Today Gemini (my fund) and Microsoft hosted an event on the future of TV.
I've been working on putting it together over the last month (plus a bit) - and I think it was a great success (I'm not too objective of course, but the feedback was very positive)
The audience included over 130 of Israel's technology, advertising, and media leaders (predominately occupied by startup CEO's and entrepreneurs I must admit)
We had a world class group of speakers who presented and joined a panel discussion:
Here are some of the thoughts they shared during the event (and in the discussions leading up to it) on what our TV world will look like in the coming years:
The (distant) future looks bright, and will include:
- TV content that is high quality - being able to finally see TV that really interests us (Other than Yossi Vardi, who is already content with watching Channel #33 alone... that's something similar to PBS)
- Limited advertising - that actually provides value to each person that watches it
- Ability to get the show we want to watch - whenever we want it - and in HD quality
- And to watch on any device we want - and move it around (from our TV, to our Mobile, computer, car, etc...)
- And not have to pay for it too much!
But this will take quite some time... and in the meanwhile:
- It will create a revolution in some of our largest industries - Media, Communications, Advertising
- The existing value chain will break apart, and never look the same - creating a shift from vertical industries to horizontal silos (think about the break up of the Mainframe value chain in the PC industry as we know it today)
- Eventually - Mass Market programming (i.e. live sports, reality TV shows) and "long tail" content will co-exist (and one will not take over the other)
- But Advertising prices will rise for a small number of programs, while rating figures will start to loose their meanings for all the rest
- Hence - advertisers might become the biggest losers (according to Kedmi) - if they don't find new tools for measurement, and bring their clients to the new - online TV consumers (...Basically, advertising firms as we know them might disappear)
- Broadcasters have a whole lot to loose as well, if they don't change their models (in Israel they're still very relaxed)
- And we've seen this happen in many industries before - the closest example being the Mobile industry
But as mentioned - this will all take time - likely several years.
And being a VC - this means the time is ripe to make big bets on startups in the space. From Chaos emerge great new opportunities.
A key takeaway for me - Israeli startups have the potential to become significant players worldwide - and make an impact. Some reasons -
- We have a lot of experience (with highly successful communications companies, and many successes in the space already (Metacafe, NDS, Bigband)
- We have leading technologies + accumulated marketing skills (both required to succeed in this space)
- And the VCs have a great appetite for diving in (we've actually started already with a couple of exciting investments I can't detail yet... but stay tuned)
So keep your eyes open for some great Israeli successes in this field in the near (and far) future!