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Who can resist more than 5.000 billion people captive in a global digital space without borders?

Edgar Morin said, in his essay The Head on the Right Place, that human nature had two dimensions: the natural and the cultural; The cultural part starts from the territory where the human being, as a bearer of culture, makes his life, relates socially, acts, transforms and adapts; where his behaviors, aspirations, and customs are born; where he develops his science, his technology and his popular knowledge; from where he contemplates and explains life, the world and the universe. In this cultural dimension, ethical and moral, social, economic and political values ​​are created, transmitted, established and shared; imaginaries, symbolic universes, identity, memory are shared.

With the development of electronic and digital technology, this cultural dimension is split into a physical cultural dimension and a digital cultural dimension; Meanwhile, the first is tied to the territory, to its political-territorial division, to its environment, to its history; the other, was born first with the Internet, 1969, a network of networks - a digital space with global reach, independent, free and neutral for exchange between equals -, later, with the appearance and popularization of the world wide web, 1992, the The use of this network of networks quickly moved from the academic field to the commercial field, it became a very powerful expression of the market economy, deploying its commercial and economic potential, maintaining its global reach without borders but diversifying in options.

Today, in just three decades this digital cultural dimension has been transformed into multiple digital spaces in the form of general and thematic social media (social networks + content dissemination media); in the form of new digital platforms to generate and share content, in different formats, such as: YouTube, Spotify, Soundcloud, blogspots, Instagram, Facebook, Whatsapp, TikTok, Netflix, iTunes, Google Podcast, Apple Podcast, among many others; in the form of new digital platforms for social relations of commercial and financial intermediation, such as: Amazon, Paypal, Alibaba; With less force and magnitude, digital platforms for education, teleworking and collaborative work also emerge.

We are living in parallel in several cultural dimensions, which sometimes complement each other, and other times compete with each other, with national, regional and global scope. Without forgetting the natural dimension, where life occurs and is sustained, from where the natural resources necessary for the operation of this digital space are also obtained, a dimension that subordinates the other two cultural dimensions.

Who can resist more than 5.000 million people captive in a global digital space without borders?, a virgin and fertile territory, which represents a potential audience, population, voters, users, consumers, clients, however they see themselves, It is still interesting, attractive, an incentive for politicians, investors, businessmen, idealists.

However, this digital cultural dimension is also in conflict, in competition, in turbulence, in effervescence and in transformation; On the one hand, there are the 5.400 billion internet users (ITU-F&F 2023) like the great umbrella, the cyberspace that integrates them, on the other hand, there are the 5.070 billion social media users (GSMS, data April 2024) in private digital spaces ‒ of massive and global use, free access, but with conditions of use and privacy policy ‒, and finally there are 2.600 billion people in the world who are both outside the internet and social media (ITU-F&F 2023). It is undoubtedly an attractive scenario but also complex and risky.

To understand the complexity of this digital cultural dimension with simplicity, without entering into technical jargon, let's imagine a multi-story building where the staff of an entire organization "Digital Spaces" is housed: on the first floors are located the support units of “Basic Services”, such as: purchasing, maintenance, internal and external messaging, administration, human talent management, general services, transportation, telecommunications and information technology; On the upper floors that follow are the strategic units of the company that we will call “Internet”, where network services and connection services are offered; On the following floors, the “OTT Services” business units are housed. Between each contiguous unit there is a relationship of descending dependence, that is, the one above depends on the one below and so on; Thus, the “OTT Services” business units depend on the “Internet” strategic units and the “Internet” strategic units depend on the “Basic Services” support units. And if that were not enough, the entire building of the “Digital Spaces” organization depends on the public services provided by urban planning, such as: water, electricity and telecommunications. As you can see, no matter how virtual and detached the digital world may seem, it is tied to the physical world.

All the innovations in cutting-edge technologies that are projected, which constitute the so-called digital transformation, have the Internet as a substrate or depend on it, they are the so-called “Over The Top” (OTT) application layers that are mounted on the Internet; from Generative Artificial Intelligence with its models, uses and applications; going through cryptocurrencies and the use of block chain technologies and their possibilities for new commercial and financial intermediation between peers; the metaverse, augmented and virtual reality and web3.0; the internet of things (IoT), the smart city and home; autonomous vehicles, among many other promises. All roads lead to the internet!

Some questions seeking answers

Before continuing, given the diversity of perspectives and interests that the topic raises, we are going to focus in this writing only on the participants, established and incoming businessmen, of television and its consumers, users, clients. That is, cable and satellite subscription TV service providers, open-signal TV operators and streaming TV service providers that have all the technological platforms on the market to reach consumers, users and clients.

What added value do social media and digital platforms offer for TV broadcasting compared to cable, satellite and open signal TV? What is the difference between implementing an (online) TV streaming solution directly on the Internet and another in a social media or private digital platform? To what extent do these options improve the experience of the user, consumer, client?

What are the limitations faced by a TV solution in the digital space?

How far can the operator go for an adequate TV rate in the digital space, be it Internet or through third parties, and how far can the customer pay?

Will TV services recover advertising revenue?

Will streaming TV services be regulated in countries?

Data to clarify the horizon

Numbers don't lie but they can confuse

.-Previously mentioned the 5.4000 billion Internet users and the 5.070 billion social media users, according to Global Social Media Statistics (GSMS), 9 out of 10 Internet users have an account on social networks which could explain the difference . But, according to the same source, Internet users use or visit, on average, 6,7 different social media or social platforms. With which, it is inferred that these 5.070 billion social media users are spread across various social media around the world. Of these, seven already exceed one billion monthly active users and are, in millions: Facebook with 3.065, YouTube with 2.504, WhatsApp and Instagram with 2.000 each, TikTok with the potential to reach 1.582, WeChat with 1.343 and Facebook Messenger with a potential to reach 1.010. These seven add up to 13.504 social media users, that is, they are counted several times, they are repeated.(GSMS, data April 2024). The competition is high.

.-Daily hours dedicated

According to GSMS, until April 2024, 2 hours 20 minutes were dedicated to social media daily, this contrasts with the 6 hours 40 minutes daily dedicated to the internet (Statista, third quarter 2023), an increase of just 21 minutes since the third quarter of 2015, in those 9 years the average has been 6 hours 41 minutes, that is, there has been little growth, like the ceiling has been reached? Furthermore, these 6 hours and 40 minutes, on average, are divided into 2 hours 20 minutes on social media, 1 hour 25 minutes streaming music, 1 hour and 2 minutes using the game console, 49 minutes listening to podcasts. Most of these hours (3 hours 50 minutes) are consumed on the smartphone (comparetech). If it is contrasted with the daily hours dedicated to TV, traditional (Open, cable or satellite) 1 hour 53 minutes and online (streaming) 1 hour 35 minutes; 1 hour 1 minute dedicated to the open signal Radio of (data 2022, Screen Voice), it doesn't seem so much that he is dedicated to social media, but rather that the lion is not as ferocious as he is painted!

If the aspirations of private digital platforms and social media are to become digital spaces where all the innovations in cutting-edge technologies and possible businesses are concentrated, there is still a long way to go. Competition between social media is strong, however, technology companies Meta, Google, WeChat and TikTok are among the first. Curious Apple, Microsoft and Amazon are not in this race.

.-Where would a feasible pay TV rate be?

It is difficult to know, but let's see, in the case of online TV or streaming, this income will be subordinated to the broadband, fixed and mobile access rate. According to the ITU report Measuring digital development: facts and figures 2023 (ITU-2023), the global affordable rate for mobile broadband (2GB) was, for 2022, 1,5% of GDP per capita (WB data), equivalent to US $15,85 per month; for fixed broadband (5GB), 3,2% of GDP per capita, 2022, which would be equivalent to US $33,83. The online TV service should look for the highest ceiling, and then establish its rate as a portion of it. The cited ITU report reminds us that 83% of internet traffic is taxed by fixed broadband accounts. To have an idea, the average income per pay TV or subscription TV user in the Latin American and Caribbean region was, for 2019, US $16 and the trend was downward (Statista-2023).

What to do?

.-For those who are a pay TV, satellite or cable service provider or open signal TV operator, it is recommended not to have too many expectations with online TV or streaming, these solutions have many real obstacles to overcome. A signal also for the investor.

.-Create your own applications (apps) on the Internet just to improve the experiences of your users, clients and consumers, perhaps, complementing your service with channels to improve the management of relationships with them, add a marketing channel and/or marketing or adding facilities that improve the selection of content or expand it with relevant and updated information.

.-We suggest a free option for all internet users and a premium option for pay TV subscribers.

Traditional TV, daily programming, has not died, why?

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