DTG Summit review – Simon Beresford-Wylie on the Hybrid future of TV

On May 10, Simon Beresford-Wylie spoke to attendees at the DTG Summit in London, where he described a future for TV in the UK that will increasingly centre on a hybrid delivery model.

Arqiva CEO Simon Beresford-Wylie speaking at the DTG Summit in May

Arqiva CEO Simon Beresford-Wylie speaking at the DTG Summit in May

“The new way, which we believe will become the main way that TV will be consumed, will consist of a compelling free-to-air base, complemented by a rich choice of IP services delivered over-the-top,” he said.

We know viewers still love linear, free-to-air (FTA) TV – it represents around 80% of all viewing and based on BARB’s measurement, average time spent watching linear TV has not changed much over the last 20 years.

Top shows such as The Great British Bake-off, The Voice, Coronation Street and other great content are still what UK households congregate around & discuss with friends and family.

Today, there are more than 90 TV services on the FTA DTT platform, including a wide mix of HD content. All of the top 10 and 38 out of the most popular 50 TV channels are all still FTA and, tellingly all of the 40 most watched TV programmes last year were FTA shows. Audiences love free, communal content.

“The coming together of the traditional free-to-air and over-the-top services raises an interesting question, we think, for the old TV model.”

“Perhaps with the exception of premium sports, it’s not hard to imagine a future where many viewers’ needs will be met by a high-quality, universally-available, free-to-air service, augmented by a rich array of over-the-top services.”

“We think it’s quite telling that DTT is used by these hybrid providers as the backbone to do the heavy lifting for the majority of viewing.”

As part of Digital UK and Freeview, Arqiva has backed Freeview Play which is an ideal product for this free and pay-lite world and is now being integrated by almost all TV manufacturers. Freeview Play recently surpassed 1m sales as it continues to evolve and add new features and functionality to serve viewers.

Equally, Youview is performing very well in the market and has recently successfully launched the next generation of its service which is more cloud-based with an enriched User Interface. It is a very impressive service.

In Arqiva’s view, these hybrid products point to a bright future for DTT and demonstrate what can be achieved. They also reinforce the benefits to be had from a successful collaboration across the industry between TV manufacturers, broadcasters, Arqiva and industry bodies such as the DTG.