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Will television survive the Digital Revolution?




KARACHI: Ever since its advent till now TV maintained its position as a major source of entertainment. However, digital revolution seems to have successfully turned the tables when it comes to change the watching habits of the audience.

The drastic changes in technological and lifestyle trends over the past decades loom over the TV industry. As to access the content sans any time limitations and at comparatively low expenditure; consumers switch to online streaming, which is swiftly gaining esteem as a means of watching TV.

The shared accessibility of streaming services such as YouTube and multiple devices have enabled consumers to choose what they want to watch.

As the time goes by, everyone seems to be hooked up with their devices exploring online globe 24/7, resulting into transforming consumers’ screening patterns. As a matter of fact, *over-the-top (OTT) videos are potentially posing serious threats to traditional means of screening such as Television.

As per the estimates, over 500 OTT service providers are competing around the world at the moment. Of which, the top most global players are Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, HBO, and YouTube.

Regarding this, experts are of the view that in the forthcoming years, they can potentially capture the viewership of linear TV broadcast. As of now, innumerable consumers particularly youngsters prefer watching streaming videos rather than traditional TV.

On July 16, 2015, Google’s chief business officer Omid Kordestani maintained that the video-sharing platform i.e. YouTube had surpassed all cable networks to the demographic of 18 to 49-years old. Since most of what we watch is on demand, opening YouTube or Netflix on iPhone is much more convenient as compare to turning on TV and surfing through hundreds of different channels just to find your favorite shows. 

Online world, which is sweeping like a wildfire, enables the spectators to ogle every sort of entertainment while bifurcating the TV viewership. This change exposes the viewers to novel kinds and ways of viewing while eliminating the limitations of time and location base screening.

Now people tend to do binge consumption* of their favorite programs. As per the study conducted by Harris Interactive in 2015, approx 61 percent of Americans binge-watch TV shows on a regular basis.

Humans of the current century tend to embrace the change whole heartedly. Therefore, in order to meet the requirements of fast pacing and up-to-the-minute world, they are getting robotic.

They have no time to sit through the whole of the lords in front of the TV waiting for their favorite soaps or programs, news etc; and thus, they end up being connected to the online world.

Considering that the number of online viewers are surging, connoisseurs reckon that there can be three reasons as to why people are attracting towards the online streaming: People want to be digitalized, they are running out of time and that’s why they prefer watching online content sans unwanted advertising and the availability of more and different sort of content available online.

Keeping this in the view, a Pew Research Center survey conducted an interesting research as to know the current trend of streaming online content among US young adults somewhere in August, 2017.

Their ramifications revealed that around 61 percent individuals in between the ages of 18 to 29 years have been reported watching online content when compared to TV. This insinuates that if the situation persists, the online streaming outpaces the TV viewership on the whole eventually.

In countries like Pakistan, it takes time to embrace any new change due to cultural and traditional values. However, the digital consumer study carried out by Google revealed that approx 93 percent Pakistanis, own a PC at homes, 45 percent own smart phones or tabs and 12 percent people have mobiles as prime devices.

As to access the internet, 90 percent people use PC, 73 percent use feature phones, 77 percent use smart phones and 66 percent use tablets.

As far as the digital consumption is concerned, some 35 percent Pakistanis (males/females) tend to stream TV shows and films. 69 percent consumers spend more time on internet; whereas only 42 percent people spend time watching TV.

It has further been learnt that this cultural shift is proved to be beneficial as far as the marketers are concerned. Considering this, the PwC’s research opined that internet advertising will be poised to surpass TV as the chief advertising sector by 2018.

It is pertinent to mention here that advertising profit is outpacing consumers’ income in the migration to digital. Not to mention that marketers understand that it is easier to more appropriately target online viewers on the internet by contrasted on cable television as they can demonstrate the ads that are more significant, approachable as well as easily accessible.

Among the challenges the cable companies are facing, one is the younger generation viewers as they grow up with the internet and regularly use it to consume news and entertainment.

Young folks are more prone to become cord cutters, as they give more priority to the internet than cable. Back in 2015, Consumer Affairs revealed that 48 percent of grown-ups and 67 percent of youngsters watch streaming or downloaded content during a week in the States.

It is pertinent to point it out here that TV is facing one of its worst years in decades. As the society started shifting towards advance technology, more and more people watch their favorite TV shows etc via streaming, resulting into saving money as well as time.

On the other hand, the cable and satellite systems are at the mercy of the programmers, who are the content creators and distributors. Therefore, once the programmers realize that there is more money online than on-air, the cable industry will become a relic of the past.

*OTT is the delivery of video content via internet connections in place of the broadcast TV continuum, cable, fiber, or satellite networks

**Binge consumption is a trend of watching at least 2to 3 episodes of one TV show in one long stretch as opposed to waiting for each new episode to be aired on cable TV.


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Mobile broadband: More investment after 5G!



ISLAMABAD: A new technological era has prevailed across the globe and every country is trying best to keep enhancing technological advancements and capture Information Technology market share which has a value of worth $12 trillion.
Advanced nations are now engaged in a technological trade tussle and trying to become a world leader in artificial intelligence by 2030. The advanced countries had invested and are spending billions of Dollars in technology including next-generation 5G which ensures to download a large size of data within minutes or even seconds. It will give a boost to driver-less car technology and will help to fulfill a dream of shifting scattered cities into smart cities.
China has been investing a great number of dollars in Pakistan under China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
On the initiative of land-based connectivity, optical fiber cable is linked between two countries.
A Chinese company may lead Pakistan to its first ever 5G technology. However, 5G is more expensive than 4G. Therefore, the future government may have to work hard to introduce it in its full spirit as next evolution comes in form of 5G that will offer attractive data rates and more than that the fastest speed ever.
International Telecommunication Union (ITU) is going to launch 5G standards in 2019 and on the whole, a vast number of trials and experiments already being held in different parts of the world including Pakistan.
Zong and Telenor might be the first companies to introduce 5G. Up to a point, Zong also introduced 4G service in Pakistan before any other company. The company also requested Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) to take permission for the testing.
The question arises how 5G will be different from its preceding generations and when what of 5G for Pakistan is still unclear. The most publicized aspect of 5G is the introduction of new frequency spectrums, broadly categorized into frequency range 1 (FR-1) and range 2 (FR-2).
Recent 5G trails conducted abroad have already demonstrated the speed of 9.3 Gbps over 24 GHz spectrum, nearly 10 times faster than the theoretical maximum data rate for 4G.
When contacted, official sources said policy directives for test and development of technologies for fifth generation (5G) wireless networks in Pakistan has been issued last year which would be implemented by the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA).
The next generation mobile services (3G/4G) are continuously gaining momentum in Pakistan since their launch in mid-2014 while the demand for data services is growing along with the subscriber base which has crossed 58.56 million with a teledensity of 28.08 during last five years. The Basic Telephony subscriber reached three million with 1.30 percent teledensity while on another hand the number of cellular subscribers crossed 151 million by end of August this year.
The official said 4G network roll-outs continued across the country. Minister for Information Technology and Telecommunications, Dr. Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui has also hinted introduction of 5th Generation (5G) service from next year to attract foreign investment.
“We need to introduce more innovative services in a mobile broadband arena not only to facilitate the consumers but also attract precious foreign investment and meet modern requirements,” said the Minister.
The Minister had said, “The world is changing very swiftly and to compete with other nations we need to adopt new technologies.” He hoped that keeping in view of the importance IT sector in Pakistan foreign companies would approach themselves to launch the modern 5G service.
As per operator-wise data issued by PTA regarding the number of 3G and 4G subscribers, Mobilink Jazz’s total count for 3G users stood at 15.04 million by August 2018, as compared to 14.54 million by January 2018. Jazz 4G user numbers jumped from 2.23 by January 2018 to 5.07 million by Aug 2018.
Zong 3G subscribers decreased to 9.03 million by August 2018, from 9.08 million in January 2018, while the number of 4G users jumped from 5.07 million by January end to 8.13 million by Aug 2018.
The number of 3G users of Telenor decreased from 10.75 million in January 2018 to 10.21 million by August 2018. The number of 4G users jumped from 1.88 million in January 2018 to 3.59 million by August 2018.
Ufone’s total 3G subscribers reached 7.47 million by end of August 2018 as they were 6.630 million in January 2018.
It is imperative that we should remain proactive in ensuring market readiness for the next wave of mobile communications i.e. 5G which would open a new arena for smart devices and ensure employment and investment opportunities in Pakistan during coming years.












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EU tells Facebook ‘patience at limit’ on consumer rules



BRUSSELS: The EU warned social network Facebook on Thursday to bring “misleading” consumer terms in line with the bloc’s rules by the end of the year or risk financial penalties.
“My patience has reached its limit,” EU Justice and Consumer Affairs Commissioner Vera Jourova said in a statement. “It is now time for action and no more promises.”
Jourova said she would call on consumer protection authorities across the 28-country bloc, which requested the changes last year, to act swiftly and sanction the company if Facebook failed to comply.
“While Facebook assured me to finally adapt any remaining misleading terms of services by December, this has been ongoing for too long,” she said.
The commission said that proposals made by the Mark Zuckerberg-led company were “very limited”, even after the company changed its conditions in April.
These new terms of services “contain a misleading presentation of the main characteristics of Facebook’s services”, the Commission said.
The commission meanwhile said that rent-a-room giant Airbnb has made the necessary changes to its consumer terms after also being under fire in Brussels.
The bloc’s executive arm has been at the forefront of a regulatory crackdown on US tech giants, having also slammed Google with huge anti-trust fines.
The commission has been cracking down on what it sees as risks for European consumers using the services of US internet giants like Facebook, Google, Amazon, Uber, and others.
Facebook also came under the microscope after this year’s Cambridge Analytica scandal in which the company admitted that up to 87 million users may have had their data hijacked.


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Japanese billionaire is the SpaceX’s first Moon traveler!



SpaceX's first Moon traveler

Hawthorne: A Japanese billionaire and online fashion tycoon, Yusaku Maezawa, will be the first man to fly on a monster SpaceX rocket around the Moon as early as 2023, and he plans to bring six to eight artists along.
Maezawa, 42, will be the first lunar traveler since the last US Apollo mission in 1972. He paid an unspecified amount of money for the privilege. “Ever since I was a kid, I have loved the Moon,” Maezawa said at SpaceX headquarters and rocket factory in Hawthorne, California, in the middle of metropolitan Los Angeles, late Monday. “This is my lifelong dream.”
He added: “I choose to go to the Moon… with artists!” He said he wanted to invite artists from various fields including painters, sculptors, photographers, musicians, film directors, fashion designers, and architects.
“If you should hear from me, please say yes and accept my invitation. Please don’t say no!,” Maezawa added. Maezawa is chief executive of Japan’s largest online fashion mall, and is the 18th richest person in Japan with a fortune of $3 billion, according to the business magazine Forbes.
Maezawa’s other hobby is amassing valuable works of modern art and last year, he announced the acquisition of a Jean-Michel Basquiat masterpiece worth $110.5 million.  His love of art led him to decide to invite artists to come along, he said.
“I would like to invite six to eight artists from around the world to join me on this mission to the Moon,” Maezawa said. “They will be asked to create something after they return to Earth. These masterpieces will inspire the dreamer within all of us.”
Until now, Americans are the only ones who have left Earth’s orbit. A total of 24 NASA astronauts – all white men – voyaged to the Moon during the Apollo era of the 1960s and ’70s. Twelve walked on the lunar surface. The first space tourist was Dennis Tito, an American businessman who in 2001 paid some $20 million to fly on a Russian spaceship to the International Space Station.

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