that makes TV III a very favourable moment for branding strategies. Even with Umair Haque saying the opposite. The thing is that he is talking about TV II branding strategies in a TV III environment. I’ll elaborate more about this some other time.

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