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|Henry Tan shares MMC stage to talk about Who's coming to the Social Media Party|
|Friday, 04 June 2010 08:11|
Henry Tan is COO of Astro TV and prior to that CEO of GroupM for Malaysia and Singapore. He led MindShare to win the Global Agency of the Year Award. A veteran in the media industry, Media Magazine named Henry the Asia Pacific National Agency Head of the Year.
Since Henry is making a stage appearance at the coming Malaysian Media Conference (MMC), we decided to talk to him earlier and get the heads up on what’s broadcasting…
You guys in Astro are leading the way in technology with your recent sharing on digital audience data measurement technology. I believe the data collected can then be combined with other independent data of the consumers behaviour and profiles to tailor advertising to them. Is this done with the consent of viewers?
Astro continues to explore various technologies to provide return path data. Once we have decided on our technology partner we will recruit people from our customer base. When we do this we will seek their consent.
Maxis recently announced it is poised to become an integrated player in the telco space with all that today’s technology can make possible. Do you see Astro playing the content role in a big way with them, since your companies are related?
We have the content and understand our customers, and will make that content available to our customers in any way they want, be it push or pull. If they want mobility, it is up to them. It does not matter how they get it or whose pipe it is from.
We are no longer only a satellite delivery system, but we have to supplement it and complement it with all other pipes that are available. We believe that with the pipe available, the customer can pull whatever content they wish. You have a menu as an individual, and you can define your needs and the share of your wallet that you would like to spend on certain things. It is about the individual’s choice.
Whenever we look at business opportunities, we always consider first the greater value that it will bring to consumers. Our corporate mantra/tagline is all about “Enriching Lives,” and we take serious responsibility in that.
What sort of Social Media tools are Astro already deploying and will deploy in its ongoing strategy? For example, do you leverage on YouTube?
At Astro we encourage our channels and our people to be where the consumers are.
I am happy to note that they have leverage on the popularity of the social media, and today our consumers can access our content and events on a variety of social media platforms including Facebook and You Tube.
Google and Facebook topped the list of websites visited during the Oscars, just as they did during the Super Bowl and the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics. Do you see television watching behaviour changing in the same way in Malaysia with viewers multitasking with other electronic distractions while watching TV? Especially with the coming World Cup?
Let’s take the Olympics as an example. During the Olympics Games viewers will be watching the games on TV and at the same time, they will be on the Facebook or tweeting about what they saw on TV. All these hype help to generate more conversations for the Olympics on the social media platforms, which in turn will drives viewership back to the TV screen.
While the online presence for key events like the Super Bowl, the Grammy Awards and the Academy Awards is high, more importantly we note that the viewership for these events have enjoyed their largest audience ever.
To quote a recent article in The Economist: ”In the final quarter of 2009 the average American spent almost 37 hours a week watching TV. Earlier this year 116 mil of them saw the Super Bowl - a record for a single programme. Far from being cowed by the new media, TV is colonizing it.”
Shows like American Idol and Britain Got Talent utilize the net to their advantage and viewers are constantly messaging one another about the shows on email, Facebook, Twitter and IM.
If you look at Astro today, more or less of the bulk of Astro is linear TV at home. The good news is that we are evolving quickly to meet a demanding audience towards today’s digital era. Staying as we are on the TV screen today is not an option for us. We have every intention of innovating to maintain our leadership and continue to invest in other screens such as the internet, broadband, interactivity, portability and mobility.
2010 is a huge sports year for us. By far, our offering of the FIFA World Cup 2010 is the biggest to date, where Astro sports customers can access all the 64 matches on TV, online and on mobile. We understand our customers and anticipate their needs, hence we make available all matches on multi screens. For example, the younger generation catching the train home after work, can still catch the live matches on their mobile or their lap top by downloading the Astro B.player apps on their mobile or their lap top.
The Astro B.player app is a new innovative service from Astro B.yond which enables interactivity in the World Cup.
A Google search on the phrase “threat from television” turned up some 500 results, mostly historical. “Threat to television” showed up eight times as many. Is there a misnomer in understanding here?
That is not surprising. I’m sure many of the articles on “threat from television” were written before search engines were even around.
Look, the point is – television was thought as a replacement to radio back in the day, and look at our lifestyle today. Radio is still a very big part of our lives.
Same thing is happening with television and the internet. They are not replacements, only modifiers of the consumer experiences.
Thanks to the internet, access to TV content has exploded. TV content owners, mindful of the collapse of the music and newspaper industries, have been pushing TV into the online world, with much success.
The early fascination with user generated content has faded and we now see a demand for more professional content online. The launch of video playesr like BBC iplayer and Catch up TVs for archived shows has helped to move online TV into the mainstream.
A further development is to integrate the video player with forums and message boards, allowing viewers to rate and comment on what they are watching.
Plus TVC is a reactive media. You turn it on, zap the channel you want and you are already watching your favourite programme. it doesn’t require much effort. Although many of the programmes may be available online, most Malaysian viewers are not going to do the work it takes to find their programmes online.
Many of the content providers are beginning to understand that the way to fight the internet is to not to fight it but blend with it, and make the internet an extension of their brand.
In the same way, Astro B.player online apps which allows consumers to access world cup matches on www.astro.com.my, is an extension of the Astro B.yond experience.
Tell us about the next big thing: Internet Protocol TV (IPTV) and how it will make Social Media more ‘social’?
While TV will continue to play a dominant role in a household, we need to understand that the TV of the future will not be TV as we have known it. Younger audiences are not bound to the idea that the broadcasters control the TV screen. Instead they prefer video on demand, pulling content from different sources as and when they want to.
Today’s younger audiences want a TV experience that offers connectivity, where their TVs or set top boxes are internet enabled. With connectivity comes interactivity, where viewers can engage, purchase, vote and pull additional content. Connectivity and interactivity also allow ‘conversations’ between the broadcaster - the viewer and viewer-to-viewer.
With interactivity, community is also infused into the viewing experience. An IP connected box can give the viewers access to a huge library of content with integrated social networks. While watching a movie, viewers can also interact with one other on the TV screen.