TV as an entertainment medium is fast changing from a laid back, passive unit to an active, intelligent, connected and more engaging platform and as people become more mobile, it is becoming imminent that content providers tag along and extend the entertainment services on the go!. An earlier published report by Park Associates reveals that North America and Western Europe are showing significant growth in multiscreen services with
TVE services projected to reach 81% of U.S. and Canadian pay-TV subscribers in 2011 through their current service providers.
Devices with extended form factor like iPad, galaxy tab hold significant potential in furthering the opportunity to disseminate video entertainment with anywhere, anytime convenience.
Today, consumers have strong desire to control what to watch, when, how and on which device to watch– added with the price one pays to consume the content. Content consumption is no longer confined to drawing room couch setup but is gradually intertwining with our lifestyle schedule; it could be while waiting for the flight at the airport, over lunch, on vacation or at work or while traveling. Consumers are gradually embracing downloads and content streaming and TVE provides an opportunity to access subscribed content within and outside the confines of home TV.
While digitization of content, exponential increase in connected devices, faster broadband, increased user mobility and user expectations (read convenience!) have significant role play towards mobilizing TVE adoption, there are few other stimulators forcing cable, IPTV and satellite providers to join the TVE bandwagon. We can broadly classify them under Sustainability, Competition and Business Opportunity
Content owners and TV networks have maintained a long steady relationship with TV service providers; delivering content through traditional channels of distribution while keeping check on volume of premium TV and movie content available on the web and also protecting the lucrative business of syndicating hit shows to TV providers. This relationship has been trustful and mutually beneficial for both. Enter TVE and we have a framework which promises to take this relationship further, where networks are either denying content for non-cable customers (HBO, ESPN etc.) or and limiting content through delayed online streaming like FOX introducing 8-day delay for new episodes for Hulu users.
TVE is fast becoming a necessity for TV service providers to retain control and remain as the single interface window for connectivity, content and service provisioning across devices. In retrospect TVE is also a step by TV networks to partner with cable and satellite providers for extended online service contracts and negotiate on higher re-transmission fees.
Competition -Threat from new media retailers
Content streaming is gaining widespread popularity and with TV networks introducing direct online subscriptions – there is a growing threat for conventional content providers for consumer could ditch their service for selected, no agreement subscriptions. Entry of new stakeholders – content aggregators and distributors like Amazon (LoveFilm), Google (YouTube) and commercial OTT provides like Netflix, HuluPlus etc. into the scared domain of content retailing has brought in competition in the space which has long been privy of TV network and cable providers. Major technology giants including Microsoft (Xbox), Amazon (Kindle..) and Google (GTV), TV OEMs (Sony, Samsung, Panasonic etc.) are also entering the space with baggage of devices and content ecosystems encouraging TV providers to augment their traditional delivery models.
Differentiator- As TVE services grow, it may emerge as a differentiator across service providers in the same Geo location or/and a potential attribute to go beyond their traditional boundaries. Competitive reports suggest that households planning to switch providers may defer decision if provided with free TVE services, strongly suggesting that Tier 2 and Tier 3 provider who may lag TVE roll-out are at greater risk of losing subscribers.
Advertising: Media industry depends heavily on advertising sponsorship which makes production of content economically viable for subscription. In traditional broadcast format consumers would switch channels during commercial break only to find more commercials on other channels (you simply can’t hide), this changed as DVR introduced technology to skip or fast forward commercials which affected the advertising model. Now with consumers going mobile and relying on ad free Video on demand, there is a need to extend the TV experience (with the embedded commercials) on the go!. TVE provides the mechanism to stick around the subscriber and sustain the model build on embedding commercials with the content.
Online Business model – With TV networks like ESPN, HBO etc. adopting direct retailing with “Go Direct model” and programmers entering into exclusive deals with OTT players – customer are adopting cord cutting resulting in loss from reduced new subscriptions and renewals. With large amount of cable content making its way into digital world, absence of TV provider’s online delivery channel is leading to potential revenue loss from online, on-demand content delivery business.
Consumers are demanding video content on multiple platforms, and service providers are stepping up to address the demand but the necessity for TVE is more critical for TV service provides to remain competitive and sustain their business. With growth in traditional pure video subscription pushed on the back burner, internet enabled content delivery is positioned to further gain focus and greater consumer adoption in days to come.