Published July 31st, 2017
Consumers who have dropped their cable or satellite subscriptions in favor of over-the-top access to their content can use an antenna to get their local over-the-air content for free. But that’s not enough in today’s environment. For those broadcasters who want to follow the consumer to OTT, the technology is easily available, but the business models are still evolving.
“It appears that the industry is trying to bring local broadcasts to the internet, given the change to viewing habits of today’s TV content consumer,” said Jim DeFilippis, CEO of TMS Consulting, Inc., in Los Angeles.
However, some content may still need to be tailored for the right audience. “For mobile viewing, shorter content—such as news clips—is more acceptable to the mobile viewer,” he added.
While the traditional model of “if you build it they will come” may still hold true, viewers are heading towards OTT even if there is still building to be done.
“A lot of viewers are moving to OTT and they’re not waiting for content providers to go there,” said Louis Gump CEO of NewsOn, an Atlanta-based company that provides local newscasts on OTT and mobile platforms. “The question is, are you there in a way that’s relevant to those viewers. And if you are, then you either retain and grow your user base and if you aren’t then it isn’t going to be quite as relevant to those viewers. We see it as strategically essential for a large portion of the media companies that produce long-form video, to be there, and maybe for all.”
Disney Media Networks recently announced that it had signed on more than 160 stations for its landmark “Clearinghouse” initiative that could jumpstart digital distribution options for its affiliates. This will mean that ABC-owned stations—which are part of the Disney/ABC Television Group—could soon offer live programming via the ABC app, MVPDs and OTT access points to 90 percent of U.S. TV households.
“Disney/ABC has been delivering stable live local/national programming streams almost identical to OTA and MVPD feeds—to desktop, mobile and connected TVs for the last several years,” said John Rouse, executive vice president, affiliate relations at ABC in Los Angeles. “We are also in the process of transitioning our linear broadcast operation to IP so our team is both broadcast-centric and fully versed in IP, which gives us the ability to really re-think and re-invent a consumer experience that is stable for OTT platforms. We want local programming to be available to as many people in as many ways as possible.”
Across the board the industry is adapting to these changing viewing habits, and addressing the continued move by many to OTT platforms.
Richard Brandon, CMO of Edgeware, says the U.K.-based company’s customers include traditional broadcast and cable operators, as well telcos who “operate like traditional broadcasters.”
With so many different players there has been fragmentation in the delivery of content, Brandon added. As a result people are opting to pay for smaller bundles where possible and even ditching what were traditional delivery methods entirely.
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With Hulu’s recent launch of its $40 per month live TV service, it appears that the biggest change with OTT this year—the ability to handle that live content—has been overcome. This allows streaming companies to begin to operate more like the telcos and even the cable providers—not to mention the broadcasters.
“Many OTT operators in general either have started or are planning to start live streaming channels in the near future,” said Alex Holtz, director of market development for news and content delivery at Grass Valley. “Basically it is going to be a very competitive managed service that is similar to the cable and ITV businesses.”
Just as cable struck deals for the carriage of local content, so too could OTT offer that content.
“It is a natural transition,” added Holtz. “And it will in turn change the content, notably with the 24/7 news cycle. Breaking news is going to Twitter Periscope, Facebook Live and even YouTube. There is already a tremendous outreach to ‘cord cutters’ and ‘cord nevers.’ And over time you’ll see local carriage going to pure-play OTT providers.”
To accommodate local audiences, U.S. broadcasters may need to work with MVPDs and virtual MVPDs to provide an OTT-ready version of the live, linear feeds; and the MPVDs can package these channels into their OTT offerings.
“U.S. local broadcasters want and have to provide their linear channels over-the-top so that they can reach mobile viewers, but there are two main difficulties,” said Jean Macher, director of market development at Harmonic in San Jose, Calif. “From a technology standpoint, local broadcasters are too small to tackle the complexity of setting up an OTT service. From a content standpoint, local broadcasters can stream the content they produce but for content that is aired and not owned—i.e., network programming, syndication, even some ads—the rights to the content are often for over-the-air only. Thus, they cannot take their existing 24/7 linear channel and make it available over-the-top.”
Already many local broadcasters are connecting with their respective audiences in other ways, and this includes streaming live to websites and mobile apps.
“For the consumer they get alerts on their devices and that takes them to a mobile player,” said Holtz. “You click on a news story and go straight to the stream.”
OTT has advantages for content providers to reach an audience even as fragmentation continues, but exactly what it means for traditional revenue streams is still being determined.
“We are seeing behavioral changes and how OTT can accommodate it,” said Ian Young, product manager at Snell Advanced Media. “What is important to note is that when a broadcaster gets into OTT, revenue may not be the primary motivator… there are new costs involved.”
These costs can include the need for IT staff, as well as different architecture and equipment. “It is sort of an inefficient way to do this as it requires different equipment, so as a company we recognize this and want to empower operational staff to keep the usual broadcast efficiency,” Young said.
At the same time, revenue streams from advertising could prove to be more effective as ad content can be more tailored to the audience.
Referring to the earlier days of streaming. “even when content was sent over the internet everyone got the same ad,” said Edgeware’s Brandon. “But now streams can be unique, and this means ads can be much more targeted to the individual. However, it takes a number of factors to get it to line up and it is more complicated than it looks at first sight.”
Metadata is an important part of the equation. “OTT provides better monetization of content through improved targeting driven by better utilization of customer metadata,” said Yuval Fisher of Imagine Communications in Dallas. “This is part of the sophisticated targeting of content that happens online, and it is now starting to happen in targeted forms of broadcast video.”
This could also provide a needed opportunity for broadcasters to get back revenue that they had been losing to online platforms, but it will require culling data from various sources.
“Today your local food chain [grocery store] may know more about you than the broadcasters,” added Brandon. “Broadcasters need to understand their audience so that they can better target the ads that streaming can provide.”
As this evolves, OTT could become another entry point for viewers to access a robust national as well a local programming experience.
“The platform we are building for delivery to OTT platforms has a great deal more functionality, including the ability to replace content in real time, dynamically insert ads, and add markers and triggers for things like cloud DVR or instant VOD,” said ABC’s Rouse.
Source: TV Technology
According to new research from The Diffusion Group (TDG), binge viewing — that is, viewing more than one episode of a TV series back to back — is rapidly becoming universal, with nearly nine-in-ten ABUs binging at least occasionally. But the frequency of binge viewing skews strongly in favor of younger adults.TDG's new analysis, Binge Viewing - A Consumer Snapshot, identifies and profiles three groups of adult broadband users in terms of their binge viewing habits.
Heavy Bingers (binge daily, comprise 14 percent of ABUs),
Medium Bingers (binge monthly but not daily, comprise 51 percent of ABUs), and
Light/Non-Bingers (21 percent of ABUs that binge less than once a month, 14 percent that do not binge at all).
Importantly, TDG analysts found that the frequency of binging is strongly correlated with the viewer's age. For example, 58 percent of Heavy Bingers are between the ages of 18 and 34, while 56 percent of Light/Non-Bingers are age 45 and older."The fact that 31 percent of Heavy Bingers are between the ages of 18 and 34 further illustrates just how different millennial viewing habits are from those of older generations," notes Michael Greeson, President and Principal Analyst at TDG. "For more than a decade, TDG has predicted and observed a structural transformation in what it means to 'watch TV,' with viewing behavior slowly changing from an activity defined by flipping between different live shows on different networks, to one characterized by on-demand binging of individual series."As these consumers age and younger generations steeped in quantum habits follow behind them, Greeson argues that this behavior will only become more prominent, further impacting programming and distribution strategies.View TDG's latest analysis of contemporary viewing behavior, Binge Viewing - A Consumer Snapshot for an insight into the different segments of binge viewers — who they are, how they behave, and what drives their decisions and preferences.
Source: TDG Research
May 08, 2017
Jan 06, 2020
By DONALD MCGARVA, Group Chief Executive Officer, Amino
As we start a new year and decade at CES 2020, we cannot help but think about how we gain clarity around what the future of the TV looks like. We have seen significant change in the past several years as consumers opt out of Pay TV contracts and pursue seemingly endless alternatives in the form of vMVPD, SVOD or D2C services. Even as more content is being produced, the future of TV is dependent on what consumers really want.
We believe consumers want what we call a modern TV experience. A modern TV experience gives the consumer rich, engaging, flexible and personalised ways to access and consume video content. We already know that consumers are using more devices than ever before to watch videos. While the TV itself is still a meaningful device it is. by its very nature, limited to in-home viewing. Networks continue to advance with 5G rollouts underway and improved WiFi solutions fulfilling consumer demand for connectivity on any device.
Read full post here
Watch Amino's year in review
Nov 18, 2019
By About two weeks ago, Netflix announced it would be dropping support for their applications on older Samsung and Vizio SmartTVs. People with a Samsung from 2010 or 2011, will no longer be able to stream Netflix on their device. Vizio devices go even further, and will already see devices from as late as 2014 no longer have a Netflix app.
The outcry following Netflix’s announcement, as well as the lack in platform-years that are supported by Disney+, has led many people to question whether and for how long they can still use their own TV to watch their favourite Netflix or Disney+ series. And I don’t blame them.
So how can we make sure that your apps continue to run on older televisions? How can we make sure that your users can continue to use your apps as they please? That’s what this blog is all about: supporting old televisions.
Let’s face it. Old televisions are, well, old. Maybe you still remember that time when you had Internet Explorer 6 on your Windows computer. It worked, but it was very quirky and had issues sometimes. And then we haven’t even talked about programming for it yet. Well, that is sort of what you are dealing with when you think of the oldest SmartTVs out there.
Making sure your application still continues to run fine on these old devices, is in some way very easy. Users are already expecting a relatively slow experience. So all you have to do is the following: keep it simple. Forget fancy animations, forget autoplay when hovering over an item in your carousel. Just simply make sure your content can be watched.
By making your application as simple as possible, there is no need for developers to try and work their way around all the device limitations there are. You won’t be able to implement fancy animations anyways, because the device simply won’t be able to handle it. Keeping it to a few simple carousels, and correct placement of the most important series, is all you need.
Although not confirmed by Netflix, it is presumed they cancelled support because of DRM. These old devices don’t have support for the more relevant DRM types like PlayReady or Widevine. To me, it is of no surprise that these devices were dropped by them at this point. From 2012, we do see support from Samsung for PlayReady. Since this still relevant today on most SmartTV platforms, they can continue to support 2012 and higher devices. As PlayReady is still widely used today to support newer SmartTV platforms, as well as Internet Explorer for example, I don’t see many issues in the foreseeable future. PlayReady is still the way to go to continue to support most platforms.
The same issue applies for types of video streaming out there. You may think that MPEG-Dash is widely adopted on SmartTVs now, but in reality, a lot of devices haven’t received support for it yet. And because updates rarely make their way to older televisions, let alone to those from 2012, you’re looking to support different types of video streaming. Smooth Streaming in general is the way to go to support both Live and VOD.
Continuing to support video for older televisions is, as you can tell, relatively easy. You just have to know the combinations of video types and DRM that are supported by the devices.
Just because you still want to support older televisions, doesn’t mean you have to stop improving on your application. You can still for example experiment with different ways of placing your carousels, order of the content that is shown or, for example, switching from landscape to portrait images. Keeping your UI changes small for older SmartTVs, is however very important. These devices have, as explained, a lot of limitations.
But what about the newer devices? The devices that do support sweet animations, the devices that do have support for MPEG-Dash or different types of DRM? Very simple: tailor your application to execute differently depending on the device that opens it. When the application opens, you want to detect which type of TV it is. Is it a Samsung from 2012? Then serve your application without animations, and with the usage of Smooth Streaming and PlayReady. Is it an LG from 2019, then serve your application with animations, autoplay of video, MPEG-Dash and Widevine.
You can of-course try any other innovative features on newer devices. Just as you would do A-B testing for specific users and specific features, you can only use specific features (like autoplay of video) on devices that properly support them. It does take time and effort getting to know all the possibilities and limitations of all the devices out there. But once you do know all the options, or find a specialist that does (wink ;)), you can serve the best possible experience to your users.
Netflix removing support for devices from 2010 and 2011 due to technical limitations is kind of expected. Support for later devices will likely stay for a longer time, due to the technical support of Playready DRM. By understanding the possibilities and limitations of older SmartTVs, it is very much possible to continue to support them. It might take time and effort to do so, but your users will be very happy they don’t have to trade in their trusty TV after only a few years of use.
If I’ve sparked your interest in making sure your applications continue to work on old SmartTVs, perhaps you might want to learn more. You can reach me personally through Linkedin, or learn more about what we can do for you at 24i through our website.
Also published on Medium