|Issue:||Asia-Pacific II 2011|
|Topic:||Multi-screen video for subscriber loyalty|
|Title:||Senior Vice President & General Manager, Asia-Pacific|
Mike Ivanchenko is the Senior Vice President and General Manager, Asia-Pacific for Nagra-Kudelski; he is responsible for Nagra Sales and Services activities for the Asia Pacific region and the global management of the company’s offices in Australia, Singapore, Taiwan and Japan. Mr Ivanchenko has more than 14 years of experience in the CATV, satellite and broadcasting industries. He previously served as SVP Worldwide Sales for OpenTV and Managing Director of OpenTV’s Asia Pacific operations, responsible for the implementation of digital television networks and applications in China, Singapore, Japan, India, Thailand, Taiwan, New Zealand and the United States. Prior to OpenTV, Mr Ivanchenko was Managing Director of Vulcan Software in Sydney, Australia.
The service provider’s fight to gain and keep subscribers, once mostly a question of content, is now focussed on providing more features, more facilities and a better user experience. Consumers increasingly seek to view their television programmes and movies not only on TVs, but also on their PCs, mobile, tablets and other devices. To take keep their customers’ loyalty and guarantee a good return on their investment, service providers must be able to offer highly personalized user experiences to consumers.
Today, the number of consumers who want to view their favourite movies and television programmes not just on their TV screens, but also on their computers, mobile phones, tablets, and other devices, is rapidly increasing. This trend is part of a new digital lifestyle which is emerging not only in the Asia-Pacific region, abut throughout the world. Service providers are expanding their existing network infrastructure and capacity to deliver triple-play voice, broadband and TV to consumers to improve subscriber loyalty and generate more revenue. Still, infrastructure investment alone is not enough to guarantee a significant jump in ARPU (average revenue per user). Service providers must also create business models that go beyond simple bundled triple-play offerings to create highly personalized user experiences (UEX), giving easy access to the content they want to watch, when and where they want to watch it. To achieve this, service providers must deliver content across multiple platforms while maintaining security and control over the services offered. Content ubiquity in a multiplatform world Content is all around us and, as consumers and viewers, we want to access and watch it without being limited by the device. Research shows that consumers across the globe, regardless of age or demographic group, enjoy watching TV on multiple devices – a trend that service providers have already begun to grasp. One recent study noted that 43 per cent of adult broadband users were interested in a TV-to-PC video service. Another study found, in a survey of service providers around the world, 76 per cent of respondents agreed that multiplatform video would be an important requirement within the next five years. Connecting consumers with content, regardless of the viewing device, requires cooperation between broadcasters, content providers and the service providers who deliver the video to consumers. The union of networks, services and applications using multiple delivery networks (cable, mobile, satellite, terrestrial and telco), is the first, crucial step to offering a multi-screen viewing experience to consumers. Key success factors that support this include the ability to protect high-value content and deliver it seamlessly to multiple devices while offering a branded and consistent user experience across all these devices. All too often, however, the reality of the multi-screen experience tends to be somewhat frustrating for many consumers, who inevitably end up choosing between either a vertical content-device ecosystem or a never-ending struggle with incompatible standards, devices and content-protection schemes. The good news is that this issue translates into a real market demand for true integrated multi-screen solutions. Even better news is that there are pragmatic solutions available for service providers, which conveniently address end-to-end delivery to multiple devices with open standards. Protecting high-value content Once a service provider is ready to rollout multi-screen video services and the various players in the content-delivery chain agree to collaborate, the next and most important step, from a revenue-generating perspective, is to offer premium content. This could be anything from premium movies and channels, access to exclusive celebrity interviews, social networks and enhanced applications. From a technological standpoint, delivering this content requires a service head-end architecture that allows the operator to effectively deliver content from different content sources via a variety of networks. The solution should include a pre-integrated services delivery platform and a digital asset management system, that lets operators manage and deliver content conveniently and seamlessly to all consumer media devices. It should also incorporate an efficient means of delivering advertising and advanced applications. The content must be protected against theft and piracy, but legitimate subscribers should be able to move that content from one room, or one device, to another. Solutions exist today that offer studio-grade content protection while still allowing consumers to enjoy the content they want to watch, when and where they want it, without sensing the boundaries set by the underlying digital rights management technology. Additionally, as service providers create tiered levels of programming or offer pay-per-view programming, it’s important that only those subscribers authorized to receive the content have access to it. Multi-screen video and the user experience One cannot talk about content without mentioning the user experience (UEX), because they go hand in hand. A service that allows viewers to access their content through a compelling and intuitive UEX will establish long term customer relationships. Finding the right content needs to be easy and intuitive – not only on a television, but using any other suitable device. The UEX needs to transition seamlessly between devices, as more and more viewers seek to switch their viewing easily between TVs, PCs, phones, tablets, netbooks, and other devices. The churn-provoking and avoidance effect of the UEX is dramatic in the mobile phone market, where it has truly transformed the very appearance of the devices and the services with which they are associated. In general, one should expect the impact of UEX would be very similar with any type of digital media. The importance of UEX will only grow as the content line-up and the exclusivity of digital media offerings become less significant given the growing similarity of competitive offerings. Just like the mobile device market, there is more to this than just the UEX’s simplicity, ease-of-use or convenience. What is significant is the digital media business model itself. From a modular, component-oriented, UEX, it is only a small step to a fully personalised UEX for the consumer. This opens a whole new opportunity for micro-applications and UEX components, commonly referred to as widgets or TV apps, to become revenue-generating components of the digital media offer. A modular UEX is also the most efficient way to blend Web 2.0 and OTT (over-the-top – access to content via the Internet) components into mainstream DTV (digital TV) offers without having to create new interfaces to offer Web-oriented services via a TV set. A horizontal platform provides consistent services across different networks and devices – something that cannot be done with a group of siloed services. To achieve this, service providers must build new business models on top of their existing infrastructures. By creating a wide range of interactive applications service providers can help retain customers and increase ARPU. This is not a single-step transformation; service providers must seamlessly evolve network and services architectures to adapt to these changes. What’s more, multi-screen video generates new revenue opportunities for service providers through addressable and interactive advertising that enhances the viewing experience by making advertisements more relevant and appealing to consumers. In this increasingly complex environment, service providers who offer a managed and consistent user experience across all of the consumer access points – the set-top boxes, PCs, tablets, and smart phones – can gain greater loyalty from their subscribers. The more easily a consumer can learn to navigate and find content, the more likely he or she is to stay a loyal customer to that service provider, and the more likely that consumer is to recommend the service provider to a friend. Looking to the future The delivery of multi-screen video to consumers is more than just an opportunity, it is a necessity for service providers wishing to expand their offering and increase and retain valuable subscribers. The continued rollout of fast broadband to the vast majority of homes in developed markets is inevitable. Fast broadband access direct to the viewer’s TV will mean opportunities for both new entrants and existing content players, bringing ever more options to the consumer and ever more competitors to the established TV service providers. As FOXTEL, an Australian pay television company with cable, direct broadcast satellite television and IPTV says, consumers “view what they want to watch, when they want to watch, where they want to watch”. Users are taking access to content for granted and will look for the service that offers the latest features in multi-screen television and provides the convenience they seek. For example, it is no longer just about time-shifted viewing or catch-up TV – increasingly it is about place shifting, or switching the viewing of the program from one device to another, in the middle of the program, but with these new habits come new security paradigms. To ensure success, service providers will have to implement new content security and propagation features that will allow them to protect their revenues. New ways of consuming video that were the science fiction of yesterday are the technical realities of today. As this new and exciting digital lifestyle continues to evolve, service providers need the technologies to make the delivery of multi-screen video a reality, increase ARPU and enrich the viewing experience for their subscribers.