The momentum towards franchise and club owned OTT sports services is accelerating, according to new research. One-third of the top 25 football clubs now operate a paid OTT service, for example, although content typically complements existing broadcast distribution deals. The growth of DTC nevertheless puts pressure on Pay TV to retain tier-one rights, and operators are being urged to package content in ways that make it more attractive to cord-cutters and super-fans, and to innovate around pricing.
HbbTV gives broadcasters the means to test-and-learn addressable TV independently of Pay TV operators
RTL Group is among the most advanced users of HbbTV for advertising in Europe and is developing its addressable TV know-how and sales products for the broadcast marketplace without yet relying on Pay TV collaborations. When it comes to full ad replacement, HbbTV is limited by the penetration of devices that support the latest specs, however, as only these can guarantee full frame accuracy. Right now, ad-replacement using HbbTV is best described as a test-and-learn initiative.
Sky Italy is one of the first broadcast industry customers to make use of innovative Video Delivery Network technology that is designed to improve streaming video QoE and take pressure off origin servers. Milan-based MainStreaming can rewrite routing tables so video can use a different connection between a cache and end-user if there are local network issues. The vendor also intelligently directs users to caches where the content they want is already available.
Video Research, the Japanese audience measurement body responsible for running the country’s television industry currency, is behind a collaborative platform that measures broadcaster online viewing data at census level. Video analytics specialist Streamhub has provided the data platform to handle programme and advertising viewing data and fuse the census reports with an existing online audience panel. The new platform underpins trading of online inventory across all major commercial broadcasters.
The roll-out of 4K is nowhere near ubiquitous, but 8K is seen as the obvious next format progression. Right now, it is a non-starter on all fronts: screen price, content availability, consumer buy-in, production costs and bandwidth requirements. The newly formed 8K Association says the same concerns were voiced for UHD six years ago, and they were overcome. Meanwhile, the DVB will shortly reveal the results of its study mission on formats beyond UHD-1 4K, and the early noises are positive.
Leading media companies are rethinking how they manage their content pipeline, which is the context for the recent announcements that Netflix is moving into Shepperton Studios and Sky is creating a new Europe-wide development and production capability. As one analyst explains, competition for content is at unprecedented levels, driving stakeholders to be involved earlier in the process. Netflix can start making up for content losses when companies like Disney repatriate content. Sky has an easier ROI calculation as group distribution assets expand.
An IHS Markit report shows that 40% of Pay TV customers in the UK first look somewhere other than their Pay TV provider for content – although they may well find their start-point via the operator STB. Onboarded broadcaster and OTT apps are one important destination. The report also highlights that, perhaps for unique local reasons, one-in-five German Pay TV homes use their service less than once a week – yet keep paying. And in the U.S., social media video viewing has overtaken long-form online viewing.
The DVB will use IBC 2019 to unveil its DVB-I efforts, promising a standardised release by year-end. This suite of specifications is designed to improve scale and costs for OTT and, among other things, it tackles content discovery in a hybrid IP/broadcast world where a broadband-delivered service may not be linked to a broadcast channel. The DVB thinks the standardised DVB-I model can benefit Pay TV just as much as free-to-air broadcasters.
A recent survey covering nearly 10,000 consumers across Europe, the U.S. and Australia gives some interesting insights on viewing influences across the generations. Thirty-two per cent of Gen Z said more original content would encourage them to view more live social video. Meanwhile, 80% of Millennials have investigated or bought something after seeing a related social video.
HbbTV 2.0.1 can be used to replace advertisements that are embedded within a broadcast signal with ads that are delivered over IP. This creates the opportunity for broadcasters to target advertising using technology that is independent of Pay TV operators and also distinct from their own streaming services. Videonet is hosting a webcast that will explore the implementation details. RTL Group, which has been pioneering this concept in Germany, is among the panellists.