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Will television survive the Digital Revolution?

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AIMAN INAM

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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Electric scooter-sharing moves into the fast lane

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WASHINGTON: How fast is the electric scooter-sharing craze growing? Fast enough to be declared a nuisance and kicked off the streets of San Francisco and a handful of others cities to allow local officials to mull regulations.

And fast enough to draw big investments to allow nimble startups to reach billion-dollar valuations. In the US capital Washington, the electric two-wheelers have become a fixture on city bike paths, zipping along at speeds up to 25 kilometers (15 miles) per hour, sometimes veering onto sidewalks despite warnings to the contrary.

The scooters are “dockless,” meaning they can be rented and left at any location, unlocked with a smartphone app which also indicates the location of the vehicles, in a model similar to new-style bike-sharing startups. Most systems charge $1 to unlock the scooter and 15 cents per minute, so a 10-minute trip would cost $2.50.

“The economics work very well” for both the consumer and the companies, said Sanjay Dastoor, founder and chief executive of Skip Scooters, one of four startups authorized by Washington to deploy up to 400 dockless scooters.

Dastoor offered no specific figures but said riders get inexpensive transportation for short-term trips and companies are able to recoup the costs of the scooter quickly.

Just this year, dockless scooter programs have been launched in a dozen US cities and college campuses. On Friday, California-based Limebike was set to launch scooters in Paris as part of a global expansion plan.

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Delivery robots hit the road in Beijing

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BEIJING: Self-driving delivery robots have emerged in Beijing’s Haidian District delivering packages to their customers.

The service was launched on Monday by China’s leading e-commerce platform JD.com. More than 20 delivery robots have been put on the street to deliver parcels purchased by customers from the platform. Destinations of the initial deliveries cover residential communities nearby JD’s distribution centre in Shangdi and Zhongguancun Software Park.

With a maximum speed of 15 km per hour, each robot can carry up to 30 parcels at a time. Each robot is equipped with radar and sensors to help them recognize traffic lights and their surroundings. Customers will receive a message from JD.com when the robot is about to arrive, and are able to pick up their parcels through face recognition, inputting a code or using a mobile phone app.

“It is very convenient. I believe delivery robot technology will continue to improve. One day, I expect to see them in our buildings, not just waiting outside,” said a JD customer surnamed Cui.

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Google desktop browser support for Android Messages

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ISLAMABAD: Google is set to roll out desktop browser support for Android Messages, allowing users to send, view and receive messages they get on their Android devices to their personal computers (PCs).

The search engine giant plans to roll out the feature that supports text, images and stickers on the web in the coming weeks, The Verge reported. This is reportedly one of the first significant steps in Google’s “push towards chat”, which is the company’s implementation of Rich Communication Services (RCS) inside Android Messages.

“To get started, on the Android Messages website, you scan a quick response (QR) code using the Android Messages mobile app, which creates a link between the two,” the report said. Other improvements to Android Messenger include built-in graphics interchange format (GIF) search, support for smart replies on more carriers, in-line link previews and easy copy/paste for two-factor authentication messages.

According to the report, Google has recommended users to toggle their WiFi network “off and on again” in case they experience problems with the feature. The feature would also function on cellular data.

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