We are back from TV Connect 2016, and it’s time to reflect on the key insights we had at the show.

Trade shows and conferences like TV Connect are not only a great opportunity to see demos of innovative technologies, they also give pay-TV service and technology providers a chance to speak face to face and gain insight into the various directions that the industry is going based on viewer demands and other factors.

Here are four of the latest developments we’ve experienced and heard at TV Connect 2016:

  1. Content discovery is taking a front seat with TV viewers.

The television experience is about to get a whole lot more personal. Going beyond basic metadata, pay-TV service providers will soon begin offering content recommendations according to more granular data such as precise scenes with that content. For instance, you can expect to see operator customer management data and information mined from online sources like Wikipedia and IMDB and connected to relevant content in the operator catalog. Once content discovery reaches these new heights, don’t be surprised if the traditional programming guide experience becomes obsolete. Read more about how Comigo sees this trend in an interview in Digital TV Europe magazine, April/May 2016 edition, page 16.

  1. OTT TV is everywhere, and digital pay-TV is rising.

OTT services are no longer a revenue-boost for just online providers like Netflix. Even traditional cable and satellite providers are joining the mix. A recent report from Research and Markets found that the rise of OTT video services has reshaped consumer habits and the competitive landscape for the video industry. This theme was definitely present at TV Connect, as many of the service providers we met are looking to enhance their bouquet beyond cable and satellite offerings into OTT.

Another thing we learned at TV Connect is that digital TV is ubiquitous. Digital TV is expected to reach 98 percent of global television households in the next five years, a 185 percent leap since 2010 to 1.67 billion homes, according to the latest forecast report from Digital TV. By 2021, 98 countries will be completely digital, compared to only 24 at the end of 2015 and two at the end of 2010.

  1. Analytics are needed to fuel a data-driven TV experience.

At TV Connect there was a lot of buzz about analytics and data. That’s because pay-TV service providers are starting to realize the value and potential gain of using analytics based on the large amounts of data available to them. We heard discussion around the use of cutting-edge data science and big data technologies to analyze vast amounts of unstructured data, extract relevant information out of it, match the information to relevant content items, and provide deeper personalization to viewers. Ultimately, it all comes back to creating a television experience that is relevant and entertaining.

  1. It’s all about experience!

We’ve been talking about TV experience for a while, but it is becoming clear that operators are investing more and more in providing the ultimate viewer experience. The reasons are simple: they want to keep viewers glued to the TV screen, and they want to beat out the competition. With a service offering that is more dynamic, personal, and enriched, they can do that!

One way service providers can enhance the TV experience is by connecting various digital and online services to content and viewers in a contextual manner. E-commerce is a great example. At TV Connect, we discussed with operators the monetisation opportunities involved with identifying merchandise in real time and offering a commerce experience that is directly related to the television content being watched.

The future of pay-TV is exciting

Whether it’s through unique content discovery methods, OTT TV distribution, data analysis, or improving the TV experience via personalization and enriched content, pay-TV service providers are looking outside traditional boundaries to keep their customers from abandoning the main TV screen and increase revenue. It was exciting to see these trends upfront and in person at the TV Connect 2016 event.

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