Here’s what to watch out for in 2015
With a combination of improving broadband infrastructure, new services and fast-evolving strategies of content owners, 2015 is shaping up to be an exciting year for the TV market. In the second half of 2014, there were several announcements of projects and initiatives that will clearly have an impact on the market globally.
As new user behaviour and expectations challenge distribution in terms of both capacity and functionality, the goal remains to deliver quality content reliably. At Edgeware, we’re working to deliver profitable, flexible, next-generation cloud TV and video services – here are some of the ways that we see content distribution evolving in 2015.
The multiplier effect
The growth of social media services and increasing screen availability mean that the move is from multiple users per stream to multiple streams per user. Almost half of all viewers now use a second screen while watching TV, particularly in the 15–35 age group, and for live content. Viewers are also choosing to consume in various locations on mobile devices rather than staying in one room and watching the family television. There is no doubt TV and video consumption is becoming an anywhere and everywhere multi-screen and multi-device experience.
While choosing to consume certain content in a specific, planned environment, consumers are also demanding instant access to live events wherever they are, on whatever device is at hand. For distributors, this means finding a way to overcome device fragmentation and ensure high definition delivery, whatever the screen size, to an audience that will be sensitive to delays.
Online the only way
With the shift from linear to video-on-demand and multiscreen, YouTube and streaming has become the default for younger audiences. Where distributing content online was a niche activity, it is now central, the first choice platform for delivering premium content to reach the millennial consumers and digital natives.
Making it secure
Distributing premium content on open global reach networks to a wide variety of devices increases the complexity of protection to enforce restrictions and business policies. As online content delivery becomes standard, and a prime distribution channel, security has to become a priority, with breaches having significant impact on network providers’ access to future premium content and their bottom lines. Security measures are incorporating initiatives such as digital watermarking to enforce protection and the legal process to enforce copyright laws. But it is not only the content that needs to be protected, so does the distribution platform. As internet-based platforms represent an increasingly growing share of volume and reach, firewalling and redundant distribution continue to evolve in order to protect service integrity from malicious attempts to compromise services.
Filling the gap for advertisers
As consumers increasingly choose to watch what they want, when and how they want, the traditional advertising model breaks down. The future is about finding the best ways to provide more intelligent ways to reach consumers with marketing messages and advertisements in order to continuously finance services with indirect models. This is particularly important on markets where consumers are used to a large number of advertisements financed free-to-air TV channels such as in Germany and Finland. Examples of methods providing new means are personalised insertions of ads in on-demand services as well as new experiments with second screen and social media applications associated with the service and content.
With 4k video quality here now, and 8k coming soon, obviously driving up bit rates due to resolution, the increased picture quality also requires increased frame rate to avoid blurring effects especially in sports content. The combination of multiplying resolution as well as frame rate results in a steep increase of required bandwidth driving investments in access networks and content distribution platforms. Quality has also shown to be a value consumers are prepared to pay for, enabling new business models and increased ARPU and possibly also heralding new models for market segmentation. But then again, if the customer has paid more for better quality, the delivery must be flawless.
The demise of cinema
For a long time the number of cinema tickets sold did not seem to be much affected by the continuous evolution of home entertainment products. However, this might be about to change. There are signs of younger audiences exploring the option of streaming as opposed to visiting the cinema, and are watching the latest films on their own terms, in environments they choose. With new Premium video-on-demand, and users happy to pay a premium to watch new movies on their own devices, distributors are looking to create a new revenue model as the way to capitalize. Movie investment must be meeting the consumer’s terms and preferences, or miss out on the potential revenue. Again, as increasingly high valued content is distributed over internet to a variety of devices, content protection needs to improve accordingly to support the innovation of new models.
2015 will be a year where the speed in which the media industry is transformed increases as technology evolves facilitating new services and changing behaviours. At Edgeware, we’re committed to delivering flexible, robust, scalable solutions to the challenges and to being an expert technology partner in this transformation with a strong belief in that the evolution in distribution offers a better user experience. Find out more at www.edgeware.tv.
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