Climbing to the top of an industry is no easy feat but staying on top is even harder. With new innovations launching daily and new entrants such as Amazon, Apple and Google moving more aggressively from their core industry to video, the stakes continue to get higher and higher in the TV industry. Companies require quick thinking, adaptability and a capacity to grab every opportunity if they want to stay competitive. The shift to multiscreen demonstrates in a comprehensive way how the market has reshaped itself to adapt to consumer demand.
Contrary to the traditional one-to-many delivery of broadcast, where the operator delivers video to the set-top box or directly to the TV, multiscreen delivery is more complex. Operators now have to offer great content, secure delivery, and a capacity to reach the viewer on every screen all in a single service. This means that they need to acquire a compelling catalogue; develop software solutions catering for all types of screens, which vary widely in terms of size and security specifications; and deliver any type of content (both SD and HD) to each of these screens, both in and out of the home. Whereas in some of the most connected countries in the world such as South Korea and Japan, mobile users have been able to watch video on their smartphones even underground for a few years, the network issue is currently being addressed in Europe, leaving room for more innovation in the years to come.
Building an experience that works on all screens is not simple, but technology vendors are increasingly working hand in hand to fill in the gaps in technology know-how. This has led to the multiplication of joint solutions ranging from proprietary security to content management and all the way through a strategic rethink of the telco-broadcast relationship. In addition to in-house R&D, which requires considerable budget, companies are looking to technology and content acquisitions. The first quarter of 2014 has been populated by a series of strategic mergers, showing that organisations are seeing multiscreen as a game changer and not just a buzzword anymore. The wave that started with the Comcast-Time Warner merger doesn’t seem to be abating, and a number of other players have joined in, including Vodafone, who’s demonstrated that telcos will increasingly be pivotal in the TV industry via its acquisition of ONO in Spain. These M&As demonstrate that it’s not all about technology: while original series such as House of Cards are enabling Netflix to become a leading content provider, broadcasters need to increase their reach, and purchasing content rights allows them to target audiences such as the Millennials and cord-cutters, who are leading the way towards a ‘time-shifted consumption’ business model – whether on the traditional TV set or connected devices.
Multiscreen is blossoming, and many more developments will happen in the near future without a doubt. However, it is clear that we’re moving from the experimental phase to a strengthening of the market, leading to a brand new TV industry that will ultimately be available everywhere.
Written by Segolene Roche.
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