The iTV Doctor Is In!: Broadcast TV is the Next Pay-TV Distribution Platform

Dear Readers
I was speaking with a friend in the premium television business the other day. Many of you may know that I spent 12 glorious years at Showtime Networks in their formative years, with an astonishing collection of people who defined the business. 
I've always had a soft spot for subscription television distribution. 
We were chatting about my upcoming TVOT San Francisco Panel on June 13th: ATSC 3.0 Super Session. I postulated that this nascent broadcast technology could be a game changer for his business. He wasn't convinced, thinking this was sort of a last-ditch effort for a broadcast television sector that is sliding into oblivion. 
I disagreed. In point of fact local broadcast television has substantial market power and rather amazing nationwide coverage. With the advent of ATSC 3.0, local broadcast "Hometown" television will enable pay-TV distribution that rivals cable and satellite. 
I wrote about Hometown Television in MediaWave recently: 
With massive national reach, we need a reason for station owners and consumers to quickly adopt the ATSC 3.0 technology. And that comes down to product: television product. 
At TVOT 2017, Sinclair Broadcast Group President and CEO Chris Ripley said that with their acquisition of Tribune, Sinclair Broadcasting will reach roughly 90 million TV Households. If a premium service were to use Sinclair's distribution to market a simple linear premium channel (like HBO, Showtime or Starz) for a modest $4.99 monthly fee, a not unreasonable 5% penetration would result in 4.5 million incremental new subscribers. 
That's a quick $270 million in annual subscription revenue. If that linear subscription was used as a marketing tool for upgrades to a full $15/month combined linear and on demand service (with access to the full library of "Game of Thrones," "Homeland" or "Outlander"), you have a subscriber acquisition engine that has real impact. 
The same thing could be done by creating a "Best of Netflix" linear channel featuring only previous seasons of Netflix originals, leaving the current (new) seasons available only with the regular on-demand Netflix subscription. 
And here's a trick: If your service has kids' shows, broadcast those "in the clear" to give parents a reason to go to Target and buy the $19.95 ATSC 3.0 antenna, even if they didn't subscribe. 
But that's just the pay-TV side. 
At our TVOT Panel on June 13th, we will also address other business opportunities presented by ATSC 3.0, including sports gambling. If you want to place a simple win/loss point spread bet on an NFL game, it doesn't matter where (or even whether) you watch the game. 
However, if you want to bet on which wide receiver makes the next catch, you'd better be watching the game on broadcast television. The latency of streaming, cable or satellite transmission of a live sporting event will cause you to lose your money: you're going to bet on #83 making a catch that #82 just made. 
We have a lot to figure out! Join us at The Presidio for TVOT 2018. 
Here's what you'll learn and the people you will hear during our June 13 ATSC 3.0 Super-Session: 
Hawthorn Room
ATSC 3.0 Super-Session
Continuing on the track started at TVOT NYC 2017, we have gathered some of the best and most creative minds in the industry to tell us where ATSC 3.0 is going--and what we all need to do to get there! ATSC 3.0, like our current digital standard, is Over The Air (OTA) television, with serious enhancements: IP-based, secured (having the ability to support, for example, nationwide linear pay-TV channels), and potentially capable of reaching every television set, every tablet, every phone and every car in the US. 
But like all broadcast, it's one-way, with no natural return path. To provide the kind of products and services consumers expect, we need to integrate the ATSC 3.0 broadcast signal with Cable Broadband/WiFi and/or Telco wireless. Easy to say, really complicated to do--particularly when it comes to meeting viewers' demands for single-device experiences. And for the record, our consumers never want to hit the "settings" button on their handheld devices again (and of course it's virtually impossible to figure out "settings" on a smart TV). 
We will once again have two panels: devoted to Technology/Platform and Content/Business respectively. And both will start with the use-case recently made possible by the US Supreme Court: sports betting on broadcast television. Imagine a viewer who wants to place a bet on which wide receiver is going to make a catch on the next play in an NFL game on broadcast television. Fun idea. We'll figure out how to do it, and much, much more!
Panelists for Part One, Technology/Platform (2:55-3:50PM), include:
  • Mark Corl, SVP of Emergent Technology Development, Triveni Digital/Chair, ATSC 3.0 Ad-Hoc Group on Interactive Content
  • Chet Dagit, CEO, Lokita Solutions
  • Kevin Flanagan, Video Solutions Consultant, Google
  • Rick Howe, The iTV Doctor (Moderator)
  • John Lawson, Executive Director, AWARN Alliance
  • Louis Libin, Managing Director of Strategy, HC2 Broadcasting
  • Oren Williams, Industry Partnerships, Dolby Laboratories
Panelists for Part Two, Content/Business (3:50-4:45PM), include:
The full TVOT 2018 Schedule of Sessions can be viewed here:
Purchase your TVOT 2018 tickets here:
North America