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Motorola Mobility: “The evolution of content is going to fuel the multiscreen environment”

Steve McCaffery, Motorola Mobility

Steve McCaffery, VP EMEA at Motorola Mobility

Steve McCaffery, VP and GM for the EMEA region at Motorola Mobility, on changing customer expectations for multiscreen video, the challenges they create for service providers, and the impact he expects user-generated content to have on the multiscreen environment.

Steve will be speaking at the TV Connect 2013 event taking place in London on 19-21 March 2013. For more information and to register, please visit www.tvconnectevent.com

How are customer expectations of multiscreen video evolving?

It’s a great question and one that fills the majority of my time at the moment.

Our business at Motorola is about addressing both the cable market and the telco market, and both the tier one and tier two carriers, and I would say that the competitive element of that whole multiscreen environment and the need to add that service to your portfolio is causing a great deal of focus for every TV operator in the marketplace today.

The race to get that seamless transition to be able to move content across multiple screens is definitely accelerating.

Operators who are early adopters have often tried to do things internally with bespoke developments, and are now turning towards doing it in a different way based on the scale they are now having to achieve.

If you think about content, and where content comes from today, it comes from multiple sources, whether that is from TV studios, or even content aggregators like YouTube or iTunes, they are all coming in a different format, and how that content is fed into a network is a fine art, and then how it is managed in an automated way is also becoming critical to the success of the service that the operator is giving to the consumer.

And then finally, how you package that content and deliver it to multiple screens – whether a TV or a PC or a smartphone or tablet – it needs to go in a different format, and even in different sessions of that content, so that the manipulation of that content is going to be critical to those operators, who are all in a race to give consumers a multiscreen service.

That is irrespective of whether they are in an emerging EMEA market like Turkey and Russia, or in a very competitive market like France, where there is a very healthy cable market, or the Netherlands – it’s all about taking market share from each other, by offering value-added services like multiscreen.

We are finding a lot of increased activity in 2013 picking up on a very buoyant market in 2012 in the whole multiscreen space.

What are some of the key challenges that this creates for service providers?

I think the challenges are always going to be about the content – the age-old adage of content being king still applies, I don’t think there is anything more truthful today. The ability to pause and take content where you want to watch it is always going to be key to the operators, and the technology is here today.

Yes the technology needs more refinement and it’s got some roadmap cycles to go through to give it the final polish, but it is essentially about the rights to that content, and the negotiation of those individual operators that own that content as to what they can deliver around it.

We have recently seen [UK telco] BT buying up the rights to premiership football and rugby, and also the ATP tennis, and that underlines very clearly the importance of content and the ownership of that content. Then digging a layer below that, the rights to that content in terms of what people can watch and when they can watch it is going to be key to any business plan that operators are putting together.

I think additionally that for us as consumers, our buying habits probably need to change and modify in many ways, because we are used to buying content and believing that we own that content, and can consume it when we are ready, but as these services go more and more to the cloud we are going to have to pay for that content at different times and in different ways depending on how we watch it.

To a certain degree it is an education programme as an industry – the pattern of buying content for personal consumption will change as the varieties and means for downloading and consuming that content change through time.

We have got some great examples that we will leave with our customers at the TV Connect event in a couple of weeks in London, when we will announce a lot more around our media barometer survey, which looks at consumers across multiple countries and multiple age groups, looking at how they consume content, what they consume, what they want to use that content for going forwards.

There are some interesting findings that we are holding back as we try to filter through it all, and we will be delivering these at TV Connect in a couple of weeks’ time.

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