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NBN means new opportunities, challenges for online TV: ABC

ABC TV is looking at several redevelopment projects for its digital platform.

ABC TV is looking at extending its digital platform to streaming live television to internet users and mobile devices.

Sally O'Donoghue, manager, iview and internet broadcasting at ABC TV, told Computerworld Australia that the National Broadband Network (NBN) will help facilitate an increased usage of iview, with ABC TV looking at expanding several aspects of its online TV platform.

“The upward trend in audiences discovering and watching ABC TV through our websites, apps and IPTV services will be further propelled by high-speed broadband [being] available everywhere. Hybrid services that seamlessly combine free-to-air broadcasts with IP delivered video on demand and catch-up will become more common,” she said.

“Streaming ABC TV channels live online and on connected platforms is another possibility that will be assessed [at ABC TV in the future].”

Currently ABC TV broadcasts only one live program – ABC News 24 – to TVs, mobiles and online.

The broadcaster is also looking at other redevelopment projects for its digital platform. For example, making iview easier for consumers to navigate on televisions and developing further interactive online content on tablets and mobiles for children. It is also developing a dual screen app that would allow consumers to watch live broadcasts and interact with social media at the same time by synchronising television broadcasts with what appears on tablets.

However, O’Donoghue said there were several challenges ahead for ABC TV’s digital platform in the next 12 months, including changing consumer behaviour and growing consumer expectations.

“What will become most important is meeting audience expectation[s] by not delaying the availability of programs and to provide a slate of quality TV programming that can stand up to anything else available on the web,” she said.

The expanding personal device market will also be challenging and adapting content to devices with different screen sizes and resolutions, O'Donoghue said.

In June this year ABC TV launched iview for Apple products, including iPhones, iPod Touches and iPads on 3G networks.

However, O’Donoghue has previously stated developing for Google's Android platform has proven challenging.

While ABC TV is working towards implementing iview in HTML5 for cross-device compatibility, a launch date has not yet been set for iview for Androids.

“In addition to this, there is the challenge of meeting the rapid changes in user behaviour for using two screens while watching TV, for mobile viewing when on the move and for wanting to share and recommend TV experiences with others,” O’Donoghue said. “Also, with newer big screen televisions that are capable of very high resolutions and high-speed broadband facilitating HD video, there is also the considerable challenge of funding higher-quality video streaming via iview and our websites.”

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