McMedia – new dogs learn old tricks
Read the Seenit Article here.
Richard Halton, CEO of connected TV platform YouView, offers his predictions for digital streaming in 2018 and some hints about what’s to come on his own service.
In the first episode of the BBC’s new high concept, globe-trotting Night Manager-esque Ruski-drama McMafia, Russian gangland boss Semiyon Kleiman asks James Norton’s character Alex which global franchise he studied at business school and why. ‘McDonalds’ Alex shoots back. When he hesitates describing their formula for success, Kleiman says briskly, ‘because everywhere Burger King built one outlet, McDonalds built two’.
I can’t comment on the veracity of this as a fast food strategy, or as Semiyon advocates, the model for a Chechen based mafia outfit, but it certainly seems as if Misha Glenny wasn’t just anticipating Netflix and Amazon’s production values when he wrote the book the glossy new drama is based on. He also neatly described the global race for dominance their respective business strategies would represent too.
Netflix, Amazon and now Facebook and Apple as well as the veterans at Google and YouTube are in the process of rolling out their services worldwide. This poses a new question for UK broadcasters – and the friendly platforms like ours, Sky, Virgin and Freeview which support them – is this is a war they can afford to fight. And assuming they can, on what terms will victory be declared?
On the face of it, it’s a race for the high ground – more and more money being ploughed into top end drama exploited on a global scale.
Good news for consumers, a field of battle well-trodden by the BBC and ITV Studios as well as the UK independent production sector and a major boost to the global creative economy. And to turn the idiom around, clearly a case of new dogs learning the old tricks.
As is becoming more and more apparent, this isn’t just a fight for attention, or TV subs, or viewing share which represent the old metrics of broadcast TV. It’s a campaign for the retail delivery relationship, the household data set, or as a Google Executive put it rather chillingly at a panel I was on last year, the ownership of the OS of the connected home.
Put in cold numbers, it’s a war worth $4,300bn, the value ascribed recently by Accenture to the value of the global IoT market in 2024, dwarfing the mere $85bn expected to be generated by the connected home market in 2020 which broadly compares to the scale of the entire UK Creative Economy today.
In that context, does Rupert Murdoch exiting his $80bn entertainment interests look like a prescient foretelling of doom for seemingly subscale UK operators like the BBC?
And even for other worthy owners of the UK connected home like BT – particularly when you compare the combined scale of BT with Amazon – add together the market capitalization at BT with Sky and you still struggle to get to a tenth of the extraordinary $550bn represented by Jeff Bezos’s Seattle operation.
In the week before CES, the global tech fest in Las Vegas, I would like to argue this is a battle that the incumbents can win, albeit on new terms. And in our way, one that YouView, as well as the other friendly platforms in the UK, can help all sides navigate as the world of media turns on its axis.
More importantly it is a war where the consumer will dictate the terms and ultimately reign supreme. To that end, here are my predictions for 2018, why I think they matter for UK media and what we at YouView expect to do to contribute:
Content everywhere. The seeds were sown for peace before Christmas. YouTube and Amazon brokered terms for access to each other’s devices; BT and Sky called an end to a nearly ten year stand off for pay TV channel distribution. YouView has new players to celebrate too in 2018. What next? Netflix on Sky and Amazon on Virgin Media are the ones to watch out for. There are challenges here too – the battle for prominence will continue to rage as UK PSBs seek to protect the advantages they have in the linear world in an IP environment – friendly platforms like YouView are vital to set the standard for the rest
Virtual partnerships. The days of the branded ecosystem are over. Apple plays Spotify through Sonos. Auntie talks to YouView through Amazon Alexa. The new partnerships are virtual as consumers rightly demand proper interoperability between devices. At YouView we’re looking at how our cloud services can enable content sharing across different devices – browsing PVR recording lists with a mobile app as we do today, or using PSB metadata to power contextual voice search, coming soon.
Data drives value. David Abraham powerfully described data as ‘the new oil’ of the TV industry, ironically the year before the launch of Tesla’s first electric car. While the electric car may not need oil, it sure generates data. Connected platforms are the next frontier for broadcasting – better information about consumer behaviour (did you know that 13% of the viewers to the first episode of GBBO on Channel 4 hadn’t seen the previous series on the BBC? YouView were able to tell Channel 4 that before the overnights were published), but also about how consumers find content. Challenges here too – the new GDPR regulation in May is good news for consumers and for the UK – there is plenty to do for the US platforms to match the new normal for privacy across the EU.
Re-invention of ad technology. Hat tip to Sky on this one, ad smart was with us in 2014, but we’re going to see ad insertion in the linear broadcast stream move into the mainstream in 2018 as commercial broadcasters seek to wrest back control of delivery of commercial impacts, with household level targeting backed by real time data. YouView will trial this end to end this year and the winds of changing are blowing already – BT announced this week that Channel 4 Media are replacing Google as providers of BT Sport’s online targeted ad delivery.
Personalisation grows up. In the era of fake news, chatbots and alternative facts, effective curation of content has taken a back seat. The idea that your TV knows that you might like Corrie if you watch EastEnders is a turn off (you either definitely don’t, or are watching it already…) but the next wave of machine learning algorithms, coupled with smart curation by broadcasters themselves will allow the reinvention of the serendipity of the broadcast schedule. We’re playing round with this already, more to follow.
So, where does this leave the consumer in 2018? I would argue, better served with content, better informed about choices and with ever better value for their hard earned disposable income.
And broadcasters, producers, on demand players and platform operators? More equipped to use the benefits of data and digital tools to improve not only the range of content available to the end consumer, but with a better chance of delivering programming that they actually want to watch.
The old dogs can learn new tricks too.
CES: the top trends and streaming
Read the DTVE Article here
Richard Halton, CEO of Connected TV platform YouView, offers his verdict on what tech trends unveiled at CES mean for digital streaming in 2018.
Technology is maturing and it seems harder than ever for big brands to ‘wow’ with their latest devices. The annual conference is well-known as a showcase for the extraordinary, with innovation occurring in real time through audience participation at the show. TV shone through as one of the main attractions at this year’s Expo, along with connected platforms and more evolved broadcasting formats such as HDR10+. Samsung and LG garnered the most impact in the opening days via launches of their latest cutting-edge TV systems including the impressive 12ft wide ‘The Wall’, a 5G network-based system poured Game of Thrones out in eye-watering 4K UHD resolution and the first ever consumer ready 8K offerings were also unveiled.
While tech firm Kino-mo showcased their latest hologram tech, which journalists are saying has ‘immense potential for advertising’, the big buzz came from the fierce competition between Amazon and Google to become our virtual butlers at home. Rumour has it that Google forked out up to $50million on display advertising in the bid to win the voice control war. With TV systems set to spread throughout our domestic settings and an everything-connected-everywhere approach through AI assistants, video and on-demand services are of course likely to see a massive boost in both engagement and audiences alike.
It was evident that the lag between unveiling and the practical use of voice control is now closing with these eye-catching new developments. Voice assistants and connected appliances are nothing new, but it is fascinating to see how they are evolving and could fit in with our lives.
With a new generation of smart display devices on the way from third party manufacturers the stage is set for personalised content truly everywhere. You might for instance wake up in the morning with last night’s Question Time available to play through a display in your bathroom before work, or be watching Jamie and Nigella’s latest inspirations in real time as you cook their creations on a smart device mounted above your cooking range. All of this and more has been promised at this year’s show.
As we look to the future, its all good news for consumers who stand to see better content than ever before through their connected devices, tailored to their taste through intelligent use of data. It’s clear that alongside the investments made in TV technology, this is matched by investment in content. Fresh new content is again good news for consumers, a creative field of battle well-trodden by the BBC and ITV Studios as well as the UK independent production sector.
This all contributes to a major boost to the global creative economy. But it is becoming more and more apparent that this isn’t simply a fight for attention, TV subs or even viewing share, the old metrics of broadcast TV – it is a campaign for the retail delivery relationship, the household data set. Put in cold numbers, it’s a war worth $4,300bn, the value ascribed recently by Accenture to the value of the global IoT market in 2024, dwarfing the mere $85bn expected to be generated by the connected home market in 2020 which broadly compares to the scale of the entire UK Creative Economy today.
I believe YouView, as well as the other friendly platforms in the UK, can help all sides navigate as the world of media turns on its axis in 2018.