The opening address of the second session for the day was given by Peter Harris, secretary for the Department of Broadband Communications and the Digital Economy, who discussed the new Convergence Review. He talked about how the NBN will change the paradigm of media delivery in Australia.
“The time has come to examine the regulartory structures that underpin the businesses that deliver services over these networks,” Mr Harris said.
To paraphrase, the impact of technology on the media sector has been stark. We are moving away from the age of the television and towards the age of the intelligent screen. About 20 percent of TVs sold in the US last year were Internet-connected, and a third of US households will have Internet-connected televisions by 2015.
He also talked about the changes in content, and the desire of Telstra and others to get more access to live sports and other big-audience events. Netflix is taking on original content, telstra wants Internet AFL rights, and Hulu is looking at coming into Australia. There are now over 45 million IPTV subscribers in the world, and growth rates of more than 60 percent are being reported in some parts of Asia. He showed Nielsen figures that showed that Internet-connected Australians are watching 1.5 hours of video on mobiles, 2.7 hours of IPTV and 4.2 hours of ‘catch-up’ TV, and 5.5 hours of downloads.
The second presentation was given by Andrew Wilshire, the managing director of consulting company Tomorrow, who talked about convergence as being like a Swiss Army knife that is changing the way that businesses are operating adn allowing the reinvention of business.
He also talked about how the world is being indexed, with the data used to sell value-added services, such as by the website Foodspotting. Abstract business models are emerging that are creating new forms of monetising services. The changes are widespread – price comparison applications and bar-code readers make it easy for consumers to compare retail prices, classified advertising in print has been almost wiped out, and dozens of other industries face similar issues. Other trends include the better use of customer data and the need to stop thinking about owning the supply chain from end to end. Often it is the largest companies that have the greatest resources but have the most trouble with changing – all of this means looking outside for expertise.