After having attended this years TV Connect, taking place in London between the 26th and 28th of April we are both inspired and excited for what the future of TV might hold. In our summary of the event we want to share the trends we saw, what this means for operators going forward and how we continue to develop our products to meet these new demands.
Obviously there is a lot going on during an event like this and we won’t be able to convey everything we saw. But, amongst all the exciting things on display ranging from new formats, new devices and new delivery technologies to new partners, services and consumer trends, we would at least like to give you our key takeaways.
Consumer behavior is leading the way
Mobile growth expected to be huge in terms of off-platform commercial opportunities for broadcasters. The rise of TV everywhere is not coming to an end anytime soon. The behavior is constantly growing as consumers want access to the same content during their commute and on vacation in more mature markets. And in emerging ones we see the tendency to have a smartphone where you consume video content without passing the cable TV or computer phase. Something that again reiterates the importance of a diversified offering, including OTT, as well as a consistent user experience and one that is able to adjust to the particular demands of changing devices and screen sizes.
Global vs Local
As operators and new players expand into different geographical markets, being able to offer a good mix between local and global content gets increasingly relevant. For operators this means that there is increasing pressure to be able to add both the latest blockbuster movies and the most recent break out drama series from their home country. Now whether that means through an updated VoD store, the incorporation of strictly OTT players or combination of both remains to be seen. However it is key that the Operators can count on a solid software platform on the client devices, to be able to act quickly, add or change services and backend components (some of them might not even be owned by the operator, if they “onboard” 3rd party OTT services), and keep a consistent unified user experience which does not confuse their subscribers.
4K and HDR
4K / UHD is a reality and the first services are being launched but HDR hasn’t fully hit the market yet, although it is expected to do so in the second half of this year. And will hit the consumers during 2017 (almost all TV sets that will be launched in the US in 2017 will be HDR enabled in some way).
These enhancements are important, but they also include some tricky aspects that require extra attention, careful implementation and extensive testing. 4K content raises the bar for video players in terms of memory management, robustness, stability and there are a lot of discussions about the different HDR standards available in the industry, their (in)compatibility and, more importantly, their backward compatibility with SDR content and the impact it will have on the STB and other devices.
Again, this all points to the need of a reliable client software platform, so that operators can plan their own services without spending time and money on solving technical problems due to hardware fragmentation, different standards and software implementations, which will detract from both the consumer experience and the revenues.
Bigger & Better Data
Although big data has been a buzzword for a while there hasn’t necessarily been a clearly defined way of how this should be utilized and there are still a few issues to resolve before all that data can be made useful. The first one is the lack of monitoring and collection of viewer data in a coherent and managed way. The starting point should be knowing what the consumer is watching, when, how and on what devices.
However, in order for all of that data to make sense and be useful for your business, it needs to be complemented by additional data points such as subscriber data and external third party data. This way, operator can get on a richer and more detailed view of who the consumer is and what his or her preferences are, and how that relates to their viewing pattern and others interests.
To accomplish this you need a platform that starts with the collection of full census data from each device that your customers use to consume video and utilises this data to create actionable insights to help your business. Done right this means a better understanding of who the end consumer is and what they respond to, a better hit rate when sourcing new material and a better and more informed basis for negotiating with content owners.
The Convergence of IPTV and OTT
Video delivery over IP is growing more and more, and the distinction between IPTV and OTT is getting less and less relevant. What counts is being able to deliver video services in different ways, independent of the network, the device or any other constraints.
Again this is possible if operator use a reliable software platform that support all these technologies in a consistent and coherent way, so the end user does not get confused by different apps, different UIs and different ways to access the same content.
Obviously this is just cherry picking but we do hope that you have enjoyed our take on TV Connect 2016 and we look forward to even more exciting demos and impromptu meetings in the ExCel hallway next year.
Marco Frattolin, VP Product Management