viewing platforms and develop a lot of inertia. It’s just
that there’s no one platform anymore.”
That’s not to say that there won’t be players try-
ing to attract those nested viewers. In fact, this year
should bring investments from some of the biggest
names in tech.
“Looking longterm, whether 2018 or beyond, any tra-
ditional content distributor from the MVPD side has to
look at folks like Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Google,
as huge competitors,” Ireland says. “Longterm, not
only is it their focus on original content and funding
original content, it’s what may happen in the years
ahead with respect to sports licensing. Is the Amazon
experiment with NFL this year sort of a precursor to
some years from now, when sports rights contracts
come up for renewal, whether a Facebook and Ama-
zon, an Apple, become bidders for that content? Then,
all of a sudden, that key piece of broadcast television
migrates to those internet giants as well.”
Despite the unending hype on virtual reality (VR)—
it seemed to be everywhere at CES this year—Ireland
sees major obstacles blocking its path to mainstream
consumer adoption. First off, there isn’t a lot of com-
pelling content to watch with VR hardware. There still
isn’t much to watch in 4K and HDR, for that matter.
Next, there’s a lot of fragmentation in the VR market
between headsets and platforms, and the better head-
sets often have large computing requirements. Finally,
when viewers put a VR headset on, they’re no longer
in a communal viewing experience. They can’t even
check their social networks on their phone, as many
do while watching TV. Wait till next year, he says, to
see how VR devices develop. There’s no rush when
there’s so much quality content to watch in 2D on the
large, flat, communal TV screens people already own.
There’s nothing broken with the 2D viewing experi-
ence, so VR is solving a problem that doesn’t exist.
So more content, more platforms, more players, more
offerings. We’ll be getting a lot more of everything in
2018. The only thing we won’t be getting much of is,
Troy Dreier ( email@example.com) is senior associate editor of
Streaming Media and Onlinevideo.net.
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