Guest post by Peter Rosenberg, Business Strategy and Marketing Director, Zenterio
At one of Interactive TV’s industry leading trade shows, TV Connect in London in March, there were a couple of things that stood out as trends that TV operators need to address in order to get the consumer to stay with them AND generate additional revenues.
Hardware is the mothership: If one thing has not been made clear, we still need hardware to make TV happen. No matter how magical Netflix, HBO or Amazon is, there still needs to be a way to manage and handle both live and on-demand content in a secure manner. And in this case, we are talking hardware like chips, set-top boxes and the most recent addition to the family, HDMI dongles. These divergent pieces of hardware shown at TV Connect prove that hardware of all shapes and forms is the main delivery method taking TV content to the end user and to companion devices likes tablets, mobile phones and laptops.
OTT is dead, long live OTT: TV Connect showed us that OTT is still everywhere and the topic du jour but can operators find a way to make it work for them. As Peter White said in his March 20, 2014 Faultline, “OTT is mostly about existing pay-TV companies that want to prevent a new class of pure OTT players being formed”. We see OTT emerge as the complementary top-up service of choice, rather than a replacement service for cable TV.
The User Experience Never Stops Evolving. If there’s one thing we know, viewers want effortless access to content. When it comes to the technology that goes into getting that content to them, they really don’t care. They want a good user experience and a buffet approach to content and with on demand and other interactive services, TV operators are starting to be able to deliver just that. The role of the UI in any TV experience has never been more important than today, with viewers wanting the same seamless and easy-to-use interface they have on their smart phones and tablets embedded also in their TV viewing. TV operators need to create and offer content in a way that users can access easily, but in an intuitive and not cumbersome way.
In the end, like a lot of the developments in the TV world, we are onto the next buzzwords and here 4K seems to be the dominant word of the day. We think 4K will even further put the TV operators back in the driving seat for their capcity of delivering a quality controlled 4K experience, something that pure OTT players will struggle to achieve.
So if you add all this up you know what’s still the underlying challenge: monetization. And that is the point, how do all these things — hardware, OTT, UI, second screen device, 4K, add up to monetization for the operator? Interactivity opens up a flood of new service opportunities and we will for sure see many new smart ways for operators to add incremental reveneus from these services in the future.