|Issue:||Europe I 2008|
|Topic:||TV – it is a personal thing|
|Title:||Senior Vice President|
|Organisation:||Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson and head of the Multimedia Business Unit|
Jan Wäreby is the Senior Vice President of Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson and Head of the Multimedia Business Unit. Mr Wäreby served previously as the Corporate Executive Vice President and Head of Sales and Marketing for Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications and played an integral role in establishing the joint venture. Mr Wäreby has also held various managerial positions, mainly within Ericsson’s sales organisations in Sweden and the US, and headed the company’s mobile phone business. He joined Ericsson as a trainee in marketing management. Jan Wäreby graduated from Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, with a Master of Science Degree in Electrical Engineering.
We are all familiar with the broadcast, mass-TV experience, but the individual TV experience brought by mobile TV and IPTV is becoming more common each day. The individual, personalised TV experience offers viewers whatever content they seek, whenever and wherever they seek it. Early adopters, predominantly 18- to 35-year-olds, are accustomed to using PCs, IM, SMS – often simultaneously – and like the same sort of experience on their mobile phones. Ease of use is the key to attracting these subscribers.
The individual TV experience, such as mobile TV and Internet Protocol Television (IPTV), will drive business growth for operators for the next ten years. What, though, should the individual TV experience be and what is needed to win consumers’ interest in the new medium? Changing consumer behaviour is one of the main driving forces behind the evolution of TV. The new individual TV experience is evolving to be an anytime, anywhere, on any device experience. To satisfy future user demands, TV needs to be interactive and individual. This ‘individual’ TV instantly enables interactivity and personalisation – something that is especially appreciated by the YouTube generation. This generation of 18- to 35-year-olds expects to consume the content it wants, when it wants it, in a manner that makes it more individual and involved. This behaviour is very different from traditional viewing, where we have become used to leaning back and passively receiving the content we consume. Something that addresses a combination of these two types of behaviour will be required to satisfy future user demands. One thing is certain; to create the ultimate individual TV experience, the needs of the consumer have to be in focus. Interactivity and personalisation Interactivity through fixed and mobile two-way networks will make it possible for viewers to actively participate in TV programmes. There are several examples of interactive TV applications already in existence, such as those that enable viewers to take part in polls and surveys for reality TV shows such as American Idol, Survivor, and Big Brother, as well as interact directly with other viewers. TV is moving increasingly towards an individual experience and can bring services such as personalised advertisements and tailored offerings, as well as reminders for your favourite shows. It also allows you to share your experience. For example, while watching a TV programme, you will be able to see which of your friends are also watching it and chat with them or send them messages. The individual telecommunications experience became a reality with mobile broadband. Now we are enabling people to personalise the way they watch television. Today, TV can be watched anywhere, on any device and on all types and sizes of screen, and this means freedom, choice and control for the end user. Just imagine you are watching your favourite soccer team, the score is even and there are only five minutes left, but you are late for a train that you absolutely must catch. Now imagine that with just one click on the remote, you can move the game from your home TV to your mobile phone and keep watching while you are on the move. There is tremendous potential in that. IPTV This freedom, choice and control do not only apply to mobile TV but also to IPTV, TV over fixed networks. There is already an application for American football that allows fans to keep track of several games at the same time. While one game is on the left side of the screen, the latest scores of the other games are on the right. When something exciting happens in a particular game, the screen will flash red so the viewer knows to switch to it. IPTV will likely be the central point in the digital home of the future, and a large proportion of the growing traffic on the world’s mobile and fixed networks is expected to come from TV services. Mobile TV – a new experience Today, there are more than 170 commercially available mobile TV services worldwide. Forecasts suggest that mobile TV will reach about 200 million subscribers globally in less than five years. It not only means a new TV experience but a new sort of consumer behaviour. The mobile phone is the fourth screen behind film, PC and TV, which are all a much more familiar part of life. With mobile TV we have a great opportunity to make consumers feel that everything they have at home through their PCs and TVs is available away from home via the mobile. Despite being the fourth screen, mobile TV will be big, because consumers don’t want to miss anything; they always want to be able to watch their favourite programmes. So as the technological barriers are torn down, there is enormous potential for mobile services. We see this new user behaviour as one of the driving forces behind the demand for an individual TV experience. TV programmes will become just another application – something you can watch wherever you are on a variety of devices. Ease of use To succeed with multimedia services such as TV, we have to start with the consumer. Content providers need to have just as much knowledge about the operator’s customers as the operator itself. That is the only way to be able to offer a complete consumer experience. Consumer labs that analyse consumer behaviour have identified the main target group for future TV services. They call them ‘digital natives’, a young, energetic, global segment that has grown up with ubiquitous connectivity, an explosion of digital content and a strong desire to connect. To give this group the TV experience they want, personalisation and interactivity are not the only requirements. TV also needs to be easy to use, affordable and high quality. Vodafone Spain is an example of an operator that has made mobile TV easy to use. The operator was one of the first to offer a downloadable application that changes channels on handsets with a single click. More than 20 per cent of the company’s mobile TV clients use TV Zapping – an application with rapid channel switching and an electronic programme guide launched in March 2007. People using this application account for 65 per cent of all sessions – a dramatic indication of the positive impact of improved usability. Vodafone Spain has the country’s highest 3G take-up with more than four million devices, so it was particularly well placed to increase mobile TV penetration in Spain. Vodafone Spain’s TV Zapping service is a good example of how to easily improve mobile TV service. The client-software solution enables a more user-friendly and controllable experience and has proven to drive mobile TV service usage. Vodafone Spain applies a flat rate of €6 per month and attracts additional revenue from short advertising clips. Studies show consumers will typically pay a total of US$10 – US$15 per month for mobile TV. The cost of services is a key issue for users, but according to our studies, 50 per cent of users surveyed feel they are paying an acceptable price for their mobile TV consumption. The consumer wants to be entertained, but wants ease of use as well. Consumers are also absolutely unforgiving when it comes to picture quality, glitches in performance or service availability. You cannot afford to have frozen screens or interruptions or you will lose users. When the customer says they ‘always want to be entertained’, they mean always.