Published September 10th, 2020
Episode 5 of IBC On Location takes us to the NDSM neighborhood in Amsterdam North, a vibrant haven for creatives challenging the norm of the Dutch art scene. Where better than to meet Sjors Hendriks, COO at Youfone, the Dutch MVNO challenging the market by offering people more value, choice, and freedom on how they bundle their internet, (mobile) phone and TV subscriptions.
Speaking to Vanessa Vigar, 24i’s VP Marketing, Sjors explains Youfone’s journey from mobile telephony to television and streaming video and how their recently-launched Android TV service offers even more choice and content to customers. Sjors explains why the service had to be launched in just five months and how this was made possible by the fast deployment of the 24i/Amino end-to-end multiscreen solution, and close collaboration with Google.
He advises industry executives that that without trade events, such as IBC, they can get a good feel of where the market and technologies are heading by working more closely with existing technology partners and influencing their roadmaps. While on location, Sjors and Vanessa enjoy “Dutch sashimi” and another typical IBC breakfast!
Launching a new product, or platform of products is always challenging, so why did we, 24i choose to launch our new Video Experience Platform during a pandemic? Pim Verbij, VP of Product at 24i, explains in the next episode of IBC On Location.
If anything, the pandemic has made the need for cloud-based solutions even more evident. Everything has changed - from the way we live, work and keep entertained.
As we are forced to connect and create remotely, smart software is making online collaboration possible from pretty much anywhere in the world. This shift, coupled with the sharp increase in consumer demand for streaming video, has resulted in a substantial increase of new subscriptions and traffic for many of 24i's customers.
The strength and flexibility of the 24i Video Experience Platform has therefore come into its own as it enables operators, broadcasters and content owners to rapidly scale and adapt their video services to attract and keep subscribers engaged. As Florian, our VP Design explained in a previous episode of IBC On Location, much of the control and fast time-to-market we provide to our customers, is powered by the underlying design system with the Video Experience Platform.
The pandemic has also forced streaming services to get creative. Good examples include Dutch broadcaster NPO, and the popular theatre streaming service BroadwayHD, which with their Watch Together events have enabled people to connect and share viewing experiences while they need to keep apart.
Looking ahead, the 24i product roadmap will focus on enriching our customer and the end-consumer viewing experience any way we can. This includes greater collaboration with partners across our Smart Ecosystem and providing new tools around areas such as data analytics, AB testing and other cutting edge second-screen functionality.
Apr 23, 2020
It’s probably not a great surprise that most stats published recently show that video viewing is up overall in countries enduring a COVID-19 induced lockdown. But if you look more closely at the stats three distinct patterns emerge: ● Daytime viewing is performing really well - primarily powered by large upticks in news and kid’s programming ● Live video growth is outperforming the growth in VoD and streaming - primarily driven by news ● Operators and content owners are trying new business models, such as ‘straight to streaming’ for new movies.
Daytime video viewing
While overall viewing has increased, one of the biggest trends has been a resurgence in daytime viewing. Because the effects of the global pandemic are having far-reaching impacts across the economic and political spectrums, news channels are seeing a major increase in viewership figures. Meanwhile, with social restrictions forcing schools to close down, kids have been turning to their favourite channels to pass the time. Streaming platforms are seeing increased viewership.
AT&T highlighted that CNN daytime viewership increased 150% in the week commencing 16 March compared to last year, meanwhile, on Monday, March 16 (the first full weekday following actions taken by many local and state governments to begin enforcing social distancing measures across the US) Fox News, MSNBC and Fox Business all experienced significant double-digit increases. A Nielsen analysis report also showed that consumers are increasingly gravitating to local news outlets to stay informed about the impact of the pandemic on their communities.
As governments are continuing to give daily updates on their efforts to address the virus and advise their citizens on the next course of action, it is likely that we will continue to see a rise in news consumption as people tune into their trusted channels for ongoing information about the world around them. And it’s not just news that’s enjoying a surge in popularity, with family-oriented programming channels also enjoying strong audience growth, with reports of TeenNick almost tripling and total time spent watching the network increasing 171%, DisneyXD and Nicktoons daytime viewing up over 60% with Nick Jr. and the Disney Channel up around 30%.
Live video viewing is rising fast
The Havas Media Group COVID-19 Media Behaviours Report found that in the UK 48% of people are watching more live TV than they did before lockdown, with around 40% watching more video on demand and streaming services. The report also showed that Live TV has a 40%+ upswing in all age groups, whereas streaming and VOD growth was concentrated in the younger age groups. Havas also reported strong TV growth for TV viewing in the other regions monitored, including France, Germany Italy and China.
In the USA, reports are showing total viewing hours up for live TV, driven upwards through an increase in total news viewing by over 70%.
New business models
Operators and content distributors are once again finding the truth of necessity being the mother of invention, with changes to schedules and business models.
Discussing the challenge of lockdown viewing, Ryan Chanatry, general manager of Topic, a popular OTT streaming service powered by 24i, told us that he is producing a limited series comedy special, to lighten people’s spirits and has been able to rearrange its programming schedule to launch a few high-profile and most binge-worthy dramas and comedies earlier than initially planned.
Another interesting trend is looking afresh at movie windows, with some studios trying ‘straight to streaming’ release windows. Reporting on this trend, Colin Dixon of nScreen Media discussing NBCU pressing ahead with PVOD, wrote: “It (NBCU) released Trolls World Tour direct to digital on April 10, and the move seems to have paid off. The $20 rental generated $2-$3 million on the first day of release in the U.S. and could be headed to outstrip Avengers: Endgame first week of digital availability.”
Our customers are enjoying viewing uplifts, in some cases much higher than the figures reported above. At Amino and 24i we continue to work hard to support our broadcast clients to work as effectively and efficiently as possible and that our OTT and streaming customers can readily scale in line with demand.
I’m looking forward to watching how these trends will play-out and if they will permanently affect business models as well as enabling us all to view what we want, when we want, at home, at work or on the move; long after the COVID-19 lockdown is over.
Contact us today to find out 24i can help you scale and extend your OTT streaming services
Jul 01, 2020
There is much debate around the future of
TV, from both a production and consumption perspective. One thing is clear,
however, that while we mostly take the User Interface of our TV and video
services for granted, it is often a key deciding factor when the time comes to
renew our subscription(s).
In a recent interview published for International Women's Day, hosted by Women in Streaming Media, Peggy Dau, Founder & Managing Partner, MAD Perspectives, and Yujin Joung, UI Designer at 24i, discuss the often hidden importance of UI design for TV and streaming services. The lively and informative discussion covers:
1: UI/UX is gaining a lot of attention with the increased number of OTT services. Why is UI/UX important to pay-TV and OTT Providers?
As we already know, today the market is very competitive and fast-growing. Service providers need to build their own clear strategy for UI/UX in order to retain their customers. We can help them by creating distinguished features that users love to have. We look at the market trends and see if they are relevant to our clients based on their users and their own content. For example, let’s look at autoplay. This is when the video service automatically starts playing the next episode when you are watching a TV series. There is no need to manually select the next episode. If all services don’t have this same feature, subscribers will get annoyed by the services that don’t have it. This is a good example where the UI/UX anticipates the user’s needs. This small feature improves the general perception of the product.
Why has the UI/UX design with rows of images become the "standard"
for video services?
I think the rows of images started from the experience at the movie theatre when you see posters next to each other on the wall. We wanted to provide a similar experience which was the start of a trend that has become the standard.
We are more attracted to visual images than text. Images are easy to consume because they require less cognitive effort. Big images are more eye-catching than long boring texts. I believe the same to be true for video services. TV is a visual platform, not made for reading text. Instead, TV is mostly made for consuming media. Therefore, we need to make an easier and more usable product for the content.
3: What's new in UI/UX design?
There is a lot of focus on personalizing
the user experience. Artificial Intelligence helps to understand your profile
and what you like to watch. You see relevant content directly from the
homepage, instead of using the menu to find what you’re looking for. The
content comes to you, instead of you going to the content. The product can
understand how you use it, and adapts its interface.
One of my colleagues gave me an amazing example of this. He has a video app and uses the same channel every Monday. This app collects the data about what and when he watches. The app now shows the same channel every Monday for him. That’s really impressive. Just imagine how this will evolve in the future.
Why is UI/UX important to consumers?
I think I can explain this with my personal experience. Recently I wanted to get more fit and I was looking for a fitness app which allows me to choose any kind of gym. So, I decided to download a few of them and just compare which one I want to use.
In one app, it was hard to understand what’s what; in general, it was just too difficult to use. I tried to use the map function which would allow me to see the nearest gym, but the result was just a chaos of data and images. Also, the look and feel of the app felt old, which made me wonder if the information provided by the app would be trustworthy. The content of an app is very important, but how we present it is also crucial. UI/UX helps consumers to experience the app in the best possible way. This is why UI/UX is important.
5: What's important as we move ahead?
Users all behave differently and experience
products in their own way. We need to keep looking for new solutions and
technologies to improve the experience.
There must be a "wow" experience when they start to use the product. We need to make the user instantly fall in love with the services we create. Beautiful graphic design, playful animations, and easy interaction are examples of ways to impress the users.
Sep 11, 2020
On our last day On Location at IBC, Kjeld Beijer, 24i's Partnerships Manager takes the opportunity to catch up with Unified Streaming's Rochelle Morrison and Anne Zant down by the Amsterdam waterfront.
From providing streaming solutions in the cloud or on-premise, Unified Streaming is a key partner within 24i's Smart Ecosystem and prides itself on enabling video service providers with encoding and real-time packaging to reach any device.
When talking to Kjeld on the effects the pandemic has had on the TV and video industry, Rochelle and Anne both cite examples of how some companies, including a few sports brands, are getting creative on how they produce live events while keeping within the new restrictions, and how others are offering new SVOD and AVOD content packages to entertainment-hungry audiences around the world.
Finally, Anne shares a tip on how to stay cool when you come to Amsterdam next time!