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Ericsson ConsumerLab 2017: Welcome to a new consumer reality

The eighth edition of Ericsson’s ConsumerLab TV and Media report predicts that 50% of all viewing will be on a mobile screen in 2020, half of which will be on a smartphone alone. The analysis also suggests that by 2020, one in three consumers will be VR users. Around half of consumers are planning to get VR devices, although cost is still an issue. Meanwhile, time spent watching TV and video content has reached an all-time high of 30 hours a week.

What does 2018 have in store?

More consumers are taking multiple subscription video services and their high levels of satisfaction with OTT means they should be willing to spend more for video, in total, not less. Meanwhile, the falling unit cost of set-top boxes means operators can use them as a competitive weapon against independent service providers. The VR headset market is going to come alive as all major tech vendors launch standalone headsets in the $100-250 range.

Advances in technology are paving the way for addressable TV

The options for marketers who want to use addressable TV advertising are expanding, partly thanks to technology and partly because of how we watch audio-visual content. Key developments include: Automated Content Recognition (ACR), where smart TVs identify available inventory in real-time; OTT devices that encourage more on-demand viewing and the possibility for broadcaster viewer log-ins and targeting opt-ins; and next-gen STBs from platform operators – some of which are going to provide more real-time data feedback.

In 2018, Cloud TV will bring sports, voice control, new UIs and investments in...

In 2018, mobile will remain a discovery device, TV sets will remain the primary destination for long-form viewing, and their UI will be refreshed so it merges web and premium content. We could reach a tipping point for market uptake of voice control. OTT sports will become serious, partly thanks to the new ESPN direct-to-consumer service. And connected TVs will be the next frontier in digital advertising, despite challenges around frequency management and a lack of targeting cookies.

‘Extend your workbench’ for better services, and a better business

Only the largest operators can afford the IT and engineering teams to do everything in-house when launching or maintaining a subscription video service. Other savvy operators have recognised the benefits of virtually ‘extending the workbench’ to make use of specialists at trusted partner-suppliers, who sit alongside in-house teams. This collaboration improves agility, reduces time-to-market and exposes an organisation to new ideas.

Flash-free wannabe – how to move to a flash-free environment successfully

Many media companies have been holding out in a 'wait-and-see' mode to see if Flash is really going away. So, now that it is, how do you prepare for a migration to HMTL5 video? How do you balance a quick transition with a good customer experience? Here are some of the things you must think about, from making sure that SSL security is applied end-to-end on your website to ensuring that advertising formats are ready. If done well, the migration to HTML5 video can have a minimal impact on both revenues and operations.

Talking TV: the future of voice UI

Devices like Amazon’s Echo and next-generation boxes from Sky and Virgin Media are turning attention to voice user interfaces. Is voice still a novelty or is it becoming an essential feature for TV platforms that are looking to keep up with competition? Tom Williams, CEO at Ostmodern, discusses voice as a means of content discovery and the potential challenges for those looking to implement it.

Piercing the VPN veil: the key to better content protection and targeted personalisation

VPN technology has become the go-to method for avoiding geographic content restrictions and accessing material that consumers have not paid for. There are new approaches to counter VPNs, tracking individuals to postcodes and combining device authentication and server-side encryption, and allowing legitimate access to content through a firewall pinhole that is opened for users.

Africa – where mobile rules television and TV drives mobile

The infrastructure is not in place across Africa for broadcasters to use fixed line IP to go direct-to-consumer, so mobile operators remain the best route to market. Mobile competition is fierce on this continent and operators are looking to differentiate, so you can access all the mainstream services such as Netflix and Showmax, along with live channels and on-demand from incumbent broadcasters. The majority of revenue for mobile operators in Africa now comes from delivering TV.

How can the Pay TV industry overcome disruption in Europe?

At the recent Pay-TV Innovation Forum, industry experts said they expected future growth to be driven by consumers taking up skinny bundles, personalised packages and seamless multiscreen experiences, rather than increasing prices of traditional Pay TV services. Moving forwards, there are three areas of innovation operators should prioritise: next-generation content aggregation and discovery; advanced advertising and data; and seamless multiscreen TV services.

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