“Catch-up TV”, 3DTV and the MiddleEast.

By: Clyde DeSouza

Is the Middle East playing Catch-up TV?

There has been much activity happening in the Broadcast TV market in the region. In Oct and Nov this year alone, up to 4 Broadcast Conferences have happened or are scheduled in the UAE, addressing the subjects of BroadCast TV, it’s future, and the evolving platform that television itself is becoming.

Buzz words such as OTT, catch up TV, IPTV, 3DTV and more is becoming everyday vocabulary among Media professionals in the region.

Yet, one can’t help but ask a question that is relevant… Is the Middle East still playing “catch-up” to other developed regions of the world in the area of Broadcast 3D TV?

The so-called developed nations have already made “contingency” plans to future proof their television platforms, and have geared up for 3D television. Innovation and pioneering work is being done by different operators, such as Sat casters (Satellite broadcasting), cable operators and even networks such as Discovery and ESPN.

TV Channels in Asian countries like Japan and Korea already have 3DTV channels on -air.

3DTV – The content Conundrum:

At Real Vision, we firmly believe that to mitigate the “where is the 3DTV content” question, the key to successful 3DTV deployment is 3D in measured dosage = 3DTV success

Internationally some 3D channels are facing a dilemma with lack of content, with rumors that ESPN 3D is on shaky ground. However if 3D is delivered in measured doses, there is no reason why audiences would not adapt and embrace 3D content.

After all, even today it is very easy to have a HYBRID 2D with embedded 3D approach that can make a 3D centric broadcast channel more palatable and acceptable to audiences.

Broadcast TV Conferences and Innovative Thinking in the MiddleEast:

For some reason the MiddleEast is not as much the focus of attention by big players, and seen only as as a market to sell luxury goods and designer labels. Yet if we take a closer look there are pockets of innovation and media professionals that can think on a higher level, but have never been given the platform or a collaborative environment to share their views.

In the field of Broadcast TV and Media, such a platform was created recently via the MediaLive Conference. It was a great start, and in November alone there are another three scheduled Broadcast Conferences and Seminars that will touch on the future of Broadcast TV and hopefully include quality intelligence on 3DTV as well.

1) The ITP Broadcast Conference 2011

2) 3rd Middle East Broadcasting Summit

3) Broadcast Pro Middle East Summit and Awards 2011

From looking at the agenda of all three upcoming conferences, it seems that there is interest in Stereoscopic 3D TV as one of the topics for discussion. These conferences hopefully expand the platform for awareness on 3DTV and how best to implement and exploit the potential that this new medium of entertainment is capable of.

While the MediaLive conference started the debate on 3DTV, unfortunately many of the esteemed panelist either did not have first hand knowledge of 3DTV (quoting mostly the let’s wait-and-watch or we are still gearing up for HD cliche), hopefully the three up-coming conferences provide a thought provoking debate with two equally informed and knowledgeable schools of thought.

The Middle East Leads in Ownership and Interest in 3DTV:

Market stats show that the MiddleEast leads in ownership and interest in Stereoscopic 3DTV. This should be a good indicator that gatherings that focus on the Broadcast and Film industry in the Middle East should take these metrics into consideration, and more importantly embrace innovation, and have a pioneering spirit in setting new trends.

Footnote: At Real Vision we urge that all future Broadcast TV conferences and Summits ear-mark at minimum, a $5000 budget dedicated to 3DTV awareness. This will ensure that gatherings that discuss the evolution of television production and consumption are on par and offer food for thought as do similar gatherings in the West and Asia.

It will also ensure that the Middle East is not lagging behind playing “Catch-up” in the field of Broadcast TV, but is also capable of forging the way forward.