What’s Ahead for 2013
1. TV Everywhere becomes a dominant way to consume premium content online – Set aside cable subscriber churn and cord cutting, MVPDs and programmers own rights to the majority if not to all premium content and to maximize the value, both from the existing revenue streams and new revenue opportunities with digital ads, they will continue to add more and more content online. To watch it, you will need to authenticate.
2. Even though there is a lot of noise around Connected TVs, gaming consoles such as Xbox and PlayStation will own a ten foot OTT delivered experience – Looking from an outside Connected TVs seem to be a logical choice. However, gaming consoles have two key advantages: 1) well established user base in 10s of millions of online connected users, and 2) maturity of the platform and developer base. While TV OEMs are good at creating quality hardware (TVs), Microsoft and Sony have a much longer history of creating software which should allow them to create more compelling user experiences that go well beyond simple EPG and VOD guides.
3. Mobile video consumption (mainly tablet based) will surpass PC online video consumption for the first time – The number of mobile devices continues to grow and 2012 London Olympics clearly marked the rise of tablet based viewing with close to 40% of viewing done on iPads. With new tablet devices entering market (Google Nexus, Microsoft Surface, Amazon Kindle Fire) and increasingly users replacing their notebooks, laptops and PCs with tablets, expect this trend to accelerate and for mobile to ultimately surpass PC online video consumption sometimes in 2013.
4. Live linear will be the fastest growing area with hundreds of new channels around the world being added every month – The latest announcements by the likes of Cox, Comcast and Verizon FiOS about making their linear channels available online or growing the number of their linear channels currently available online are only the signs of things to come. It started with video on-demand (Comcast xfinity services opened the flood gates) and the next logical move is to enable users to watch their favorite channels online on one or more devices. It is not only a matter of convenience (e.g., sitting on a train and watching ESPN Sports Center) but also an adjustment to tailor to a change in consumer behavior. Younger users who have grown up on the Internet and mobile devices are more likely to watch it on those devices than traditional TV sets.
5. Cloud media workloads (next-gen VOD and LIVE) will evolve and further propel the growth of online media by making digitization and distribution scalable, less complex, more reliable and cost effective – The previous four trends indicate an exponential increase in the quantity of online video. Current hardware and software solutions simply can’t keep up nor can be relied on to accommodate this growth, even less to fuel it. Cloud is rapidly maturing, and when coupled with the new generation of media workflow software built specifically for the cloud to take advantage of the cloud’s inherent strengths, it will give us the means not only to meet this demand but also to accelerate it while dealing with the changing landscape of media formats and devices in a much more agile way. It is the beginning of a trend that will continue for years to come until media digitization and delivery is as seamless and utilitarian as getting power from your local power provider.