Dawn Airey, managing director of Sky Networks, warns that television scheduling will become a dying art as viewers begin to create their own schedule using personal video recorders and broadband television services.

“My worry is that I still don’t think the traditional broadcasting establishment fully understands the scale of the transformation that is taking place. And until they do, commercial terrestrial television as a whole may very well be sleep-walking its way to long-term oblivion,” she said in a Royal Television Society speech.

It follows comments from Ofcom chairman Lord Currie at another RTS event warning that “The current order is changing – quickly – and bringing with it an unprecedented challenge for traditional linear television broadcasting” with an impending collision between broadcast and broadband delivery.

Giving the Fleming Memorial Lecture, Television and the Digital Future, he said “The rapid growth of first multi-channel, then digital, then PVRs and soon higher-speed broadband are simply the pre-tremors of the real volcanic eruption that technology is about to unleash. When it blows, frankly, it will be too late to run.”

“Over the next decade, audiences will move away from the linear, scheduled world where there is a relatively limited number of distributors who push their content at the viewer – a world where traditionally you got what the broadcaster wanted you to get – and the regulator allowed the broadcaster to give to you.”

“We will instead enter a world where content is increasingly delivered through internet-protocol-based networks that are non-linear, on-demand and entirely self-scheduled. In that world, the viewer – not the broadcaster – will decide what is consumed and how.”