Video killed the radio in 1981. VR will kill the TV in 2020
BY Georgi Chakarov
Video Killed the Radio Star was the rst music video MTV played when it launched in 1981.
I guess it is no coincidence that Ericsson published its TV and Media 2017 report one week ahead of MIPCOM. The findings of this study are not just a red alert for the whole industry but an actual cardiogram of linear TV’s pulse which goes flat after 2020. The subject will be pronounced dead three years from now.

A year ago, in our MIPCOM 2016 edition I wrote: A year ago, I asked the question "Who can save linear TV?" I think I have the answer now – nobody. Year after year, for the past three years TVBIZZ Magazine has been sounding the alarm and now Ericsson brings the diagnosis in real numbers: "By 2020, only 1 in 10 consumers will be stuck watching TV only on a traditional screen, a 50 percent decrease compared to 2010."

And while Ericsson says that both scheduled linear TV and on-demand services will benefit from increased consumption, the momentum is clearly going in the direction of VOD and mobile services: "About 7 out of 10 consumers will prefer on-demand and catch-up services over scheduled linear TV viewing, and almost half of all viewing will be on-demand." And also, “half of all viewing will be done on a mobile screen, and half of this will be done on the smartphone alone.” I can hardly imagine that any of these users will be watching linear TV on their phone.

But the real revolution will come with VR – a technology which many analysts were quick to pronounce dead this year. Ericsson claims: “Today’s VOD viewing experience is set to become more of a social activity than it is today – this time in VR.” Social is the key word here as this seems to be the last standing advantage of traditional linear TV over all other media – only TV can bring people together in front of the screen. “Already, two in five VR users are watching TV and video together with other people on virtual sofas around the world,” Ericsson says. A third of consumers are projected to use VR in five years and a third have said VR will help them watch TV “as if I was inside the content.”

And here comes the fatal blow for the TV screen: “potential VR users believe the technology will bring one more thing to the table: the ability to watch 4K/UHD content without owning a big physical screen.” In other words, the TV set will no longer be a commodity in people’s homes.

Who in this industry can picture a home without a TV? An answer comes from my MIPCOM 2015 piece: “The people who make TV today grew up watching it. They can’t imagine life without it. But the people they are trying to reach nowadays grow up with a smartphone and tablet in their hands. They don’t need the TV.“

Nothing has changed in the past three years. It won’t change after Ericsson’s report either.
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