Pay TV Future and Trending Focal Point
Traditional pay TV operators, i.e. cable operators, are facing competition from over-the-top (OTT) providers that are delivering live and on-demand video over the internet on top of the operator’s legacy network.
Meanwhile, consumers who do not care how content is delivered are increasingly turning to OTT providers because they meet the modern user experience expectations of app-based and multi screen services.
But there’s no rule out there that says Pay TV can’t play in that world. Pay TV providers are moving from struggling to keep pace with retail set top boxes to simply embracing the retail device world of Amazon, Google, Apple and Roku.
Wouldn’t it be great to have all of your cable content on the same device as Netflix, Amazon and thousands of other video, gaming and connected home services?
What would your TV service look like if you could build it on top of the most advanced development platforms in the world? Would you like consumers to be able to discover your content via the voice and search capabilities from Alexa, Google Assistant and Siri?
Over the past few years, Pay TV providers have begun embracing the wave of value that comes from joining these huge app-based, streaming ecosystems, making Pay TV’s ability to compete stronger than ever.
Here are five trends the industry is showing that’s proving that Pay TV providers aren’t giving up and are making necessary changes to ensure they’re here to stay:
App-based doesn’t mean no set top box
Giant Pay TV providers like Google, Apple and Roku just to mention a few, are also offering programs that allow operators to sell their own branded, customized versions of the retail TV devices.
Operators are in a position to go to market with a compelling device strategy if they convert their legacy product to a streaming product: finally access your cable lineup on your own phones, tablets, computers, connected TVs and TV streaming devices.
For consumers who don’t have a smart TV/streaming TV device or for consumers who aren’t ready for the minimalist approach to retail box remote controls, operators can offer an Android-based, managed set top box customized to fill that need without giving up the benefits that come from the Android ecosystem, since Android Mobile Operating System is mostly used all around the World.
Most content will be delivered on demand
Users will continue to be motivated to watch breaking news and sporting events live but gone will be the days of “appointment television,” when people gathered around the TV at a certain time to watch a specific show at the time of its original broadcast.
As TV moves from this linear, time-based model to viewing non-linear on-demand, non-time constraint programming, consumers want to watch what they want, when they want.
The operators and programmers that can provide an experience that does not limit it’s subscribers desire to watch certain programming live but that unlocks the value of treating everything as on demand will win.
Next level metadata
Metadata is a set of data that describes and giving more information about a data. Generally, I describe metadata as giving information about information.
We’ve all heard the phrase, “you can’t judge a book by its cover;” the same could be said for selecting something to view based on a thumbnail image.
Helping a user go from not knowing anything about a particular piece of content to deciding to hit the play button is one of the biggest factors in driving more engagement with video.
Video services have been working on recommendations technology, that is, using Artificial Intelligence to put the right content in front of the user at the right time but this on its own isn’t enough if the way the images, descriptions, critic or audience ratings, social signals and trailers aren’t used in a way that gets the user to pay attention.
So what is the best possible way to do that? Netflix is creating programmatic mini-trailers that autoplay when you put focus on the poster; they are also A/B testing which posters resonate with which users.
This is just the beginning as consumer video services attempt to optimize the best way to ramp up a user’s interest from 0 to 60 seconds in the very small windows of attention that a user gives as they browse through content libraries.
Personalized linear channels
Just because everything is available on demand doesn’t mean that the idea of auto-playing a content lineup back to back like a linear channel isn’t a good idea.
Behavioral analytics show that users end up watching and enjoying content that they may not have watched otherwise when it autoplays after their done watching a program.
The problem with traditional linear channels is that they are once size fits all. Networks did their best to optimize time slots for the general population but that will never be as good as a personalized feed.
So if it’s 7pm on Thursday and I’m on TNT, the NBA game is definitely what I want to watch but TNT would be better off showing The Alienest in the other room to my roommate because there is a new episode that they haven’t watched yet and they aren’t a sports fan.
It doesn’t matter whether you are Netflix, YouTube or an MVPD, the algorithms behind what to play next are key to longer, happier video sessions.
Generally people don’t like commercials but there is a point at which they’d prefer to watch a commercial instead of paying a higher price. If there’s is always going to be some version of advertising with video, it might as well be the most relevant ad possible.
This is a step in the right direction for everyone: users, content providers, advertisers and operators. The massively powerful advertising technologies that have driven the personalization of ads via Google, Facebook/Instagram and others are about to finally go mainstream on the TV screen.
The desire to stream content and access quality content for the best price is driving the cord-cutting trend. Now that Pay TV providers are embracing the wave of value that comes from joining the app-based streaming ecosystem, Pay TV’s ability to compete is stronger than ever.