Red Bull reflects on impact of MTV in ’80s as benchmark for change

New media companies can benefit from comparing the requirements for the creation of a global TV operation now with the conditions that prevailed at the time of the creation of MTV in the 1980s, according to Bernard Hafenscher, head of sale sand business development, Red Bull Media House.

“Will digital kill the TV star is the question for today,” said Hafenscher, speaking at the Digital TV World Summit this morning. “When I started, TV was moving from analogue to DVB. Now digital means viewing TV through different devices.”

Hafenscher said that a new generation of media companies like Machinima had risen on the back of the rise of YouTube. “[Machinima] make about US$100 million in advertising on YouTube every year and they are going into talks with Hollywood studios,” he said. “This is an example of the type of new comapny that is rising. Tech companies are driving change.”

Hafenscher said that new entrants including Google, Netflix and Microsoft are also investing in content.

In addition to enabling the entry of new companies, digital media means that traditional content providers need to look at the viewing experience over a much wider range of devices, often with a more complex pattern of behaviour emerging, said Hafenscher. He said that whereas previously media companies could look at TV viewing habits during the day, TV is now complemented by viewing peaks and troughs for tablets, mobile phones and desktops. In the case of the latter ,viewing peaks during the morning, rather than in the evening, for example.

“Today people are watching TV via a family of devices,” said Hafenscher. “All these devices run on software, which means we can build the TV experience on multiple applications. We can sell our content via a shop on iTunes. We can license content to an aggregator that builds the user experience. We can deliver through a web browser or we can build our own app.”

Hafenscher said media companies now had to be concerned about the development of operating systems and whether or not to invest in new platforms. “There is a lot of complexity in this, but we’re researching and building a [picture] of the new distribution model,” said Hafenscher.

Red Bull Media House is looking at different markets and which type of experience to provide on each platform, he said.