BBC says TV is Having its ‘Kodak Moment’: Broadcaster warns operators not to protect core business at expense of innovation.

Commentary, Disruption, Frontier Centre

The BBC on Thursday used Kodak's recent Chapter 11 filing to send a warning to service providers: do not fall into the trap of marginalising innovative technologies over fears it will cannibalise your core business.

The camera manufacturer was the first to develop a digital camera. However, as global BBC iPlayer general manager Matthew Littleford explained, Kodak's biggest single revenue driver at the time was sales of chemicals used in photographic film.

"How could a company which invented the digital camera have gone bankrupt?" he asked during IP&TV World Forum. "Well, they came up with the idea and that idea was rejected by the owners because they feared it would cannibalise their core business.

"They didn't cannibalise their core business but the rest of the market did," he said.

Littleford equated the invention of the first digital camera to video-on-demand (VoD), and cautioned content providers to avoid repeating Kodak's mistake.

"We're having our Kodak moment right now, and we don't want to be the guys that invent the future of television then decide that we'd rather pretend it really wasn't happening," he said.

However, unlike the digital cameras that replaced mass market film cameras, Littleford sees VoD services as a complementary addition to traditional linear content, rather than a replacement.

"Linear television definitely isn't dead, far from it, and I'm not saying that traditional television is going to disappear tomorrow or even in 10 years time," he said. "But what I am saying is that alternatives to linear are already here."