It’s no secret that the big players in the Telco world are making significant moves into the TV industry – with some notable successes already under their belts.
It’s easy to see why. We’re now streaming more and more content on demand than ever before. We have access to content whenever we want it and on any device, enabled by superfast broadband and 4G. And it’s clear that this behavior is on the up – 61% of consumers now watch video content on their mobile phones according to Ericsson ConsumerLab.
So given there are synergies to be exploited, what should these service providers keep in mind as they move into the world of anywhere, everywhere TV?
Last week we looked at one area of consideration – content discovery. This week, we’ll take a look at another two key areas of consideration for Telcos: accessibility and technology.
Traditionally consumers used to embark on their content journey through the Electronic Programme Guide (EPG). With the advent of IP based TV, these traditions have been challenged and consumers can now access content from any connected device, supporting discovery and viewing across platforms.
So how can Telcos give consumers what they want and replicate the simplicity of the over-the-top environment? For Pay TV operators, moving to an IPTV/cloud environment makes true multi-screen, TV anywhere easier, whilst also helping them to compete against the OTT players who historically have provided consumers with intuitive interfaces and therefore potentially more engaging user experiences.
For Telcos, another important opportunity today is getting smarter about video strategies. Service providers need to know how to leverage timely events, tap into new advertising technology, understand how their audience is engaging with content and optimise their video business accordingly to maximise returns.
Another key consideration which cannot be ignored is accessibility for all. By this I mean subtitles (or captions). We’re all very familiar with subtitles on linear TV programs. Well, legislation is now being introduced in some markets around the world that will also require online video content to carry subtitles. Each market comes with a different regulatory framework; this is something we must keep front of mind as new directives are announced.
Investing in the right technology
The internet has had a huge impact on what we expect when looking for content, and that change in expectations must be acknowledged regardless of platform. While an attractive, more graphically rich layout is important, functionality is what matters.
The objective for all Telcos is to personalise the content discovery journey through the delivery of rich, detailed data delivered in the correct format to any screen; this can be realised through cloud-based technology.
There are two clear benefits to getting this right: ‘sticky customers’ who don’t want to leave, and monetisation opportunities, which boost returns. The latter is achieved by collecting information about consumer behavior and using that data to deliver targeted content, promotional offers and advertising.
In an interview with the BBC, Netflix’s Chief Executive Reed Hastings stated that Netflix will be spending over a billion dollars a year on technology improvements. During this talk he mentioned two areas for improvement: ‘buffering’ and ‘suggestions’ (more often referred to as content recommendations).
For service providers this means the deployment of faster internet, smarter APIs, innovative cloud services and better recommendations algorithms fed by enriched metadata. Just a small list to get right!
I have no doubt that the first thing on this list will be accomplished as we move into a world of 5G and global-reach, fibre-optic broadband. The biggest challenge will then be content management and deploying algorithms which use relevant and smart data to provide the audience with exactly what they want to see.
In the meantime, it will be very interesting to see how the Telco entrants fare. The approach to engagement, marketing, packaging and delivery are all very different in the traditional TV sector. They will need to change from being mobile service providers with ‘pipes and devices’ to becoming credible content aggregator and delivery brands.
However one thing is certain. With their exposure to the cloud and consumer centric propositions, there is no doubt that Telcos are well placed to face – and address – the technology challenges that lie ahead and realize seamless anywhere, anytime TV.
Jennifer Walker, Product Marketing Manager, Content Discovery and Access Services