There will be an avalanche of social media support for the Winter Olympic Games over the next fortnight. Olympic Broadcasting Services has prepared for its largest social media production ever, driven by video clips, compilations and athlete interviews. Eurosport has invested in its own social media content creation effort, using a team of 50 in PyeongChang, as part of a wider ‘digital-first’ play that is accompanied by a bespoke initiative to measure multi-platform consumption.
A recent iOS update puts television at the heart of Apple’s video app and has echoes of Amazon Channels, except that here you can find top broadcaster content that is free. In the UK, you can link directly from Apple into BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub, My5 – and even Netflix and Amazon Prime Video if you subscribe to these services. This is a multi-app curation and discovery offering that combines free and paid – but as it stands it is not a threat to either pay or free-to-air platforms.
The proliferation of direct-to-consumer and SVOD services has improved consumer choice (including available price-points) but it is debatable whether the user experience, looking through multiple apps for content, is better. Have we reached high water mark for standalone apps viewing, and can Pay TV platforms tempt viewers to watch more of their streamed content via their user interface?
The Connies, the definitive awards to champion innovation across the television and media ecosystem, are now open for entries until February 16. Categories include 'Video Technology Hero', 'Best TV/Video Service Update or Launch' and 'Contribution to User Experience - TV & Video'. Last year’s winners included Freeview Australia for its ‘One click live TV on the go’ mobile streaming service, YouView for its next-generation platform and Harmonic for its Cloud-Native VOS software-based media processing technology.
The post-OTT era is shaking up the content landscape and, while direct-to-consumer sports services pose only a moderate threat to Pay TV bouquets, Netflix is already a serious competitor to broadcasters and Amazon would like to be. Premium content is fragmenting and is now offered by a wider selection of service providers but there are also signs that some re-aggregation could occur, with Fox Networks Group leading the way and Disney appearing to prioritise its direct-to-consumer ambitions over general OTT distribution deals.
Enders Analysis has good and bad news for the traditional broadcast industry. Netflix and Amazon are creating audiences for global content and will dominate commissioning for super-premium international content. But they will almost certainly avoid major sports rights (in the UK, at least) and they will fail to displace channel owners for the most popular localised content, which accounts for the vast majority of viewing.
A study by Ampere Analysis, commissioned by NAGRA, has identified five distinct types of television consumer, each of which must be addressed differently if Pay TV operators want to maximise their loyalty and value. The ‘Content Connoisseurs’, who want content from everywhere and are currently self-aggregating multiple SVOD services, are the most valuable and the fastest growing group but also the hardest to please. The study explains how to make them happy.
Ovum is forecasting that as Netflix growth slows, it is services like Sling TV, NOW TV, Canal Play, HBO Now, WWE Network, Twitch Prime and Amazon Channels that will drive OTT growth. This kind of service currently accounts for one-fifth of the global OTT market but by 2022 they will represent at least one-third, according to Ovum. This subscription linear ‘SLIN’ category is more likely to substitute traditional Pay TV than SVOD is.
The SVOD giant used OTT World Summit to try to convince platform owners across EMEA that they should partner and onboard the Netflix app. The company emphasised how its content is different from what you find on traditional platforms, and often unique, and said it had no interest in sport or news, nor any wish to launch a linear channel.
IBC 2017 was like a graduation party for Android TV and there is little doubt that this open source middleware is about to take its place alongside RDK and proprietary options. The Operator Tier version appears to have changed everything by allowing service providers to manage their own UX. RDK is still strongly supported, but that is not what people have been talking about this autumn.