August 25, 2011
John Clancy is the president and CEO at Azuki Systems, where he is leading this charge to deliver video content to the mobile devices of millions of consumers worldwide. You can catch up on Azuki news or check out the company’s blog.
Fueled by the explosive growth of smartphones and tablets, video viewing habits have forever changed. It’s no surprise that consumers, who have been quick to embrace video services like HBO GO, Netflix and Hulu, are now expecting a more personal, interactive and seamless viewing experience across their traditional TV, laptops, gaming consoles, and connected TVs, as well as on smartphones and tablets.
Here, we’ll discuss the current state of personalized mobile video and what consumers can expect in the future.
The Personalized Mobile Video Experience: What’s Available Today?
Consumers are changing their viewing habits in favor of “TV Everywhere.” They no longer make “appointments” to sit down and view content, and are no longer limited by TV programming schedules. They want content whenever and wherever they are.
But what does this new trend mean for cable providers? In competing with industry giants like Netflix and Hulu who provide their viewers with content on-the-go, cable companies are now being compelled to offer video service alternatives. According to an article by iTVEDIA, “HBO’s success might embolden more premium cable [channels] to develop streaming apps, as more viewers are enjoying their favorite shows on their iPads than their television screens. The apps could help retain customers and sweeten expensive cable packages for those who might otherwise switch to streaming services like Netflix and Hulu.” With TV Everywhere options creeping into households, content creators and service providers are making a mad dash to get screen time on mobile and other connected devices.
Though consumers have multiple options for acquiring and accessing video content via mobile — including models like authentication, subscription, rental and pay-per-view — their experience doing so is not seamless across different devices. That’s because most TV Everywhere solutions on the market today are not yet mature enough to provide a consistent user experience across different devices, and they lack a key ingredient for success — personalization.
What’s Coming Next?
Unlike content served via traditional TVs, video on a mobile device can offer a more personalized user experience. However, the implementation and adoption of personalized services are still in their infancy.
For example, today, while meaningful (targeted) ads can be delivered and viewed when watching a video on mobile devices, most companies are still trying to figure out how to measure exposure and capitalize on it. That’s because most TV Everywhere solutions on the market today don’t have the technical capability to collect real-time analytical information across many mobile devices. The next phase of mobile video will allow for a truly personalized experience with targeted ads that are relevant to the consumer based on location, device, user history, content preferences and other criteria. This can be done by capturing and correlating real-time data just as it’s done with website analytics today.
Users will also be able to share the viewing experience within social networks in the form of live chats or tweets, seamlessly connecting their friends to the content as well. The next generation of TV Everywhere will offer interfaces with major social media APIs, recommendation and analytical engines, as well as EPGs (Entertainment Program Guides). With these capabilities in place, consumers will be able to give and receive recommendations from their network (e.g. “If you like Show A, you should also check out Show B”) based on their viewing history.
The Pursuit of Personalization: We’re Almost There
TV Everywhere powered by Over-the-Top (OTT) video is the new reality for the industry. Consumers want a consistent experience across any device, and service providers will have to deliver it to stay ahead of the game.
However, this is not about “cable/TV video service providers” vs “OTT video service providers” — it’s about the consumers. With all of the competition and growing capabilities, it will be the personalization features that set some providers above others. Right now, critical limitations are mostly coming from behind the scenes; content rights negotiations need to progress before these advanced personalized services become available to consumers. But once the industry can overcome this hurdle, the opportunities will be endless.