Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Digital Transit-TV

The potential for the digital new media industry to become a potent economic growth sector globally and specifically in Malaysia is tremendous. Global demand for content alone, within the context of a converging environment — the convergence of communications, computing and content — is estimated to be worth an approximate US$1.4 trillion by 2011.

This has given rise to a new hybrid industry, an integration of technology and creativity, which relies on human creativity as the ultimate economic resource. This is the world of the digital new media. Malaysia is no exception in recognising this formidable new growth area.

The challenge has always been to develop this industry in a proper manner, and the right way was to create an environment that allows the creative juices to flow. Technology has much to do with this, for example the introduction of Digital Media Broadcasting direct into vital sectors such as the Public Transportation industry.

With the increasing volume of commuters, there are endless possibilities as to how the media can be leveraged on to benefit commuters as well as the government and private industries.

Here, media companies such as Asia Media Sdn. Bhd. is set to play an instrumental role, focusing not only on the commercial aspects of media advertising, but also providing a service to the public or community by sourcing out government advertisements and announcements. This serves to update and educate the society on what’s happening in the community and to ease the government to convey their messages to the society.

Why go Digital?

Digital TV in Malaysia started way back in 2005. According to the national TV digitalisation plan, all existing analogue TV systems will be migrated to digital TV system by 2015. The migration process is a very challenging task for our government, especially the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) since it heavily involves the mass public as well as & broadcaster‘s interests.

However, it is a must do task that can only be delayed, not avoided. First world countries like Germany, USA, and Japan have already migrated to digital TV systems. Analog Broadcasting is being out-phased by most governments in Europe and in the United States. Some countries in Europe have already stopped analogue transmission altogether and completed the switch-over to digital broadcasting.

The Benefits of Digital Broadcasting

Apart from the obvious of getting much better picture and sound quality, DVB occupies less spectrum space. Therefore it is more efficient and can accommodate more TV channels. If you look at the diagram below, one UHF channel can accommodate 4 DVB channels under MPEG 2 compression. If MPEG4 compression is used, the number of channels can be increased to 8. The same spectrum that used to serve one analog channel can now be increased used to 4 or 8 digital channels, depending on configuration.

The migration to digital TV will free up lots of analogue frequencies and eventually give the opportunities to other broadcasters to showcase their dedicated programmes. In the near future, we will have not only Malaysian news, but also, shopping TV, tourism TV, state TV & so much more.

The application of Digital TV can be divided into 3 sectors. One of these is a dedicated digital TV channel for moving vehicles. But how is it different from any others? According to MCMC, they have streamlined the digital TV specifications for home. In general, home TV signals are received via fixed antenna or the signal can be diverted from elsewhere using proper cabling (such as apartment MATV systems).

We have the Home TV, which includes both free-to-air transmissions as well as satellite TV. One of the benefits of DVB for home users is the fixed reception signal which can piped HD content.

And we have mobile TV, which are handheld and portable devices. Some mobile handsets have built in digital tuners; the downside is that it drains the battery pretty quickly. Apart from that the screen is small, imagine trying to watch LIVE football on a hand-phone screen; you won’t be able to see the ball, we cannot make the ball bigger so the only way is to make the screen bigger.

In general, home TV broadcasters will not bother about the detail of coverage since the signal can always be diverted from elsewhere with cable. Mobile TV operator will not bother about screen resolutions. To the players who provide Digital Media Broadcasting to moving vehicles, it is vital to operate their own network to ensure the service reception quality for all moving vehicles within a specific coverage area.

This model of operations has been proven successful in many countries. With proper planning, the signal can be received even in Light Rail Transit (LRT) in tunnels. Transit TV using DVB can receive transmissions, even while travelling at high speeds of up to 200km/h.

Advertisers have already seen a dramatic increase in their ability to reach their audiences using this highly targeted and effective media. Performance metrics include a 70% increase in unaided recall, over 10% sales lift on product or service revenues and 2-3% increase in shopping basket size. These increases are driven by the compelling value propositions of out-of-home Transit-TV digital media.

The market oriented Transit-TV network enables an advertiser to show a different ad for the same brand for different locations to target a different audience.

For example, a job agency advertisement could carry a different job position offer to someone stay in Klang Valley and an entirely different position to a person who stay in Johor Bahru. Similarly, fast food ad could advertise breakfast set in the morning and dinner set in the late afternoon.

Out-of-home Transit-TV media is an extremely dynamic media, so it does not make sense to use existing magazine ads or TV spots for this media. However, one does not need to create an entirely new content for this media.

The key is to adapt existing assets from content library to bring out the interactivity in the message. For example, one can extract 5 seconds of content out of a 30 second TV spot or animate an existing magazine ad to create a very compelling ad for the media.

This enables the advertisers and agency to ensure the continuity of their brand message, reduce the cost of creating content for this medium, and reduce the cycle time for airing.

Transit-TV is a captive medium and affords the chance to clearly articulate the brand value proposition and provide a call to action such as visiting a web site, trying the product today in the retail point, calling now to make a reservation or texting to a destination for additional information.

Out-of-home Transit-TV media is clearly a fast growing and productive advertising vehicle. But without good quality content, advertisers risk de-branding their product, while seeing less than expected results from the campaign.

However, by following the principles outlined above, an advertiser can develop cost effective content in order to make Transit-TV media an essential and efficient component of their media mix.

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