The Metaverse Threat: 'TV Will Die with Its Audience'

Platforms like Roblox have already taken kids away from TV, with half of 9-12-year-olds using it at least once a week Lionel BONAVENTURE AFP
Platforms like Roblox have already taken kids away from TV, with half of 9-12-year-olds using it at least once a week Lionel BONAVENTURE AFP
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The Metaverse Threat: 'TV Will Die with Its Audience'

Platforms like Roblox have already taken kids away from TV, with half of 9-12-year-olds using it at least once a week Lionel BONAVENTURE AFP
Platforms like Roblox have already taken kids away from TV, with half of 9-12-year-olds using it at least once a week Lionel BONAVENTURE AFP

TV companies will need to radically adapt themselves to the fast-evolving world of online entertainment if they hope to survive, experts have warned.

Broadcasters are already playing catch-up with online gaming giants in the battle for the attention of young audiences and the advertising dollars that follow.

On the horizon is the so-called "metaverse" -- a loose term covering the growing eco-system of interactive online worlds, games and 3D meeting places that are already attracting millions of users.

While older consumers are still wedded to traditional TV, viewership among under-35s has halved in a decade, according to Statista, and will drop precipitously as the metaverse develops.

"Young people have evolved from passive spectators of TV to active players, and they've turned away from screens to smartphones," said Frederic Cavazza, co-founder of Sysk, a French firm specializing in digital transformation.

"TV channels are going to die with their audiences."

'Part of the story'
To reach young people, broadcasters will have to compete with gaming platforms like Roblox, Fortnite and Minecraft -- seen as precursors to the metaverse -- that are already establishing a dominant position.

Half of all 9-12-year-olds in the US use Roblox at least once a week, according to media research firm Dubit -- doing everything from playing games to watching concerts to just hanging out with friends.

The audiences can be enormous: 33 million people watched rapper Lil Nas X perform on Roblox in 2020 -- more than three times the number that watched him on TV at the Grammys this week.

Broadcasters must choose whether they are sticking with a shrinking market for traditional TV programming, or start bringing their characters and brands into metaverse platforms, said Matthew Warneford, co-founder of Dubit.

"It means bringing people into a world, making them part of the story, playing alongside their friends -- the same way that Disneyland allows you and your friends to be in their world with Mickey Mouse," he said.

'Stay relevant'
TV companies have time to adapt, but they face a major challenge in catering at once to older people watching traditional broadcasts, middle-aged people shifting to streaming and young people wanting interactive and social entertainment.

"If we want to stay relevant, we will have to position ourselves across all these usages," said Kati Bremme, head of innovation for France Televisions.

The national broadcaster is still in research mode, she said, toying with augmented and virtual reality to build immersive cultural and sporting experiences, AFP said.

The biggest challenge, however, may be financial.

Up to now, TV firms have been insulated from tech disruption because their advertising revenue was largely unaffected -- unlike other traditional media like newspapers.

That could change "faster than people realize," said Warneford.

It was previously hard to move TV ads into the gaming world because they were created by individual companies "who locked them down and captured all the value," he said.

But with the more open field of the metaverse, brands will have much more scope to promote themselves and sell goods directly to users.

Indeed, fashion and luxury labels are already making millions selling virtual clothes and accessories on Roblox, Fortnite and other platforms.

"If they want to reach young people, do companies keep going to TV or do they go to where young people actually are -- in gaming and the metaverse?"



Saudi Arabia’s stc Group Boosts Network Capacity in Madinah to Serve Pilgrims

stc significantly expanded its data network capacity in Madinah, exceeding last year's capacity by over 35%. (SPA)
stc significantly expanded its data network capacity in Madinah, exceeding last year's capacity by over 35%. (SPA)
TT

Saudi Arabia’s stc Group Boosts Network Capacity in Madinah to Serve Pilgrims

stc significantly expanded its data network capacity in Madinah, exceeding last year's capacity by over 35%. (SPA)
stc significantly expanded its data network capacity in Madinah, exceeding last year's capacity by over 35%. (SPA)

Saudi Arabia’s stc Group has deployed its technical expertise and digital services to support the thousands of pilgrims visiting Madinah following the Hajj, reported the Saudi Press Agency on Saturday

stc significantly expanded its data network capacity in Madinah, exceeding last year's capacity by over 35%.

This enhancement ensured smooth operation of 5G services, keeping pace with the surging demand for high-speed data. As a result, data traffic volume surged by more than 60% compared to the previous year, building upon the success achieved in Makkah city and the holy sites.

Committed to serving pilgrims, stc played a vital role in facilitating their digital experience. The group meticulously planned for the Hajj season by studying call and data usage patterns in Madinah. It analyzed performance indicators to proactively activate and optimize phone and data services before and during the season.

The comprehensive plan encompassed a thorough inspection of network elements, preventive maintenance, and performance testing to verify network stability. stc analyzed call traffic and data flow patterns to develop contingency plans and ensure network resilience.

stc further expanded its service offerings to enrich the spiritual experience of visitors in Madinah. The group strategically enhanced Wi-Fi access points and implemented internal solutions, aiming to facilitate communication between pilgrims and their families.

This commitment aligns with the Pilgrim Experience Program, a key initiative within Saudi Arabia's Vision 2030, ensuring the highest service quality for all pilgrims.