The $18B Conundrum: Adblocking Goes Mobile and Mainstream

Accord­ing to research from Parks Assoc­iates, pass­word-shar­ing is cost­ing sub­scrip­tion video-on-demand sVOD ser­vices north of $500MM per year. Com­pare that with adblock­ing, which is cost­ing ad-sup­ported con­tent providers $18B a year accord­ing to a new report from Adobe and Dublin-based Page­Fair.

$18B. With a “B.” That’s 36x the amount of eco­nomic dam­age inflicted by pass­word-shar­ing. Let that sink in. Now take a deep breath, and let’s look at the prob­lem.

Cause for Con­cern

His­tor­i­cally, the chal­lenges posed by adblock­ing have been lim­ited to the desk­top. How­ever, as con­sump­tion of tele­vi­sion and film con­tent have shifted to con­nected and mobile devices, the threat of adblock­ing has abated, or at least become less dire. Two major fac­tors are now caus­ing grave con­cern among con­tent pro­duc­ers who rely on adver­tis­ing as their pri­mary rev­enue source:

  1. Apple’s iOS 9 will likely include adblock­ing fea­tures in Safari by default.
  2. Adblock plus is now avail­able in lim­ited beta for Android.

Safari on desk­top main­tains a pal­try 3% mar­ket share, but it is by far the most widely used mobile web browser due the iPhone’s dom­i­nance (and Google’s unusual reluc­tance to end-of-life the native Android browser in favor of Chrome for Android, a deci­sion that would nar­row the gap with Safari mobile). If Apple extends its Con­tent Block­ing API to native mobile app devel­op­ers for iOS, and if Adblock Plus for Android gains trac­tion, the results could wreak longer-term havoc for ad-sup­ported broad­cast­ers and cable net­works who mon­e­tize dis­tri­b­u­tion to mobile devices.

Cur­rently, mea­sure­ment is one of the key fac­tors lim­it­ing uptake in lin­ear broad­cast to mobile and con­nected devices within the tra­di­tional C3 and C7 win­dows. But as Nielsen and other mea­sure­ment ser­vices improve their abil­ity to eval­u­ate audi­ence com­po­si­tion across screens, and as address­abil­ity and pro­gram­matic improve and become more wide­spread, more dol­lars will flow from tra­di­tional lin­ear to OTT and TV Every­where. Adblock­ing on mobile devices, how­ever, has the poten­tial to slow this move­ment to a trickle. Why exe­cute a mul­ti­screen TV buy if view­ers on half the screens can’t see the ad?

The Way For­ward

There are no easy or obvi­ous solu­tions to the prob­lem of adblock­ing. We agree with Univision’s Kevin Con­roy, who argued com­pellingly that mar­keters play a vital role in mak­ing dig­i­tal adver­tis­ing bet­ter. Mar­keters need to con­tinue telling the right story to the right per­son at the right time, of course, but they also need to do it in a way that delights, or enter­tains, or informs the viewer.

For agen­cies and adver­tis­ers, Adobe offers Cre­ative Cloud, a com­plete suite of tools for effec­tive sto­ry­telling, and Adobe Mar­ket­ing cloud, a solu­tion that deliv­ers the mes­sage. And for broad­cast­ers, cable net­works and dis­trib­u­tors who sell adver­tis­ing, we offer Adobe Prime­time, a mul­ti­screen TV solu­tion for cre­at­ing and mon­e­tiz­ing live, lin­ear and VOD pro­gram­ming in both over-the-top (OTT) and TV Every­where ser­vices. Our goal is to help cus­tomers lever­age these solu­tions to deliver bet­ter con­sumer expe­ri­ences and obvi­ate the con­sumer desire to install adblock­ers in the first place.

This post was orig­i­nally pub­lished on CMO.com, August 10, 2015.

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Data and Apps Fuel Innovation in the TV Industry

The TV indus­try is sail­ing into an uncharted ocean of inno­va­tion. Already, some of the most inno­v­a­tive TV ser­vices lever­age data and apps to deliver excit­ing new con­tent expe­ri­ences. The fol­low­ing trends could help inform how your orga­ni­za­tion pur­sues inno­va­tion, too.

1. TV com­pa­nies are invest­ing in data

Turner, ESPN, and Cable­vi­sion have some­thing new in com­mon. They’re all invest­ing in data man­age­ment plat­forms (DMPs). Here’s what execs from these com­pa­nies have to say about it:

  • Talk­ing about Turner Data Cloud, Stephen Kim, Chief Data Strate­gist at Turner said, “We want to build a cen­tral repos­i­tory of infor­ma­tion around con­sump­tion, tastes, geog­ra­phy, demo­graph­ics and pro­file infor­ma­tion for our view­ers, and use that to deliver bet­ter value.” (via AdEx­changer)
  • Regard­ing the pro­pri­etary ESPN DMP, Zachary Chap­man, VP of dig­i­tal and pub­lisher sales at ESPN said, “There’s no rea­son that we shouldn’t have a DMP in place that allows us to ana­lyze the data in a much more fluid way, and share with our agency part­ners.” (via Medi­a­Post)
  • Dis­cussing Cablevision’s Total Audi­ence Appli­ca­tion, or TAPP cen­sus-data plat­form, Ben Tatta, pres­i­dent of Cable­vi­sion Media Sales said, “This is a win­dow into what lies ahead.” (via AdAge)

Expect more invest­ment in data man­age­ment from TV com­pa­nies in the near future.

2. TV apps already pro­lif­er­ate in Apple’s App Store

This month, we esti­mated that roughly 60% of brands rep­re­sent­ing TV chan­nels have dis­tinct apps in the App Store. We counted over 150 TV brands with one or more chan­nels on a lead­ing cable net­work of which over 90 brands had an app in Apple’s App Store. This fits right into a pre­dic­tion made here last month by TDG Research’s Joel Espelien who pre­dicted that every mean­ing­ful TV brand will have its own app.

Already, hun­dreds of TV brands have the abil­ity to look at every sin­gle but­ton press and view hap­pen­ing within their apps. They can col­lect this data and use it to inform new inno­va­tions and make the viewer expe­ri­ence even bet­ter.

3. TV apps will soon pro­lif­er­ate on Google Play

We expect apps for Android TV on Google Play to grow by dou­ble this year or bet­ter. There are cur­rently 46 apps for Android TV. Sony, Philips, Razer and Nvidia have Android TV devices on the mar­ket and Sharp has devices com­ing soon. As con­sumers pur­chase these new devices, it will lure the devel­op­ers of exist­ing TV apps to port their apps over to Android TV. App ports alone could dou­ble the num­ber of apps on Android TV this year.

The Android TV user expe­ri­ence may delight con­sumers that strug­gle to find the right con­tent across var­i­ous siloed TV apps because it pro­vides rec­om­men­da­tions and voice search fea­tures that span all installed apps. Accord­ing to TV Con­nect, Thomas Riedl, Google’s Global Head of Android TV Part­ner­ships says, “When in the Android TV home screen, you’ll see a row of con­tent rec­om­mended for you. These rec­om­men­da­tions come from all the Android TV apps you have installed on that device and is based on which apps you’ve used on that device.”

It’s anybody’s guess where inno­va­tions around data and apps will ulti­mately lead. How­ever, we’re pretty cer­tain that DMPs and the pro­lif­er­a­tion of TV apps all have impor­tant roles to play in the future of TV.

TDG Research’s Joel Espelien on OTT and the Future of Media

This week we spoke with Joel Espelien, Senior Ana­lyst at TDG Research, a bou­tique mar­ket research and strat­egy con­sult­ing firm focused exclu­sively on the future of TV. Joel cov­ers cor­po­rate strat­egy and posi­tion­ing for com­pa­nies across the OTT land­scape. TDG Research is known for being ahead of the curve, so we used this talk with Joel to learn 7 insights that will help you be ahead of the curve, too.

Here are 7 insights directly from Joel:

1. OTT is evolv­ing to be a syn­onym for broad­band video. Some­times terms evolve and you can’t con­trol them. OTT is one of those terms. It’s evolv­ing to refer to video that is deliv­ered over the pub­lic inter­net, regard­less of screen or whether it’s authen­ti­cated.

2. Broad­cast­ers, MVPDs and pay-TV chan­nels must con­sider consumer’s chang­ing behav­iors around when con­sump­tion occurs. It may be hard to embrace the fact that con­sumer par­tic­i­pa­tion in appoint­ment view­ing is fad­ing. Younger gen­er­a­tions won’t have any ten­dency to gather in front of a screen with other peo­ple between 8 pm and 11 pm on a Thurs­day night. The whole idea of being in front of a screen on anyone’s timetable other than the viewer’s own timetable is becom­ing laugh­able.

Fur­ther­more, indus­try efforts to assign a time­frame to when view­ing counts will con­tinue to be arbi­trary. The indus­try has C3 rat­ings to mea­sure com­mer­cials viewed live and on DVR for three days beyond the air­date. C7 rat­ings extend the win­dow to seven days beyond the air­date. Some in the indus­try want even longer win­dows, like C14 or C21. Each def­i­n­i­tion will cap­ture part of a curve, but there’s always going to be a long tail that’s sim­ply not cap­tured by an arbi­trary win­dow. It’s silly to trans­act around the idea that all the views that mat­ter for a new show will hap­pen in the first 72 hours it’s avail­able. View­er­ship is far more scat­tered than many may care to admit, and will only become more scat­tered as OTT grows. As a result, things like C3 and C7 mea­sure­ment will carry less weight in the future.

3. More peo­ple are watch­ing TV alone. The TV indus­try is in the early phases of address­ing the need to pro­gram for an audi­ence of one. There’s a big cul­tural shift mov­ing peo­ple away from doing things as a fam­ily or as a group and toward doing things as indi­vid­u­als. With all the screens to watch from and all the choices about what to watch, it’s far less nec­es­sary for view­ers to com­pro­mise with oth­ers about what to watch than it’s ever been before.

Indi­vid­ual view­ing will become the new nor­mal. This is a big con­trast to the pic­ture of a fam­ily in the ‘50s all hud­dled around the TV watch­ing the same thing. And, it puts purely panel-based mea­sure­ment into ques­tion because in panel house­holds, there may be mul­ti­ple peo­ple in a room, but prob­a­bly only one per­son is really watch­ing the show on TV. Every­one else could be doing their own thing.

This solo view­ing trend sug­gests that con­tent and adver­tis­ing will become edgier, more par­tic­u­lar­ized and even more incom­pre­hen­si­ble to peo­ple out­side the group con­sum­ing it.

4. Legacy pay-TV providers need to know more about the view­ing behav­ior of those they serve. They need to have much more of a clue about what’s going on than they do today by study­ing engage­ment pat­terns across real peo­ple in real house­holds. The major­ity of what they know about lin­ear TV view­ers is lim­ited to what Nielsen pro­vides. If a cus­tomer decides one day to stop watch­ing lin­ear TV entirely, but keeps pay­ing his or her bill, the provider sim­ply wouldn’t know. And that’s not a very good place to be in terms of mak­ing the right deci­sions on behalf of cus­tomers.

Com­pare the lack of data of a legacy pay-TV provider to a TV app like Net­flix. Net­flix knows every­thing its view­ers watch down to the sec­ond, and they know which of their view­ers hasn’t watched any­thing lately. This kind of cus­tomer feed­back loop can be used to develop a re-engage­ment strat­egy, decide which pro­gram­ming to invest in, or to inform any num­ber of other deci­sions. It’s the kind of feed­back loop that legacy pay-TV providers should have.

5. The future of TV is an app. The gen­e­sis of this idea was inspired by the ven­ture capitalist’s view, as expressed by Mark Andreessen, that soft­ware is eat­ing the world. Soft­ware is eat­ing trans­porta­tion with Uber, and eat­ing bank­ing with mobile pay­ments, and eat­ing book sales with Ama­zon. But in TV, peo­ple were say­ing that peo­ple love it and that it’ll never change. And they’re wrong. Soft­ware eat­ing TV looks like an app, and as the soft­ware com­po­nent of TV, TV apps are going to grow sub­stan­tially. Imag­ine offer­ing 100 peo­ple a sim­ple choice between HBO on a lin­ear chan­nel on a set top box or HBO GO on an iPad, Apple TV, or com­puter. Every­one that chooses HBO GO is proof that soft­ware will eat TV, too. It turns out that con­tent is not king. Instead, the over­all expe­ri­ence is king and peo­ple want a soft­ware-medi­ated expe­ri­ence because it’s fun­da­men­tally bet­ter.

6. Every mean­ing­ful TV brand will have its own app. Expect to see a lot more of the sin­gle-ten­ant app model where each TV brand has its own TV app. Ask any TV brand with its own app today if they are con­tent or dis­con­tent with the model of hav­ing a ded­i­cated app. The over­whelm­ing answer would be, “I like my app just fine, thank you.”

One key ben­e­fit of the sin­gle-ten­ant app model is that the con­tent provider gets to really under­stand the view­ing behav­ior of the peo­ple it serves. It gets to look at every sin­gle but­ton press, every sin­gle view of every screen. It can really look at usage and make the viewer expe­ri­ence even bet­ter. This is a huge incen­tive for every brand to have an app ver­sus choos­ing to par­tic­i­pate in one generic app that car­ries every­thing.

7. Broad­cast­ers, pay-TV providers and pay-TV chan­nels need a whole gar­den of viewer screens and view­ers. There’s a healthy mix to be had across screens for broad­cast­ers, providers and chan­nels. It would be a big mis­take to pri­or­i­tize any one screen over all the oth­ers. Smart­phones and tablets may have been the Tro­jan horse that allowed TV as an app to get started in the legacy world in the first place. Now, those per­mis­sions have to extend out fur­ther to allow TV apps to run on other devices too, whether it’s Apple TV, Roku, a smart TV or a gam­ing plat­form. Peo­ple expect to see TV apps on every plat­form where apps can run and on every plat­form where Net­flix is. TV brands with suc­cess on just one screen have to won­der, “Hey, why are we not able to engage peo­ple any­where else in their lives?”

Where to find more from Joel

That’s a wrap on 7 insights that will help you get ahead of the curve. To explore these top­ics in more detail, check out Joel’s lat­est reports: “El Futuro de TV – OTT Video in Latin Amer­ica 2015–2025,” “TV Gets Per­sonal – Trends in Mobile Video View­ing 2015 – 2025,” and “Game On! The Future of Sports Video View­ing, 2015–2025. Joel is already work­ing on some intrigu­ing new top­ics includ­ing what the high-end of the pay-TV mar­ket is going to look like and the inter­play between vir­tual real­ity and video. Thanks Joel for shar­ing your insights with us!

Online Video Viewing and Browsing Trends — Q1 2015

The Q1 Adobe Dig­i­tal Index (ADI) report, which assesses OTT and TV Every­where view­ing behav­ior, shows that the stream­ing video space is still grow­ing fast — and Apple is among the biggest ben­e­fi­cia­ries. ADI’s analy­sis is pub­lished in the “Online Video View­ing and Brows­ing Trends — Q1 2015” report, which is the most com­pre­hen­sive report of its kind in the indus­try. This report can help broad­cast­ers, cable net­works, and dis­trib­u­tors plan how to respond to changes tak­ing place in how con­sumers watch TV.

High­lights from the report include:

  1. Android falls behind in pre­mium video view­ing
    • iOS grew its share from 43% to 47% year-over-year (YoY), fur­ther widen­ing its lead
    • Game con­soles and over-the-top (OTT) devices saw the biggest jump in share from 6% to 24% YoY – sur­pass­ing Android, which remained flat at 15%
    • Browser view­ing sank to a new low – now 14%

ADI - TVE Authentications by Device Type

  1. Apple TV sees strong gains
    • Con­nected devices like Apple TV and game con­soles now rep­re­sent 1 in 4 TV Every­where (TVE) authen­ti­ca­tions – a 300% YoY share increase
    • Apple TV dou­bled its share of pre­mium video view­ing in just one quar­ter from 5% in Q4 2014 to 10% in Q1 2015 – over­tak­ing Roku

ADI - Apple Share of Online Video Starts

  1. Con­sumers rede­fine prime­time TV view­ing
    • On-demand TVE view­ing grew almost 300% YoY, increas­ing the impor­tance of mul­ti­screen deliv­ery
    • The “Thurs­day night line-up” is shift­ing to Wednes­day, mak­ing it the most pop­u­lar night to watch TVE

See Adobe Dig­i­tal Index’s full post on CMO.com here, or get a copy of the report here.

Media Consumption Trends According to South Park

South Park’s sea­son 18 series finale, “#Hap­py­Holo­grams” paints a pic­ture of the media con­sump­tion trends among America’s youngest gen­er­a­tion, which we’ll call the post-mil­len­ni­als. In it, fourth-grader Kyle gets frus­trated by the way his 5-year old brother, Ike, con­sumes media. Instead of play­ing video games with the fourth-graders in the liv­ing room, Ike and his kinder­garten bud­dies prefer to watch videos on YouTube from the online video game com­men­ta­tor PewDiePie. Each kinder­gartener watches PewDiePie from their own desk­top, lap­top or tablet. Ike calls Kyle “grandpa” for being out of touch with the way he and his friends con­sume media.

South Park kids use many screens

This episode of South Park calls atten­tion to the fol­low­ing trends:

  1. Con­sump­tion is shift­ing away from the liv­ing room - Kids aren’t using big screens in their liv­ing rooms as much as past gen­er­a­tions, even to play video games.
  2. Kids’ pre­ferred pro­gram­ming isn’t avail­able on a TV chan­nel - Young kids want to watch stuff like other kids play­ing games more than they want to watch typ­i­cal pre­mium con­tent they’d find on a TV chan­nel.
  3. Every kid gets their own screen - There’s less screen shar­ing going on. Every kid wants to choose their own con­tent on their own screen.

Pos­si­ble impli­ca­tions of these trends

If accu­rate, these trends will have major impli­ca­tions on the media indus­try.

First, the shift in con­sump­tion away from the liv­ing room means that the big screen prob­a­bly won’t be on as often. View­ers may limit con­sump­tion to what’s avail­able on their pre­ferred device, and cross-screen TV deliv­ery will be essen­tial to keep­ing up time spent met­rics. Even still, time spent met­rics could drop if the con­tent on TV isn’t the con­tent view­ers want. This South Park episode points out that TV con­tent has to com­pete for view­ers with all other sources of stream­ing video enter­tain­ment, such as the PewDiePies of the world.

If kids want episodes of PewDiePie more than TV shows, TV chan­nels become less desir­able to them because it cre­ates a sit­u­a­tion where they can’t get what they want on any TV chan­nel. Young view­ers are good at con­tent dis­cov­ery and there­fore less reliant on TV pro­gram­mers to keep a con­stant stream of enter­tain­ment com­ing their way. Under­stand­ing this trend makes dis­cus­sions around a-la-carte chan­nels almost mute. The youngest gen­er­a­tion isn’t going to want to pre­dict and pay for the chan­nels they think they’ll watch. Instead, they’ll want on-demand access to every­thing. A lot of unbundling chal­lenges, such as dis­agree­ments between pro­gram­mers and MVPDs, could be avoided by rec­og­niz­ing that a-la-carte chan­nels are still a com­pro­mise for view­ers who actu­ally want on-demand access to every­thing.

Finally, the rise of the per­sonal screen could be good for TV providers that suc­ceed in the leap to cross-screen deliv­ery. Shared screens only allow ad tar­get­ing at the house­hold level. Per­sonal screens allow ad tar­get­ing at the indi­vid­ual level. The lat­ter makes it eas­ier for adver­tis­ers to match the mes­sage to the recip­i­ent and can thus com­mand a higher value. So, the rise of the per­sonal screen is the sil­ver lin­ing around some oth­er­wise chal­leng­ing trends.

Are the trends accord­ing to South Park accu­rate?

Media con­sump­tion data con­firms that young kids are spend­ing less time with tra­di­tional TV and more time watch­ing video on the Inter­net. Accord­ing to Nielsen, 2–11 year olds have increased monthly time spent with video on the Inter­net by 2 hours 42 min­utes and decreased monthly time spent with tra­di­tional TV by 4 hours 43 min­utes. How­ever, time spent in tra­di­tional TV still looms large over time spent watch­ing video on the Inter­net. Also accord­ing to Nielsen, kids 2–11 spent 106 hours and 27 min­utes per month watch­ing tra­di­tional TV in Q4 2014 ver­sus only 6 hours and 22 min­utes per month watch­ing video on Inter­net.

ADOBE-0009_Blog-Chart

An arti­cle by nScreen­Media about the Nielsen data says, “The astute reader will note that the increase in Inter­net Video view­ing does not come close to com­pen­sat­ing for the loss of TV view­ing time.” The arti­cle sug­gests that peo­ple are watch­ing on plat­forms and in ways which are just not cap­tured. This sug­ges­tion lends sup­port to the idea that South Park has an early insight into the media con­sump­tion behav­iors to expect from post-mil­len­ni­als.

It’s hard to guess how the post-mil­len­nial gen­er­a­tion will con­sume media when they get older. Per­haps they’ll decide to sit on couches, watch big screens and reclaim a spot in the liv­ing room. Or, per­haps they’ll con­tinue on with per­sonal media con­sump­tion on per­sonal devices through­out their lives. What do you think? Let us know in the com­ments.

Going Best-of-Breed with Adobe Primetime and thePlatform™ mpx

Large media com­pa­nies and pay-TV providers want to rely on best-of-breed inte­gra­tions instead of mono­lithic, end-to-end “solu­tions” with high poten­tial for ven­dor lock-in. For these com­pa­nies, the Adobe Prime­time and the­P­lat­form mpx VMS joint solu­tion has just the right approach. We’ve pre-inte­grated these solu­tions into a best-of-breed joint solu­tion for encod­ing, pro­tec­tion, enti­tle­ment check, license serv­ing and play­back of pre­mium video con­tent across IP-con­nected screens.

The cus­tomer ben­e­fits of work­ing together:

  • Fast time to mar­ket — The joint solu­tion gets dig­i­tal files quickly through pack­ag­ing and encryp­tion work­flows and in front of view­ers.
  • Bet­ter viewer expe­ri­ence — It pro­vides a con­sis­tent user expe­ri­ence across plat­forms, which includes a sin­gle enti­tle­ment sys­tem that lets view­ers switch screens in the mid­dle of a pro­gram and pick up right where they left off.
  • Reduced total cost of own­er­ship — It keeps costs down through pre-inte­gra­tion and the com­bined cost sav­ing ben­e­fits of mpx and Adobe Prime­time DRM.

How the joint solu­tion achieves these ben­e­fits:

  • Dur­ing encod­ing and pro­tec­tion, mpx takes unse­cure media files and puts Adobe’s encryp­tion around it. Mpx has worked with Adobe on DRM for many years. Now, fur­ther inte­gra­tion with Adobe Prime­time cloud DRM offers joint cus­tomers a quick-to-deploy, soft­ware as a ser­vice (SAAS) solu­tion with low work­flow over­head for pro­tect­ing con­tent for mul­ti­screen deliv­ery.
  • At enti­tle­ment check and license serv­ing, the joint solu­tion offers a sim­pler work­flow by lever­ag­ing Adobe Prime­time cloud DRM to add pol­icy def­i­n­i­tions at this stage instead of dur­ing encod­ing and pro­tec­tion. This means less tin­ker­ing, less to be con­cerned with under the hood, and more trans­parency in the work­flow.
  • For play­back, mpx can auto­mat­i­cally pub­lish video for play­back to the Prime­time TVSDK. Shared cus­tomers can cre­ate cus­tom video play­ers for PCs, tablets, smart­phones and OTT devices lever­ag­ing the inte­gra­tion of the Adobe Prime­time TVSDK within thePlatform’s Player Dev Kit. Because Adobe Prime­time has the largest reach across devices of any DRM solu­tion, cus­tomers of the joint solu­tion will be able to deliver and mon­e­tize TV con­tent on the most mobile devices, browsers and plat­forms with pro­tected con­tent.

Inte­grat­ing with Adobe is easy

A best-of-breed approach can really only work if inte­gra­tions are timely and suc­cess­ful. Adobe facil­i­tates this flaw­lessly. With the Adobe Prime­time cloud DRM inte­gra­tion, Adobe and the­P­lat­form deliv­ered a rapid and suc­cess­ful inte­gra­tion to shared cus­tomers. The cloud DRM inte­gra­tion took just six weeks from start to fin­ish. We had a great expe­ri­ence work­ing both at the pro­gram man­age­ment level and at the devel­oper level with Adobe. Adobe answered ques­tions quickly, got obsta­cles moved out of the way, and was very respon­sive.

Our part­ner­ship with Adobe is very impor­tant. We’re look­ing for­ward to work­ing together to serve more joint cus­tomers in the near future.

How Industry Consortiums CTAM and OATC are Working to Boost TV Everywhere Success

Attract­ing more pay-TV sub­scribers to TV Every­where (TVE) has always been an excit­ing chal­lenge, which involves con­tin­u­ally improv­ing the user expe­ri­ence and the way it is mar­keted. We’re big fans and con­trib­u­tors to the work of two indus­try con­sor­tiums, Cable & Telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions Asso­ci­a­tion for Mar­ket­ing (CTAM) and Open Authen­ti­ca­tion Tech­nol­ogy Com­mit­tee (OATC), that are bring­ing indus­try play­ers together to help increase TV Every­where usage.

TV Every­where suc­cess bench­marks

We believe that bench­marks for TVE’s suc­cess can be pushed higher. To under­stand cur­rent TVE adop­tion lev­els, a study con­ducted by Hub Enter­tain­ment Research in Octo­ber 2014 indi­cated that just 49% of cable sub­scribers have used TVE to view TV con­tent at least once over the past six months. To improve this bench­mark and oth­ers, we sup­port CTAM’s 2015 goals to:

  • Increase TVE usage among cable cus­tomers to 65%
  • Increase aided aware­ness of TVE among cable cus­tomers to 75%
  • Increase adop­tion of CTAM’s UX and mes­sag­ing rec­om­men­da­tions among mem­ber com­pa­nies offer­ing TVE to 80%
  • Achieve 85% mem­ber sup­port of CTAM’s sum­mer indus­try-wide tent-pole mar­ket­ing com­mu­ni­ca­tions ini­tia­tive

This info­graphic by CTAM sug­gests three things pay-TV providers can do to help:

Home-based authen­ti­ca­tion will cre­ate fric­tion­less TVE acces­si­bil­ity

OATC is also address­ing the user expe­ri­ence chal­lenges of TVE. The focus of an OATC meet­ing in early May was home-based authen­ti­ca­tion. It is the abil­ity to auto­mat­i­cally rec­og­nize pay-TV sub­scribers and grant them access to pro­gram­ming with­out sign in. Home-based authen­ti­ca­tion, which CTAM may posi­tion to con­sumers as Instant Access, would over­come a major hur­dle to TVE usage because many pay-TV sub­scribers feel that sign­ing in with a user­name and pass­word is an extra step that they don’t want to take. Sub­scribers are already used to view­ing cable or satel­lite TV with­out hav­ing to sign in, so they want this same fric­tion­less expe­ri­ence for TVE. In response to this con­sumer demand, OATC mem­bers are work­ing on the tech­ni­cal imple­men­ta­tion of home-based authen­ti­ca­tion and ensur­ing com­pat­i­bil­ity with fea­tures like parental con­trols.

We’ll be sure to point you to the new doc­u­ments from OATC on home-based authen­ti­ca­tion as they develop. In the mean­time, pay-TV providers can ben­e­fit from the OATC’s exist­ing work by access­ing their rec­om­mended best prac­tices and work­ing with their stan­dards.

Adobe Prime­time is proud to be a con­tribut­ing mem­ber to CTAM and OATC to ensure that view­ers get the best IPTV view­ing expe­ri­ence, no mat­ter what device they are view­ing from. You can fol­low the work of the two indus­try con­sor­tiums at ctamtve.com and oatc.us.

 

4 Trends Shaping the Future of Television

With this year’s NAB and INTX shows now behind us, we’re tak­ing a moment to con­sider a few areas within the pay-TV and broad­cast indus­try with con­sid­er­able momen­tum or chal­lenges to sur­mount. The aban­doned Com­cast and Time Warner Cable merger has been mak­ing head­li­nes and appears to be more about the Inter­net than TV. In fact, the impact of inter­net tech­nolo­gies like OTT and cloud-based deliv­ery on the indus­try is becom­ing more and more obvi­ous. It’s even height­en­ing con­sumer expec­ta­tions for per­son­al­ized pro­gram­ming streams, quick access to the­atri­cal releases and uni­fied dis­cov­ery across TV ser­vices. Here we’ve sum­ma­rized these trends that are shap­ing the future of tele­vi­sion.

  1. Broad­cast­ers are embrac­ing the cloud

When one of the big three tele­vi­sion net­works that has dom­i­nated U.S. tele­vi­sion since the 1950s pub­licly declares that it has moved to the cloud, it’s pretty safe to say that oth­ers will fol­low. At this year’s NAB Show, Broad­cast­ing & Cable reports that in a super­s­es­sion titled, “Television’s Tran­si­tion to an All-IP Future—Why It’s a Big Deal,” Dis­ney chief tech­nol­ogy offi­cer Vince Roberts “explained that they had already adopted cloud based tech­nolo­gies to han­dle the deliv­ery of con­tent to dig­i­tal plat­forms like the Watch ABC app. ‘The only ways to auto­mate those process and the only way to scale and be device agnos­tic was cloud-based,’ said Roberts.”

Char­ter Com­mu­ni­ca­tions is also bull­ish on the cloud and is invest­ing in a cloud-based inter­face for its World­Box. Accord­ing to DSLReports.com, Char­ter CEO Tom Rut­ledge said, “this makes every box in the Char­ter foot­print state-of-the-art. Smart net­works make dumb screens smart. We can take any kind of device and make it a sophis­ti­cated device.”

  1. Mil­len­ni­als are the future — and they love stream­ing

New sur­vey data shows that the youngest mil­len­ni­als prefer stream­ing video to lin­ear TV. Specif­i­cally, more mil­len­ni­als age 14–25 value stream­ing video sources over cable and satel­lite TV, accord­ing to the ninth edi­tion of the Deloitte “Dig­i­tal Democ­racy Sur­vey” released this April. By the per­cent­ages, 72% value stream­ing video sources while only 58% value cable and satel­lite TV. This is quite dif­fer­ent than the older cohort of mil­len­ni­als age 26–31, among whom 63% value stream­ing video sources and 75% value cable and satel­lite TV.

Net­NewsCheck reports on a “mil­len­nial prob­lem” for local TV whereby “most mil­len­ni­als just don’t give a damn about local TV.” The arti­cle sug­gests a num­ber of solu­tions includ­ing devel­op­ing con­tent that appeals to mil­len­ni­als and dis­trib­ut­ing it across plat­forms, includ­ing OTT.

  1. Will day-and-date come to TV Every­where?

The IP-deliv­ery of movies is influ­enc­ing the tra­di­tional movie release cycle. One exam­ple of this is day-and-date video on demand (VOD) whereby con­sumers pay to see a film at home while it’s still play­ing in the the­aters. Vari­ety reports the results of a sur­vey by RBC Cap­i­tal Mar­kets, which states that 7% of con­sumer respon­dents were will­ing to pay $11-$15 for day-and-date VOD access; 4% were will­ing to pay $16-$20; and 3% were will­ing to pay $21 or more.

In a recent white paper, Juniper Research describes the typ­i­cal movie release cycle as going from cin­ema dis­tri­b­u­tion to DVD/Blu-ray to pay-per-view to pay TV and finally to free-to-air dis­tri­b­u­tion. Fol­low­ing this model, day-and-date could skip VOD and go directly to pay TV as a form of exclu­sive con­tent. We know that movie con­tent has the fastest rate of unique vis­i­tor growth in TV Every­where at 216% YOY, accord­ing to Adobe Dig­i­tal Index. Day-and-date could be an inter­est­ing way to drive TV Every­where view­er­ship. Tech­Hive offers a recent and com­pre­hen­sive pro and con explo­ration of day-and-date releases.

  1. Inno­vat­ing the TV user inter­face

Inter­net tech­nolo­gies are mak­ing it eas­ier to exe­cute inno­va­tions around the TV user inter­face and the pace of inno­va­tion is rapid. Crackle is intro­duc­ing an “Always On” stream of tele­vi­sion pro­gram­ming cus­tomized to the viewer exclu­sively on Roku this month, with other plat­forms to fol­low. Net­flix is plan­ning a new user inter­face for its tele­vi­sion apps later this year that exec­u­tives say will “bring video play­back for­ward into the browse expe­ri­ence.” New research by Amdocs and IE Mar­ket Research sug­gests that the user inter­face is the key to mak­ing pay-tv work with OTT. LightRead­ing reports, “51% of North Amer­i­can con­sumers plan­ning to can­cel or reduce their pay-TV sub­scrip­tions would main­tain their monthly spend if ser­vice providers offered a uni­fied inter­face for search­ing, dis­cov­er­ing and watch­ing both pay-TV and OTT con­tent.”

These trends point to a bright future for con­sumers of tele­vi­sion con­tent. Things like cloud-based deliv­ery, per­son­al­ized pro­gram­ming streams, quick access to the­atri­cal releases and uni­fied dis­cov­ery across TV ser­vices are either already here or not far down the road. Do you agree? Let us know in the com­ments.

Ramp Up on Closed Captions Fast with “Introduction to Closed Captions”

Closed cap­tions should be easy. They’re just words on the screen. How­ever, they’re actu­ally quite com­plex. 13 major cap­tion for­mats have come about in response to reg­u­la­tory poli­cies and the dif­fer­ing tech­ni­cal land­scapes of analog, dig­i­tal, and online TV. Our tech­ni­cal paper pro­vides a primer on these dom­i­nant cap­tion for­mats and describes how Adobe Prime­time enhances closed cap­tion­ing work­flows.

Today, closed cap­tions are an inte­gral part of deliv­er­ing TV pro­gram­ming to U.S. con­sumers on any screen. Reg­u­la­tions in the U.S. require closed cap­tions for all tele­vi­sion pro­grams, even those redis­trib­uted to the Inter­net.

Our goal with Adobe Prime­time is to make it easy for TV providers to extend the reach of closed cap­tions to all plat­forms. Robust closed cap­tion­ing sup­port is a key com­po­nent of the Prime­time TVSDK, which uses the 608 over 708 and Web­VTT cap­tion for­mats to extend the reach of pre­mium con­tent to browsers (includ­ing Inter­net Explorer, Fire­fox, Chrome and Safari) and devices (includ­ing iOS, Android, Xbox One and Roku). Any­one using our TVSDK, includ­ing TV providers embrac­ing MPEG-DASH, will eas­ily get their cap­tions deliv­ered to all these devices and browsers.

To learn more, check out Adobe Primetime’s “Intro­duc­tion to Closed Cap­tions” tech­ni­cal paper.

New Technical Paper: “Optimizing ‘Start to Playback’ Performance”

In the Adobe Prime­time forums, we noticed that appli­ca­tion devel­op­ers wanted best prac­tices for mak­ing the ini­tial play­back and chan­nel switch­ing expe­ri­ence of their pro­tected streams as fast as pos­si­ble. It’s a wor­thy endeavor because fast video star­tup time is what view­ers expect when watch­ing pre­mium con­tent online.

In response, we have pub­lished a new tech­ni­cal paper, “Opti­miz­ing ‘Start to Play­back’ per­for­mance with Adobe Access con­tent,” which out­li­nes five best prac­tices for opti­miz­ing the time between when a viewer selects con­tent and when it begins to play. We invite Adobe Prime­time appli­ca­tion devel­op­ers to use these best prac­tices.

The paper addresses the basic chal­lenge that pro­tected con­tent takes more time to begin play­back then unpro­tected con­tent because it must be queued up in a cryp­to­graph­i­cally secure man­ner. The secure setup takes three steps with Adobe Prime­time, each of which has one or more pos­si­ble opti­miza­tions avail­able for devel­op­ers to improve video star­tup time. By imple­ment­ing one or more of these options, you can shave sec­onds off your video star­tup time.

To access all the meth­ods to opti­mize video star­tup time, down­load the tech­ni­cal paper from Adobe Devel­oper Connection’s “What’s new” sec­tion  or get the PDF directly here.

Be sure to con­tinue to provide your input in the forums. The Adobe Prime­time team par­tic­i­pates in the con­ver­sa­tions that are hap­pen­ing and aims to provide help­ful resources, like this tech­ni­cal paper, to help you deliver a seam­less view­ing expe­ri­ence.