Published December 11th, 2017
At OTT TV World Summit in London, three panelists shared their opinion on what technique or approach they have seen that is helping to make the online video experience better, and what is not. Here’s what each had to say.
Gary Hammer, SVP Sales and Business Development at SmartLabs, focused on one of the fundamental buildings blocks of the OTT video revolution:
“Adaptive bitrates have revolutionized viewing on multiscreen devices. We’ve certainly seen greater customers satisfaction with the quality of the video. It’s much better than just high, medium, and low, and you’re stuck with whichever one you chose.”
Barney Withers Green, Sales Director, Media & Entertainment Solutions EMEA at Verizon Digital Media, zeroed in on the oldest form of video distribution, the linear channel. However, the way these channels are being put together online is undergoing a quiet revolution:
“The concept of virtual linear, or pop-up channels. Gone are days when you can just deliver a prescribed channel. Whatever your content, you can create an engaging, customized channel. Our customizers have seen a huge amount of success with this.”
Data is one area that is receiving a huge amount of focus in the media industry. Henrik Eklund, CEO at Newstag, is seeing a lot of user data since his news video service launched. Moreover, aspects of the aggregate data have surprised him:
“What surprised us the most is when we launched this concept of crowd curation and looked at the aggregate data, we assumed it would be really narrow and be about the Kardashians and Trump. But that’s not really the fact.”
One of the areas where user data is applied most frequently is in the area of content recommendations. Mr. Hammer does not believe recommendations are necessarily helpful to everyone, especially pay TV operators.
“I’m going to be controversial and say recommendations. In a service provider environment, the experience is disappointing. They are not typically drawing from an infinite source of content. They have different relationships with different content providers, and the quality of the metadata is often different. The quality of the recommendations is disappointing.”
Mr. Eklund also thinks recommendations have been a disappointment. However, he thinks his company, Newstag, may have the answer:
“We have a really fast-moving environment, and 50,000 stories with all of them being consumed all the time. We have data that would be interesting to translate into a long-form experience. If this data can be translated to my mood, I think they can be valid again.”
One way to fix latency, a measure of how far a live stream is behind the original event, is to reduce the amount of video that is buffered by the client device. However, a smaller client buffer means the video playback is more vulnerable to freezes. Mr. Withers thinks many haven’t got the balance right yet:
“Latency is the big thing we are seeing lately. People are trying to get the most out of HLS, trying to balance buffer ratio and latency. There’s a lot of people that are trying to get the balance between the two and some of them aren’t getting it quite right.”
Not every idea is a good one when trying to improve the streaming media experience.
Adaptive bitrate streaming, virtual channels, and lots of user data seem to be working.
Recommendations and latency reduction techniques are not.
Source: N Screen Media
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!
In the last episode of our IBC On Location series, Florian Laroye, 24i's VP Design shares the journey the 24i brand is taking and the design principles that he and 24i Brand Designer, Katya Rassadina, are using to guide them along the way.
While 24i has developed enormously during its 11-year history, however, our brand has only had one update in all that time. About a year ago we decided it was time to apply the same creativity and innovation we bring to our industry to our own brand and give it a serious refresh.
To do this Katya and I have followed a few key principles:
Firstly, we removed the slash from the 24i logo to simplify it to the extreme. The numbers 24 and the letter 'i' are enough and say it all: 24i = 24 Innovation.
Secondly, we replaced our letter fonts with modern alternatives. This helps us stand out in an ecosystem where companies are mostly fairly conservative in their branding.
The third principle is the introduction of two, new, primary colors - Crimson (pink?) and Peacock. Crimson evolves us from our previous dark red color pallet, brightening up our brand and representing our passion for what we do. Peacock represents 24i's professionalism and offers a darker more stable complement to the bright and fiery Crimson color.
We have already rolled out our new branding across our social channels, marketing campaigns, and materials and we look forward to it taking centerstage in our new 24i website which is coming soon.