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Future of mobile video: “local content is king”

Kirill Filippov

Kirill Filippov

Guest post for Kirill Filippov, CEO of SPB TV AG

The future of video is in the growth of all TV viewing options. Mobile is by far one of the leading formats. Mobile is dynamic and the most convenient for consumers worldwide despite the fact that ideally content is better watched on big screens. The current trends in actual mobile video use are often underestimated though.

Those who talk about the big screen as the first choice for quality content sometimes confuse what is desired with real life choices. How you want to watch is different from how you actually end up watching it. This applies to TV, videos and games as well. However, this doesn’t mean that big screens are going to be replaced by mobile ones.

Total TV viewing growth will be achieved with mobile viewing but not by decreasing time spent on watching TV sets. As for the type of video, linear/streaming TV will stay more profitable than VoD until pricing is otherwise regulated in VOD sector. With great probability, mobile TV viewing will outstrip the level of watching TV through PCs, although PCs are now preferred among Internet TV viewers. About 53 million people worldwide watch OTT TV/mobile TV via our services, most of it is streaming on various devices. Our experience shows this.

Most likely, the number of users, watching TV via tablets, smartphones and so-called phablets will grow, as these types of devices are much more convenient for watching short videos or urgent news, for instance. As for PCs and TV sets, their numbers will not decrease as well, because people still prefer to watch long videos on them.

What about capacity limitations? Do we need faster speeds and 5G for the future? Currently, the question is not whether we need 5G, but whether we have the infrastructure to utilize the full capacity of 3G and 4G networks. But the main point is not what standard – it is infrastructure and taking full advantage of 4G/LTE. 4G/LTE in the UK or in some Asian countries like Singapore are two different things. Capacity limitations are a challenge for the widespread use of streaming mobile video. We need solid infrastructure for the mobile video explosion to continue. It is especially significant for big screens, as small screens can get by with even low-speed Internet connections. Moreover, it’s not necessary to speak much about the fact that the release of popular series or an important sports event can break infrastructure all over the world, especially in countries for which this content is considered as local.

They say, “content is king.” I would say, “local content is king.” People want local content. It doesn’t matter where you are, it matters what content you consume. Habitual humor and places, the ways people on the screen look and speak – that is what viewers will always prefer. People want to watch content that resonates with them. Our latest project – Lebara Play – can serve as a good example. This point can be easily proved by the case of Pornhub too, which says that even with its service local content is preferable. We see live TV streaming and a one-week catch-up library as a perfect and sufficient watching option both for content providers and for viewers. An exception is cartoons.

What about monetisation? We believe that emerging markets and the migrant communities, including Indian, Chinese and others, are key growth factor. OTT TV Survey 2015 shows that TV viewing via smartphones increased almost 20 percent over a year and tablets by almost 10 percent. Our traffic in Asia-Pacific and MENA regions increased 1,5-fold and 2-fold respectively. Emerging markets show mobile streaming TV is becoming standard and it can be profitable.

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