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There was one subject that dominated this year, as it did in 2010: multi-screen TV. This is where the Pay TV industry is battling with would-be OTT contenders for the hearts and minds of their subscribers and though there is a long way to go, we think Pay TV operators have moved quickly enough to maintain their pre-eminence, providing they can keep offering the best content. The next big fight, which will start next year, is between broadcasters and third-party apps developers for control of the second screen, with viewer attention and greenfield interactive advertising across tablets and smartphones being the prize. These two developments are contributing to a period of unprecedented disruption in the industry and along with Connected TV and OTT (both of which are closely related to multi-screen) they provided us with some of our best stories in 2011. To conclude the year, here are the stories we think summarise the year.
Second Screen & Companion Screen
Second screen is the most exciting development that emerged in 2011. The ability to play content and advertising on tablets and smartphones in exact synchronisation with linear TV presents greenfield opportunities for broadcasters but also for third-party apps providers who can compete for their viewers. We anticipate a big fight for eyeballs in 2012.
Second screen advertising is a new paradigm
Pay TV operators have a role in second-screen ad sync
Broadcasters must dominate synchronized companion apps
Companions will totally disrupt broadcast TV, for good or bad
These stories reflect how the TV Everywhere business model is developing, with major platform operators hoping to benefit from upsell opportunities, but no evidence this year that there are significant discreet revenues from making content available across different screens. We have been wondering whether the free-to-air platforms need to do more than just make ‘Player’ content available on TV if they want to remain competitive in the face of TV Everywhere.
Orange multi-screen video boosts quad-play
Multi-screen TV means loyalty and upsells for SFR and DIGITAL+
Multi-screen challenge for FTA platforms
In this video from ANGA earlier this year, Anders Blauenfeldt, Senior VP, Development at YouSee, explains how the Danish cable operator has used TV Everywhere to encourage TV/broadband bundles. The company has seen notable improvements in customer loyalty among those subscribers using this service. Anders provides a detailed account here of how multi-screen is working for YouSee.
While the CE manufacturers are putting together some compelling portal content that, at least in the case of VOD, can compete with Pay TV, it looks like the bigger opportunity for them is to cooperate with platform operators to make their multi-room, multi-screen dreams come true. Here are a few examples of how Pay TV operators are harnessing connected TVs. We think it is the CE vendors who face the biggest challenge in 2012, finding a way to get their content offers onto every screen in response to TV Everywhere.
Samsung encouraging whole-home Pay TV
No more network boundaries for YouSee
DIRECTV preparing for the “connected decade”
Sony highlights multi-device TV ambitions
Swisscom considers lower cost ‘IPTV’ offer
Canal Digital says Connected TV business model is “difficult”
It became clearer in 2011 that OTT is not going to kill the Pay TV industry. In fact, as platform operators make increasing use of over-the-top delivery for their own services to multiple screens, and start to integrate OTT onto the television screen via the STB, it looks like they have more to gain than lose, if they can keep offering the best content. There is still a battle for viewer attention but we think the major Pay TV operators responded quickly enough to maintain their pre-eminence.
PCCW: OTT must partner with Pay TV to succeed
AT&T says content owners are thankful for Pay TV
Netflix is growing threat to managed VOD
Three ways that cable will beat OTT
Time to integrate OTT into Pay TV
Linear TV ‘renaissance’
Linear TV never really went away, though lots of people have been expecting it to. So to say there was a linear renaissance in 2011 is overstating things, but we could say there was a renaissance in the public perception of linear TV, from a concept that was doomed to one that has a long life co-existing with on-demand viewing. We sensed a mood this year that there has been enough television bashing for a while, and maybe consumers – and advertisers – like ‘traditional’ TV more than some people thought.
Content discovery and next-gen User Interface
The convergence of web and television means there are many more viewing options, multiple routes to the same content and more chances for ‘personalized’ experiences. It has been acknowledged for a couple of years that content discovery will become increasingly important and this function is at the heart of next-generation user interfaces, as we have started to see in major deployments and announcements during 2011.
And the next big thing?
There is more than enough to keep the TV industry busy for several years, deploying multi-screen TV, mastering the companion screen experience, integrating OTT into the STB, expanding beyond current network footprints, etc, etc. But when the dust starts to settle,and given that 3DTV has yet to set the world alight, the CE industry and platform operators will want something new to excite consumers and drive the innovation and spending cycle. We think we might have seen it at IBC 2011 with wall-sized displays.