Tom Morrod at IHS Markit has highlighted how a Netflix pivot means the company has the same challenge as Disney, Discovery and Fox: gaining the widest reach possible. And while some content owners want to develop their direct-to-consumer offers, Netflix is travelling in the opposite direction, embracing the Pay TV platforms as bundling partners. While Netflix fights in a high reach but low ARPU category of media firms, Amazon keeps different company among the technology ecosystem providers seeking much higher ARPUs (though not necessarily from video).
ProSiebenSat.1 Media used to provide its seven ad-supported channels and catch-up via the 7TV streaming service, but in October last year Discovery Communications added its content as part of a joint-venture, and Sport.1 and Axel Springer came onboard this week. The ambition is to develop a broadcaster-friendly online platform where all German channels, producers and studios can reach a broad demographic under one roof. 7TV is viewed as a counter-weight to the U.S. giants Netflix and Amazon Prime.
The DVB is working on a new specification called DVB-I that will try to replicate the classic linear TV channel experience but via broadband. The idea is that you will not have to launch apps, and content owners will not have to support multiple vertical app/device ecosystems. Device owners will never find that an otherwise good CE receiver is obsolete because either the app provider stopped supporting the device, or the device maker stopped supporting the app.
Two experts view the new European data regulation, which comes into force this Spring, as an opportunity to deepen the bond between service providers and their subscribers. This is a chance to differentiate a business. Liberty Global wants to establish a consenting data relationship that is better than anything Google or Facebook could manage.
At Cable Congress 2018 there was a great discussion about how you implement, and then harness the value from, improved data analytics. Liberty Global led the way, revealing how it is organising its new data insights division and how TV3 has boosted linear audiences with smarter programme promotion. Telenet now warns viewers to accelerate their on-demand viewing if its algorithm predicts they will not finish a series before it disappears from the window. Implementation needs some board-level arbitration – and data scientists need to sit together in class!
Twenty years ago we aggregated subscription TV channels and now we need to aggregate subscription VOD. This comment from Vodafone Germany’s CCO summed up the mood at Cable Congress 2018, where there was an eagerness to do more ‘onboarding’ deals. There are different views about how far you should integrate a service like Netflix however, with some happy to keep them off the bill, and others keen to provide the billing and maybe even integrated content bundles.
The distribution market is changing fast and some recent work by streaming platform specialist Simplestream demonstrates the point. Mid-tier broadcasters are finally launching catch-up services for HBB set-top boxes. Subscription channel owners are going to take over authentication for TV Everywhere, moving to the U.S. model. Narrow thematic content makers are evolving from podcast providers and YouTube channels into full direct-to-consumer multiscreen video services. Cloud and white-label solutions are helping to accelerate change.
Australia is one of the most pro-digital advertising markets on earth, linear TV ratings are noticeably down and online broadcaster viewing is not measured. Some advertising budget has begun moving out of TV. The television industry knows it must become more automated, more data-driven, better at proving its own value, and probably more collaborative. Future TV Advertising Forum Sydney was a chance to outline the priorities for change and to gauge whether the mood of buyers is shifting, given concerns about digital effectiveness elsewhere. Here is an outline of what we learned.
Netflix is being onboarded onto Sky Q boxes across Europe, starting in the UK and Ireland. Unlike previous onboarding deals, the SVOD offer is not a standalone service on the STB. Instead Netflix content is being bundled with Sky content into a completely new entertainment pack that consumers can subscribe to. The deal also means the Netflix app will be included as part of NOW TV and Sky Ticket, as a standalone app on devices.
The long-heralded AV1 codec is now set for development of commercial product, with the code complete and ready to be frozen over the next few weeks. There are challenges ahead, as the encoding computational cost is currently quite high and the open source model introduces some risk for broadcasters. Despite this, the arrival of AV1 is a major milestone.