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.

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