2024: The Future of Television


A brand new book from UKTV available from 27th February 2014, with essays from Jon Thoday, Liz Warner, Tony Jordan, Bruce Daisley, Dynamo and more

What will be the hottest TV trends a decade from now? How will we interact with the medium and is there a future for creativity when the need for clear financial returns has never been greater? These are just a few of the questions posed in 2024: The Future of Television, a new book from UKTV which is available free to download.

Ten years ago UKTV published a book of essays that predicted who would be the winners in the broadcast industry in 2014. Now, looking forward to 2024, UKTV looks to luminaries of the media world to explore the development of programme genres, technology, and to predict who will be the winners and losers during the next ten years.

2024: The Future of Television features ten future gazing essays from leading lights working within the very heart of the TV industry - from those at the forefront of new and emerging technologies to producers, agents and talent.

The contributors include the award-winning writer Tony Jordan, Magician Impossible star Dynamo, Twitter MD Bruce Daisley, UKTV Chief Executive Darren Childs, Dawn Airey from Yahoo!, Avalon co-founder Jon Thoday and Cisco's chief futurist Dave Evans.

Commenting on the launch of the book and its contributors, Darren Childs, CEO, UKTV, said

The broadcast industry is undergoing rapid evolution with new technology and changing viewing habits creating a thriving industry that changes on a daily basis. This book assembles a collection of diverse views from creative thinkers within TV and digital media. None of us know with any certainty what the future holds but these essays provide a fascinating insight into the various possible futures that lie ahead.


Tony Jordan is the Managing Director of Red Planet Pictures whose credits include EastEnders, Hustle and Life on Mars. Drawing from his many years experience in creating successful drama, Tony argues that metrics and big data don't help in understanding your audience and that once the commercial side of TV starts to dictate the creative side, it's a sure route for disaster.

Bruce Daisley is the UK Managing Director of Twitter, which has more than 15 million active British users. Having previously worked at Google, he is now building the sales support team so that brands can use Twitter's 'promoted products' to reach customers. He describes the symbiotic relationship between Twitter and TV in the simple phrase

<more tweets equal more ratings.

Dynamo, star of Watch series Magician Impossible, is a magician renowned for his range of tricks, from his subtle sleight of hand to jaw-dropping stunts such as walking on water. He suggests that what's happening to magic on television could be seen as a predictor for the industry as a whole: in his own career, being forced to take the outside curve turned out to be the best route to success, using social media as a marketing tool.

Liz Warner is Chief Executive of the independent production company Betty TV. She argues that there is something faintly unhealthy about TV at present, a reliance on what has worked before, to the detriment of genuinely new and creative programme-making. The cultural middle ground is being squeezed, and there is little to attract young people to make a career in TV.

Justin Gayner is the former creative director and co-founder of entertainment website ChannelFlip. He has a background in traditional media and television, writing for the Daily Telegraph, taking on the role of commercial director of QI Ltd. and producing a number of comedy series for Warner Music Group. He argues that future TV will disappoint vast swathes of the population who crave something more specialised, while traditional TV production is becoming one of the least certain and least satisfying ways of earning a living.

Adrian Letts is Managing Director of blinkbox, the video-on-demand service acquired by Tesco in 2011 in order to boost its digital and entertainment offering, and a former senior executive of Channel 4 and Vodafone. He argues that

media is becoming commerce and commerce is becoming media.

The ever-increasing options facing TV viewers is expanding the market, while retail and non-broadcast businesses are increasingly offering their own media channels in order to engage their customers and build their brand.

Dawn Airey is a consummate TV professional who started her career at ITV as a graduate trainee and eventually became Director of Programme Planning. She went on to work at Channel 4, Channel 5 and BskyB, before moving back to Channel 5 as Chairman and Chief Executive and an executive with its former owners RTL. Recently she moved to Yahoo! as its chief in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. So why did she jump ship from television to go to online? Could it be the ship is sinking?

Dave Evans, Chief Futurist at Cisco Systems, is equal parts blue-sky prognosticator and hands-on builder and tester. On any given day, he might be pondering the social implications of people living to be 200 - 'Your 401k would surely run out?' he muses - or demonstrating a drag-and-drop car dashboard that could be in dealer showrooms in just a few years. His predictions include how the TV of the future will be a portal on your walls or on your mobile, receiving direct from the cloud, or even in your head; actors will be avatars and all programmes will be interactive.

Jon Thoday is the joint founder and Managing Director of Avalon Entertainment Ltd. As a producer, he has been responsible for many successful shows including the multi-BAFTA winning Harry Hill's TV Burp and the RTS and Rose d'Or winning Not Going Out. He is no stranger to negotiations, having sorted out Frank Skinner's £20 million pound move from the BBC to ITV. He argues that the creative future of the UK is in jeopardy, because mainstream TV channels are not allowing enough money and time to be allocated to development.

Darren Childs, CEO of UKTV, has had a prestigious international career in broadcast media spanning two decades. Darren joined UKTV - a joint venture between BBC Worldwide and Scripps Networks Interactive in September 2010. Within two years, UKTV had become the nation's fastest growing television network and last year became the first and only British broadcaster to be recognised by Best Companies. UKTV's entertainment channel, Dave also became the most watched non-PSB channel in the UK.

UKTV has committed an investment of over £110m a year in content whilst recent financial results showed a record-breaking year-end revenue of £262m, and operating profit of £71m. UKTV has a truly innovative model, curating brand-defining commissions, high-profile acquisitions and the very best of BBC and Channel 4 content, embracing technology to deliver inspired channels to audiences through Freeview, Sky, Virgin Media, BT Vision, TalkTalk, YouView, plus direct On Demand digital services.

Earlier in his career, Darren spent several years in Asia, first as Director of Programming for MTV Asia and then as Director of Business Development at Channel V, part of the STAR TV platform. He was Senior Vice President International Networks for Sony Pictures Television International (SPTI), and he has sat on the board of HBO Europe and Viva. Immediately before joining UKTV, he was Managing Director of BBC Worldwide Channels, overseeing a portfolio of international brands including BBC America.

In commissioning these thought leadership essays, Darren hopes we can gain insight into different potential futures facing broadcasting over the next ten years.

2024: The Future of Television, commissioned by UKTV's CEO, Darren Childs, is available for free download on 27th February.

ISBN number: 978-0-9566561-2-4. Full and abridged essay texts are available for publication. Exclusive hard copies of the book are available upon request.

SELECTED HIGHLIGHTS of 2024: The Future of Television

Tony Jordan - Let me tell you a story

'If you believe that data is king, and consequently plan with the intention of making those pie charts look right, you are doomed to fail.'

Justin Gayner - Start your own television channel: 'We have hardly scratched the surface of niche audiences. Do I think there is a great little business delivering premium content to carp fisherman' Yes: consider the money anglers spend on tackle and rods and access to the right place to fish, and their thirst to know what is happening next season.'

Liz Warner - Too much of what we like is not always good for us: 'We have been the most creatively fertile TV community in the world... for that reputation to continue, we need to pile some more manure on the creative patch, investing in ideas, and accepting that some will fail. Innovation comes from throwing five things at the wall to see which one will stick.'

Dynamo - Sitting on the future's edge: 'Because I couldn't get anyone at the TV companies to listen to me, I had to do it my own way, getting my friends to film me, learning as we went along how to make the effects we wanted. Being forced to take the outside curve turned out in the end to be the best route to success, so that the TV companies ended up coming to me.'

Dawn Airey - What television can learn from Yahoo: 'Yahoo has a precise ability to know its individual users, in a way that TV can't: television has made the major investment in content, but it is online companies who have invested in the powerful machines and apps that enable us to understand the consumer journey.'

Adrian Letts - Media becomes commerce, and commerce becomes media: 'Increasingly, mobile devices are likely to be where you discover what interests you, and then you will transfer that to the big screen, for the family to get together and share viewing. The domestic TV set becomes a home cinema screen, the follower rather than the leader of trends.'

Bruce Daisley - Television and the 'tweet spot': 'The hashtag on Twitter is a campfire around which people gather to tell stories. ... Smart TV shows are putting their shows hashtags on screen to say, Here is our campfire; come join us and share stories, tell jokes, be more involved.'

Dave Evans - Predictions from a Chief Futurist: 'Soon we will be able routinely to augment casts with virtual actors so lifelike they will be indistinguishable from a living, breathing human. ... A virtual actor can do stunts a real actor can't; they can be killed or dismembered and come back to life. My bet is that within two decades, a virtual actor will win an Oscar.'

Jon Thoday - Rolling the dice on talent: 'I have always believed that in the entertainment business, it's vital to separate business from creativity. Whenever I've failed to follow that principle, I've regretted it. Early in my career I had two big flops that taught me you should never let yourself get into the situation where you have to produce something simply to pay the bills.'


For more information contact:

Zoe Clapp, Communications Director

About UKTV

UKTV is the multi-award winning media company that reaches over 42 million viewers per month.

UKTV's ten imaginative channel brands - Watch, Dave, Gold, Alibi, Eden, Yesterday, Drama, Really, Home and Good Food - include the most watched non-PSB channel, the most watched channel in the Factual genre and the most watched channels in the Lifestyle genre (Pay and Free). The company's most recent financial results showed a record-breaking year-end revenue of £262m, and operating profit at £71m.

UKTV has a truly innovative model, curating brand-defining commissions, high-profile acquisitions and the very best of BBC and Channel 4 content, and embracing technology to deliver inspired channels to audiences through Freeview, Sky, Virgin Media, BT Vision, TalkTalk, YouView, plus direct On Demand digital services. The network distributes its highly valued programmes to 200 territories around the world and supplies Sky with more hours of HD content than anyone else.

Now celebrating its 21st year at the forefront of digital television, UKTV - an independent commercial joint venture between BBC Worldwide and Scripps Networks Interactive, Inc. (SNI) - is proud to be the only British broadcaster to be recognised by Best Companies.

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