IBC 2017: time for ubiquitous content in an IoT world

Every year, content providers find new ways to deliver interactive media seamlessly and securely to every device – and the advent of Internet of Things enabled devices is making this choice of device even wider. This leads to an overwhelming number of competing services and subscriptions, which in turn means consumers have to navigate numerous apps in order to watch their favorite content. In this situation, the simple operation of choosing what to watch becomes a challenge. This fragmented approach to multiscreen can be a great source of frustration for consumers, but operators can resolve this by aggregating all content sources and delivering them via a single application. I recently talked to Goran Nastic, editor of CSI Magazine, to discuss how multiscreen needed to evolve to offer this experience today.

Dr Neale Foster, Managing Director and COO of ACCESS Europe, interviewed by CSI Magazine Editor Goran Nastic
Dr Neale Foster, Managing Director and COO of ACCESS Europe, interviewed by CSI Magazine Editor Goran Nastic.

This unified approach to multiscreen is something forward thinking operators, such as Reliance Jio Infocomm (Jio) in India, have already started to adopt. Earlier this year, we announced that Jio had deployed ACCESS Twine™ to power its multiscreen service targeting 100 million subscribers across India. Beyond Jio’s own content, available in the cloud, the service provides access to the consumer’s personal library and external sources such as YouTube, Dropbox, Google Drive and social media content in and out of the home.

This year we will be returning to IBC to explain how Jio has laid the foundations for the next generation of multiscreen services for operators all over the world, and how pay-TV operators can follow in their footsteps and offer a similar experience to consumers.

Our on-stand demonstrations at IBC 2017 (stand #14.D14) will include:

  • ACCESS Twine™: The solution increases stickiness to services, regardless of content and/or device. Platform-agnostic and built on industry standards, ACCESS Twine™ enables operators to combine all kinds of content sources, be it public, private or premium content in an effort to limit application hopping. The platform’s functionality extends to data aggregation and management, which enables operators to create, transfer, store and analyze relevant usage data of media consumption, behavior, and preferred devices.
  • NetFront™ Browser family: NetFront™ Browser solutions are high performance HTML5-capable software solutions that provide operators, Systems on Chips vendors and device manufacturers with solutions enhancing Chromium and WebKit HTML5 engines with support for HbbTV, Freeview Play, YouTube on TV 2017 and up to 4K and 8K services. The NetFront Browser solutions present and execute an application that is an associated collection of documents (typically JavaScript™, CSS and HTML) as well as the content from the broadcast DSM-CC Object Carousel to provide the consumer with the interactive services they now expect.

Alongside product demonstrations throughout the show, Dr. Fleming Lampi, Global Product Director at ACCESS, will also be taking part in a panel discussion entitled “Service design considerations for the multi-screen OTT world” in the Content Everywhere Hub (Hall #14.J10 – Sunday, September 17 at 15:30 – 16:15), Attendees to the panel discussion will be able to learn about the various elements to take into account when developing a multiscreen-friendly user experience and learn how to choose the right content protection solutions for their online video services.

Our solutions are deployed in over 1.5 billion devices. To learn more about our plans at IBC 2017 or to book an appointment with us at the show, please contact tv@access-company.com

Is Chromecast disrupting the multiscreen industry or just a gadget supporting today’s use cases?

Google Chromecast

Google’s recent launch of the Google Chromecast dongle has been all over the new: plugging a simple dongle into your TV and using your smartphone and tablet as a remote opens new doors for the industry.

So what is it? It’s really a pretty simple small dongle that can be plugged into a TV HDMI port to enable OTT content to be watched on a connected TV all controlled by your Android or iOS device – and most important of all it’s only $35. It supports both HTML5 and Flash, making it compatible with virtually all video content available online. It was sold out in hours on Google Play, proving that there is enormous demand for user-friendly tools that enable the consumption of Internet content on the TV.

However, security is an issue. Commentators discussing Google Chromecast report that it lacks any kind of basic password control: once plugged into the TV, Chromecast can be controlled by virtually anyone that comes by.

The idea that any device can become a remote for connected TVs is not new, popular standards such as Digital Living Network (DLNA) already provide this kind of functionality. Many TV’s support DLNA and operators are beginning to use DLNA to provide exciting new multiroom and multiscreen experiences without the requirement for additional hardware. These new use cases are supported by the DLNA Premium Video Guidelines, which have been designed to support operators and content owners looking to provide secure multiscreen experiences.

While DLNA already incorporates security requirements from Studios and Operator, the Chromecast device is still lacking such functionality. Operators can utilize DLNA distribution and utilize HTML5 and Responsive Design UI as the developments standards to launch exciting multiscreen experiences.

It’s going to be interesting to see if Chromecast can work with biggest players in the broadcast landscape. Until it can, it will remain an interesting gadget rather than a full-fledged connected TV environment. We believe that right now the most important impact of Chromecast is in adding impetus to the effort of operators working towards providing the high-quality multiscreen experiences controlled by the set-top-box and extending to all other connected devices through the browser.

IHS Screen Digest report puts multiscreen monetization under the microscope

At ACCESS we are producing solutions to drive the success of multiscreen deployments. We are also aware that the business models to drive multiscreen are not yet solid – so to help drive multiscreen monetization debate forward we asked IHS Screen Digest to look at the issues surrounding monetization. The result is a white paper ‘Unlocking and Securing Multiscreen’s Monetization Potential’, now available at http://mediapilot.access-company.com/screendigest.html.

The IHS Screen Digest paper sites ‘insurance’ as the main driver of present multiscreen deployments, with monetization some time I the future. IHS Screen Digest states this as follows: “Pay-TV multiscreen is not a reaction to eroding subscription bases, or revenue loss in the present. It is a form of insurance, and secures the future where consumers continue to purchase high-value pay-TV subscriptions.  … In pivoting their extensive content offers beyond the set-top, operators can protect the future of the subscription income stream, place subscriber acquisition on firm footing, and monetise wide- reaching content distribution in proactive, incremental fashion.”
In addition, the report identifies the three following technologies as key to driving multiscreen success: DLNA, HTML5 and security.

Key findings of the report include:

  • OTT has so far had little or no discernible impact on subscriber numbers (see graph below)
  • OTT is not affecting marginal revenues from operators’ advanced services
  • Consumers content spend is still predominantly on Pay-TV subscriptions
  • DLNA, HTML5 and security are the three key technologies key to multiscreen success

Our work in producing DLNA and HTML5 solutions and our collaboration with CAS/DRM partners means that we’re playing a key role in all three technologies that IHS Screen Digest identifies as at the heart of enabling the multiscreen revolution.

Although the report finds little hard evidence of OTT yet hurting the TV operators, when I’m talking to customers they are pretty sure that Pay-TV VoD buy rates are lower when a consumer has OTT. Our research also suggests that OTT ARPU is in almost all cases considerably greater than incremental Pay-TV VoD ARPUs.

Putting together what the report says with what I’m hearing anecdotally it’s clear that Pay-TV operators are in a strong position. However, it’s critical that they guard against OTT chipping away at their customer base and VoD revenues. The best way to do that is by deploying powerful DLNA and HTML5 powered VoD, OTT, multiroom and multiscreen services that at least match their OTT rivals in terms of both usability and content breadth. If they can do that their natural advantages of existing strong content relationships, scale, QoS and customer care combined with the cross marketing and discounting they can offer to cross-sell VoD and OTT services to their existing customers will ensure that Pay-TV operators will continue to prosper relative to their OTT rivals.

 Joerg Eggink
Global Product Director, Connected Home
ACCESS Europe GmbH

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