At MIPCOM Magine CEO Mattias Hjelmstedt, started with some happy memories of his first gadget (“the ZX Spectrum”) before looking forward to the acceleration of new technologies. “Just looking at the last five years or so, it has been an explosion,” he said. “If we are to look at the world, it’s going faster and faster.”
Hjelmstedt talked about the high expectations that TV viewers have from their devices and apps. Is technology keeping up with those expectations? “Yes and no. In some terms, technology leapfrogs expectations: for example when the first iPhone came out, and when the iPad came out it was the same,”he said.
“But sometimes expectations are far superior to what you can do. It’s technology together with what you’re willing to do with that content, and how far you’re willing to reach with it… I think the consumer expects to be free. I want to see content at the convenience of my time. The thing we have least of today is time… It’s freedom to consume the thing you want at the specific time you want.”
Magine is hoping to reinvent the distribution of television, said Hjelmstedt. “Try to disregard the history: if you created television today, what would it look like?” And he said this comes back to freedom of choice for viewers, whether they’ve switched on the TV and missed the beginning of a show, so want to wind back, or have forgotten to record a show the previous day but still want to watch it.
What will he have in his lap in 10 years time? “I think we’re going to continue going down the path we’re at. I don’t think the big screens are going to go away. We’re going to think more of screens as screens and nothing else, where you’re going to push your content. Things are growing bigger and they’re growing smaller.”
The final two panelists were Michael Turner, EVP of content for Magine, and Carolina Angarita, global CEO of digital agency Ennovva. “We’re probably in the finest era of my lifetime in terms of storytelling in television. It is now trendy to talk about television series,” said Turner. “My children went to see Gravity in a cinema in Barcelona, and there were about nine people there! If you showed the final episode of Breaking Bad in cinemas across Barcelona, they would all be full.”
Angarita said that the term television should be redefined. “Every day here I think that television is something different to what it used to be,” she said. “Television is what you see, and it has to do with personalisation. Television is what you want to see, when you want to see it.” And she added that while advertisers currently separate their television and internet budgets, in the future it will just be one budget: “It’s content.”
Turner talked about Magine as “viewer-designed television… that basic human activity of switch on, what’s on? What’s been on that I want to watch? And tell me something I might want to watch. With those three things, you can’t lose.” And he stressed that it’s vital for the industry to be able to count all these viewers, to ensure the business is sustainable.
Angarita also talked about social media in Latin America where Facebook and Twitter are very strong, and may have a role to play in helping to measure ratings. “Social media is driving a very strong force towards television,” she said, before asking Turner when Magine will launch in Latin America (the answer: there’ll be a beta launch this year).
Turner ended with some stats: Magine currently has around 55,000 users in Sweden, where it launched in April, and Turner estimated that it now has rights to show 95% of TV programmes there, compared to very little at launch. The company is hoping to build on this growth into 2014 and beyond.