This webinar explored how multiscreen consumption is changing, how new operations paradigms that reduce barriers-to-entry can be deployed to address them, and how to monetize multiscreen more effectively through syndication and online advertising.
This webinar was recorded on July 6th, 2016. You can download the slides from the webinar via this link
Dr. Daniel Hesselbarth, Product Innovations TV & Broadband, Unitymedia Kabel
Q&A from the live webinar
Our speakers have generously answered questions from the live webcast below that were missed due to lack of time.
Q: With the advent of HEVC and AV1 codecs, how do you see them impacting the unity of playback?Matt Smith: HEVC and AV1 are clearly improvements on AVC and the compression schemes that have come before them. As compression improves and the industry iterates and moves toward new delivery methodology, we are dependent on the devices on which this content can be consumed. This means that device manufacturers must decide to implement said codecs. Today, we have fantastic penetration of H.264 across smartphones, tablets and set top devices. We know how they perform on these devices, how much power they consume and more. These considerations impact how quickly the market can move to new schemes. This will happen for HEVC and AV1 over time.
Q: Since Multiscreen and OTT delivery have more latency, how do you see that impacting the users acceptance for live events?Matt Smith: An inherent byproduct of OTT delivery is the latency seen when viewing live events. Most of this is a function of the content delivery network (CDN) and the connection the viewer is watching on. In a broadcast facility, the signal is converted to its digital form with no additional latency introduced. Most viewers are able to consume the content live with latency of less than one minute. In some specialized use cases where off track betting or bidding is at play, customized solutions that reduce this latency can be applied.
Q: How do you address ad-blocking in a multiscreen world ?
Matt Smith: Ad blocking can absolutely be overcome in an OTT multiscreen world. OTT streams have been defeating ad blockers for more than two years, using cloud based, server side stitching. This
approach presents the program and adverts as one contiguous stream to whatever player client is being targeted (iOS, Android, Roku, Apple TV, etc.) so that an ad blocker can’t ‘see’ any switch between content types as they can with client side ad replacement. Further, the stream fragments and manifest are encrypted, further obscuring operations and any visibility by an ad blocker.
Q: Do you have any numbers related to A-Vod service growth compared to S-VOD or T-VOD?
Richard Broughton: Yes: it varies significantly by market. In the UK, for instance the SVoD and A-VoD markets are roughly neck-and-neck, in the US and Scandinavia, SVoD is substantially further ahead of A-VoD. In most of the rest of Europe, A-VoD is ahead. SVoD is much less fragmented, with typically 2-4 services constituting the vast majority of revenue, while A-VoD is fragmented between YouTube, catch-up services, news-group video, and a whole host of other video services. T-VoD is a much smaller proportion of the market – we don’t see digital retail and rental as being particularly significant longer term (to studio groups certainly, but not to the wider market). Consumers have showed consistently that subscription and ad-funded business models are preferable, and that trajectory appears to be set in stone.
Q: In UK EE Set top box has a multi tuner/recorder capability as an hybrid deployment – is this the best offering for consumers?
Richard Broughton: I think it was briefly touched on during the webex, but basically DVRs are a short cut to giving consumers the ability to catch-up on missed content without having to clear rights for each and every piece of content broadcast. So this sort of hybrid box fulfils a number of requirements – access to core broadcast channels, some catch-up ability through DVR, and IP access to major on-demand services.
Q: How do you expect Eurosport to market its Bundesliga rights? will they use Eurosport 2 or go OTT or do both?
Richard Broughton: Good question. I think it remains difficult for channel groups acquiring high-value rights to entirely bypass pay TV (just yet – although it may not be long!); however there is certainly appetite for channel groups to explore D2C – Eurosport launched a new version of Eurosport Player last year, which already provides subscription access to content including MotoGP, LeMans and various other sports. It really depends on the level of pushback from operator affiliates, and whether Discovery feels that it can gain sufficient new subscribers to offset the cost impact of the Bundesliga rights. Eurosport spent (by our estimates) about (+/-)€150m per season. To monetise through OTT alone, that would equate to 2-3m subscribers at current pricepoints. I suspect therefore a mixture of broadcast/affiliate and OTT is most likely.
Q: Is there any point in the future where linear transmission will cease to exist – where, like mobile phones, consumers download channels like apps, and where exhibitor revenues will be split into two streams: subscription and ad-driven?
Richard Broughton: Linear transmission will always be needed for live events – sports, events etc. – and broadcast is often substantially more efficient cost-wise than unicast for this type of content (certainly for the near to mid-term). Whether certain types of broadcast technology are required longer term is an interesting question though. For certain markets, one might imagine that when broadband coverage reaches near 100%, there might be an argument to shift public access TV to multicast IP-delivered and re-use DTT spectrum for other means. But linear channel distribution in some format will certainly be around for the foreseeable future.
Q: How do you measure OTT ad impression / ad revenue compared to broadcast within the cable industry? Nielsen, Comsore? is there a european instance to measure ad-impressions? as of today it is different for each country on the broadcast side
Richard Broughton: This is the ongoing challenge for the online video sector – how do you measure impressions. In some respects, OTT services have better visibility – they know when a stream is started, stopped, exactly how many were delivered etc. But unlike panel-based methods, they don’t necessarily know how many people are watching each stream (increasingly important now streams are delivered to the TV set), whether the stream is actually viewed, they don’t necessarily know the demography of the consumers (although some broadcasters like Channel 4 in the UK have a registration mechanism which is helping. Lastly, there are question marks around whether companies should treat ad impressions on mobile, tablet, TV as equivalent – what’s the conversion into consumer actions? At the moment, there are both country-level initiatives for reconciling live and on-demand and measurement company-led initiatives. Nobody seems to have cracked the formula yet.
Daniel H: This is one of the obstacles I addressed during the webinar: we need a cultural change in the established TV Advertising industry wrt a) moving away from linear as “the currency” in TV and finding pan-Europpean or international mechanisms to measure ad impressions. Change is happening, but pace needs to increase.
Q: Has Unitymedia’s integration of the Maxdome SVOD service onto its STB platform been a success?
Daniel H: Yes, it has, being the first deep integration of a large SVOD offering into an operator’s platform. Maxdome is one of the largest SVOD offerings in Germany; it is now integrated in Unitymedia’s platform meaning it is part of global search, content recommendations and overall offering and makes the access to those contents much more straightforward and integrated in linear TV viewing, which is the learned behavior for the majority of our customers.
Q: What is the best balance between linear channels and VOD product in current OTT offers? What is ideal proposal (existing or ‘dream offer’)
Daniel H: Good question, for which there is not a single answer. It depends very much on market, target group, proposition. It all about elegant presentation of relevant content, whether this is linear of on demand is less important.
SECTION ONE: How multiscreen consumption is changing
What are the major developments in multiscreen consumption in Europe? Is the ‘digital-first’ trend spreading outwards from millennials? How are genre preferences changing, and what role is social media playing?
SECTION TWO: The new deployment and operations paradigm
Is it becoming easier to bring online/multiscreen services to market? What are the relevant technologies involved? Are cloud-based solutions best? What is the significance of ‘live-to-VOD’?
SECTION THREE: Monetizing multiscreen more effectively through syndication and online advertising
What are the business benefits of syndication, and what technologies are required? How can multiscreen infrastructures be adapted to monetize advertising more effectively? Is online video advertising converging with or diverging from traditional linear TV advertising?
Audience Q&A will be welcome and encourage throughout the one hour webinar.