Facebook will be the leading distributor of media by the year 2020, according to Dharmash Mistry, partner at former Bebo investor Balderton Capital.
Speaking at Red Bee Media’s Tomorrow Calling event last night (27 September) in London, Dharmash said Facebook is a “twin power” to Google in terms of traffic and is fast becoming a core online content destination.
Balderton Capital was a major investor in social network Bebo before selling it to AOL for $850m (£543m). Dharmash said Facebook has outpaced other social networks, including Bebo and MySpace, which have been subject to a drop in consumer loyalty.
“Facebook is the social layer of the web and it has cleverly identified itself as a place for real people to interact – not virtual people like with MySpace,” he said. “It has become ubiquitous.”
The panel, hosted by BBC NewsWatch presenter Raymond Snoddy, centred on the topic of how the media and TV landscape will have evolved by 2020. Companies represented on the panel included Google, Virgin Media, FremantleMedia, Cisco and Red Bee Media.
The rise of the multi-screen TV viewing experience was also a topic under discussion. Panelists challenged the notion that the TV set will remain the primary screen in the future, believing instead that it will be on equal footing with what are currently seen as secondary and tertiary screens, such as PCs, tablets and mobiles.
However, Google’s director of sales for YouTube and Google Display Bruce Daisley (pictured) said young people may already be challenging this structure. “Which screen do young people really see as the secondary device?” he said.
This was echoed by Cisco’s director of strategic initiatives John Bishop. “By 2020, TV will no longer have the primary screen moniker,” he said. “There will be no second-class screen or TV experience, and all screens will be equal in terms of video quality.”
FremantleMedia’s senior executive VP of worldwide drama and its central digital division FMX Claire Tavernier said one of the challenges in the coming years will centre on ensuring content rights issues are watertight. She said TV content rights issues haven’t caught up with the speed of technological developments, the latter of which are likely to facilitate content piracy. “That’s a big issue and will take years to remedy,” she added.