One step closer to TV Everywhere?

Last week the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion announced pro­pos­als to make online sub­scrip­tion ser­vices – such as Net­flix and Sky’s Now TV – portable across the EU. It’s a con­ve­nient solu­tion for con­sumers, but what are the impli­ca­tions for the broad­cast sec­tor? Here’s my take on things:

  1. With a new set of mar­kets comes a new set of tar­get­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties: These changes will bring huge poten­tial for mar­keters and adver­tis­ers to deliv­er a more per­son­alised expe­ri­ence depend­ing on users’ cir­cum­stances at any point in time. To make the most of this oppor­tu­ni­ty, adver­tis­ers need to make sure they are tar­get­ing con­sumers respon­si­bly and in a way they are com­fort­able with. There are already moves in the indus­try to pro­vide more per­son­alised broad­cast­ing, and we now have an oppor­tu­ni­ty for the ad side to real­ly learn and focus on effec­tive, non-con­fronta­tion­al strate­gies to make the user expe­ri­ence as rel­e­vant as possible.
  2. TV adver­tis­ing will get pro­gram­mat­ic: More adver­tis­ers in the video indus­try will turn to auto­mat­ed ad buy­ing to deal with the com­plex­i­ties of seg­ment­ing this expand­ed audi­ence. We are not only deal­ing with new geo­gra­phies, but new cul­tures and lan­guages. The key to suc­cess will be automa­tion which has real intel­li­gence behind it. Broad­cast­ers and OTT providers will also turn more towards pro­gram­mat­ic in order to sell their inven­to­ry across an even wider adver­tis­ing base. Of course, automat­ing things allows us to process more infor­ma­tion, faster. But there’s a real oppor­tu­ni­ty here to com­bine that automa­tion with true intel­li­gence which is devel­op­ing from the under­stand­ing of the audi­ence that’s watch­ing, in real-time. That com­bi­na­tion of con­tent plus audi­ence plus automa­tion will make many excit­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties for the first broadcaster/service to mas­ter the balance.
  3. User authen­ti­ca­tion and enti­tle­ment will be a top pri­or­i­ty: The whole of this propo­si­tion is based on being able to iden­ti­fy some­one, whether they are at home or on a busi­ness trip in Bel­gium. Authen­ti­ca­tion and enti­tle­ment checks will become even more sig­nif­i­cant as these changes come into play. Will users be hap­py to sign-on to watch what is freely avail­able in their own coun­try? Actu­al­ly, I believe that get­ting users to sign in when they watch is a bonus for them – yes it allows more pre­cise adver­tis­ing, but the plus for the user is that… the adver­tis­ing is more rel­e­vant to them!
  4. Major con­tent pro­duc­ers could enter the mar­ket direct­ly: Major con­tent cre­ators can make new busi­ness mod­els by going straight to con­sumers instead of sell­ing their con­tent to each geog­ra­phy. By doing so they could com­plete­ly change the mar­ket­place. Sell­ing con­tent into each geog­ra­phy usu­al­ly entails licens­ing a local ser­vice or broad­cast for that con­tent, but the oppor­tu­ni­ty for those that make their own con­tent to have a direct rela­tion­ship with the end view­er is going to be very enticing.
  5. The busi­ness case for inter­na­tion­al con­tent will grow: A lot of TV con­tent is already pro­duced for an inter­na­tion­al audi­ence, but we’ll like­ly see more dri­ve to doing things such as sub­ti­tling or mul­ti­ple lan­guage tracks. This abil­i­ty has been around for some time but the busi­ness case will undoubt­ed­ly grow. Tech­ni­cal­ly, this will help dri­ve adop­tion of com­mon stan­dards for things like sub­ti­tle for­mats but, per­haps more impor­tant­ly, the wider view­er­ship may lead to pub­lic broad­cast­ers going after a big­ger pie. More view­ers means more ad rev­enue and more success.
  6. CDNs will be lever­aged even more to deliv­er con­tent across Europe: The process of deliv­er­ing video con­tent is actu­al­ly very sim­ple, but many small­er local CDNs may not have this mul­ti-coun­try capa­bil­i­ty. This could have huge ram­i­fi­ca­tions if they have an exist­ing long-term con­tract with a broad­cast­er but are unable to deliv­er this geo­graph­i­cal expansion.
  7. Small­er play­ers need to act fast: While big play­ers will be able to exploit these new oppor­tu­ni­ties almost imme­di­ate­ly, for small­er play­ers it may mean a com­plete re-design of their work­flows. Unless they have the right tech­ni­cal sup­port in place, it could take them a cou­ple of years to take full advan­tage of the new oppor­tu­ni­ty. But once that oppor­tu­ni­ty is grasped and they under­stand how to cre­ate the right pack­ages of con­tent plus adver­tis­ing plus audi­ence, then they will be able to expand at a tremen­dous rate.

Broad­cast­ers, CDNs and adver­tis­ers need to pre­pare fast for this new TV land­scape. There will be a whole new set of busi­ness dri­vers to man­age, but tremen­dous oppor­tu­ni­ties to cre­ate and mon­e­tise per­son­alised expe­ri­ences. It is a great step for­ward to achiev­ing the vision of TV everywhere.