Key Themes

So, where are we now?

2020-21 was one heck of a year, and as we lift our heads to the horizon again, what do we see? Who is the post-Covid consumer and what do they think about life, entertainment, broadcast and digital services? Where are we on the road to all-IP television, in terms of digital viewer numbers, viewing hours, advertising engagement and dollars? And what about linear vs on-demand? What is the trajectory for cord-cutting? What trends were lockdown-specific, and what changes will be permanent? We invite leading analysts to explain the state of play in media and entertainment.

 

Making D2C work

Direct-to-consumer is a mini-earthquake, challenging the historic content exclusivity of Pay TV, expanding the total TV catalogue and the potential time (and money) spent on television, and helping to migrate eyeballs into digital. We want to know how the industry makes D2C work, for the studios and broadcasters who want to retail their own content but still need Pay TV operators to maximise their reach, and for the Pay TV platforms who are ready to onboard the new apps. What does a great D2C/Pay TV partnership look like and what can a Pay TV operator offer that a Smart TV OS provider can’t? Where else do D2C streamers want to be found? We take a more general look at D2C go-to-market strategies, plus the impact of D2C on the content business as some studios produce for themselves rather than third-parties, and coronavirus prompts direct-to-VOD movies.

 

Ultimate Video Entertainment Facilitators

Let’s cut to the chase: if Pay TV operators do not turn themselves into successful super-aggregators and intelligent content discovery agents that can anticipate our desires and line up the next three hours of programming, they have a limited future, given that D2C could undermine much of their content exclusivity. We want to know how they become irreplaceable regardless of the growing competition for the role of curator/aggregator. What are the value-adds they must provide (lovable UX, personalisation, onboarded apps, bundling and discounting of streaming services)? How do they differentiate themselves from global television OS providers who have their own data smarts and shiny UIs? Why should D2C streamers want a distribution partnership? What are the tech building blocks? They may start the decade as Pay TV operators, BDUs or MVPDs, but they must end it as UVEFs – Ultimate Video Entertainment Facilitators.

 

The connected TV adventure

Connected TV is the new frontier in television, providing new content and choice to consumers, new audiences and targeting opportunities to advertisers, a new distribution channel for media owners of every size, new viewing insights, and a new breed of TV provider in the shape of Smart TV and connected TV platforms complete with their OS, UX and content curation. We consider the current and future role of connected TV as a way to deliver, consume and monetise premium television. Is CTV cannibalising other TV revenues or expanding the total market for TV entertainment? What is preventing even faster CTV growth and how can those barriers be removed? How can all stakeholders maximise the value they get from this ‘channel’ – and what do great CTV partnerships look like? These are among the questions that will be tackled.

 

Pay TV as the advanced advertising enabler

Advanced advertising is many things – and more than dynamic advertising insertion. It means rich data insights that allow audiences to be segmented more precisely according to demo, viewing behaviour and lifestyle. It means trusted audience measurement that complements JIC panels, and the ability to attribute advertising exposures to business outcomes, like website visits or purchase. And it means addressability (targeting) around linear and on-demand content. We explore how Pay TV operators can become the advanced advertising enabler, helping advertisers reach audiences via their own content or, increasingly, via inventory owned by content partners (notably broadcasters). The focus is on a new market opportunity and the best practice that will unlock it, including the tech requirements and business models.

 

In search of new Pay TV revenues

The television market is ultra-competitive – a small number of Pay TV operators are even questioning the logic of their own curated TV packages. We explore the new revenue streams and market opportunities available to a video service provider, from ‘data insights as a service’ and targeted content promotion, to addressable advertising, gaming on TV, TV-commerce and the nascent but exciting prospect of a captive entertainment audience in the connected and autonomous car. The no-brainers and the slow-burners will be analysed.

 

Television OS

Google, Samsung, LG, Amazon, Apple and Roku all have their own television operating systems and benefit from a fast-expanding universe of connected TV content including studio D2C. They know hardware. They know software. They do data. In some cases, they are central to the evolving Smart Home. Android TV is the OS and services ecosystem of choice for a growing number of Pay TV providers, and some operators are now shipping Apple TV boxes in place of their own STBs. We take a look at the role these global CE companies have across all TV and whether they could become the only game in town when it comes to the Television OS.

 

UX as an engine for growth

We explore best practice in the television UX and CX, whether Pay TV or OTT, subscription or ad-funded. First on the agenda: how services maximise engagement from viewers (looking beyond the content they can offer). The second point for discussion: how we turn engagement into profit. This discussion spans next-generation content discovery, the nature of truly personalised services, the future of content curation and presentation, and customer marketing and lifecycle management. We want to know how data and insights boost KPIs. How does the UX adapt to more on-demand? How do content owners maintain prominence and brand attribution (including public service broadcasters) inside the global TV OS provider landscape?

 

Shifting ad dollars from broadcast to digital

All TV will eventually be streamed, meaning most TV will be connected TV (even if streamed into an operator set-top box). Every ad dollar will be a digital ad dollar, and every ad will be served using digital video ad-tech. We want to know how the television industry performs this transition successfully, moving broadcast revenues into digital. How do we strip cost from the digital ad-tech ecosystem? How do we run advertising campaigns that successfully blend broadcast and digital while both have significant audiences? How do media owners maximise yield from their digital inventory? We find out what advertisers want from this transition, especially near-term. Because broadcasters dominate broadcast advertising, and so have the most to lose from a poorly executed transformation, there is a special focus on how they make streaming (on-demand or linear) pay.

 

Majority-streaming: the viability study

Are we ready for at least half of all viewers and viewing hours to be served by streaming, rather than broadcasting? If not, what will it take? In this wide ranging discussion, we cover the technology, the user experience and the business challenges on the road from majority-broadcast to majority-streaming – and then look ahead to broadcast switch-off. We want to know about advances in delivery infrastructure that will guarantee a broadcast-grade streaming experience, including for live. With restart, catch-up, VOD, apps and cloud DVR already served to STBs as ABR streams, how do we build a back-office future around ABR, and improve ‘last metre delivery’ (home Wi-Fi) to go with improved last miles? We want to know how apps build and maintenance can be made easy – and if we will always need (or want) apps for streaming.

 

Delivering the new operator experience

We have a reasonable idea of what the new operator experience has to deliver, from onboarded apps and universal search to personalisation, voice, assistant services, 4K and outstanding Wi-Fi. But how do we deliver this to every set-top box and make it affordable as well as adaptable? The focus is on the CPE, back-office and operations innovations that will help Pay TV and free-to-air platforms thrive in the 2020s. Whether unifying broadcast and streaming, or juggling on-prem with the cloud, or shifting to open source middleware, we highlight the practical fixes. This is about best-value services, web velocity and high net promoter scores.

 

Addressable TV: What the buy-side needs you to know

For platform providers, broadcasters and streamers who have not pressed ‘Go’ on addressable (targeted) TV advertising, here is an opportunity to hear from TV advertisers on why you should do it, how they will reward you, and what they need from your implementation. For the sell-side, addressable TV is more than a revenue opportunity; it is how you stay relevant to marketers who want the chance to segment audiences more precisely and who will seek that capability elsewhere if they cannot get it from TV. You can treat these buy-side insights as an RFP – and go away with some ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts’ that will help your planning.