Microsoft chairman Bill Gates is predicting a future for the entertainment industry in which the traditional broadcast model of television is rendered irrelevant.
His comments come in an exclusive interview with The Hollywood Reporter, timed to coincide with the launch of the latest release of Microsoft’s Media Center.
Bill Gates says that it is news to no one that broadcast television channels are challenged, arguing that linear schedules are on the way out, albeit slowly.
The challenge comes from multichannel cable and satellite television and devices such as digital video recorders.
Gates argues that the ideal for many content people would be to distribute their own content directly and have a direct relationship with the consumer.
Microsoft has been courting studios and distributors, who are naturally concerned about protecting their intellectual property, and naturally Microsoft is offering the digital rights management of its media technologies as a solution.
Gates also predicts that technology will change the advertising model and enable personalised, targeted advertising. With technology such as internet protocol television, Gates says it is possible to send an individual stream to every home.
While set-top boxes, games boxes and computers are currently very different, Bill Gates argues that this will not be the case in the future.
He refers indirectly to a project being undertaken by ABC through the AFI enhanced television workshop using the Windows Media Center. He says that while this area is “still kind of an unknown… I believe in it totally”.