NAB Conference – Day 1 Highlights

Day 1 – Highlight sessions

This week we are in Las Vegas for the NAB show and we’ve seen lots of great presentations, so we’ll be sharing our latest updates here on the blog. We’ll be updating each day – so keep coming back for fresh news every day from NAB.


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10.30AM: YouTube’s Future – Mobile, VR and Putting Content in Context

The opening keynote on day one was Neal Moran, the Chief Product Officer of YouTube. He took everyone through YouTube’s ‘bigger, better and faster’ approach as he outlined YouTube’s goal to continue growth in all markets, reaching as many users as possible.

YouTube’s approach is to become ‘smarter, immersive and seamless’ for its users across the world. Mohan detailed how the platform will improve the user experience by making content discovery easier and more personal. He also shared their intention to continue with in-context ads which don’t interrupt users.

Mohan took the opportunity to announce the launch of 360 live streaming, as well as the release of their new spacial audio for “3D sound”. This is a very interesting development, with 360 video and VR being a hot topic this year.

11.20AM: “To Stream or Not Stream”: What Content Owners Should Consider When Going OTT

One of the most insightful sessions from day one was a panel discussion that tackled the OTT market, considering some of the most effective monetisation models, content strategies, distribution paths and subscriber acquisition methods.

Collectively, the panel observed how the OTT model doesn’t lend itself to a one­-size-­fits-all approach. Rather it involves creating a service that meets the needs of your consumer, showcases your content, and allows you to scale quickly to handle massive growth.

When expanding this to consider what makes an OTT service successful, Braxton Jarratt (General Manager of IBM Cloud Video Services Unit) suggested that it is still difficult to create an instant hit, and that new entrants to the market need to think global from the outset and consider their offering two to three years in advance, not just six months.

Andrew Ferrone, VP of Pay TV at Roku, added that while there is no clear model for success, there are three core elements that are essential: great content, a great service (or application) and creative marketing.

The panel also discussed the trend that has seen an increasing number of people moving back to TV from other devices. They highlighted that, despite the rise of mobile devices, 75 per cent of consumers still prefer to consume movies and shows on their TV. That needs to be a key consideration for OTT providers as both content and their infrastructure need to be able to cater to this.

12.00PM – Adoption, Churn, and the Risky Lives of OTT Video Services

Parks Associates’ Brett Sappington took us through the current state-of-play of the OTT market and the challenges OTT services are facing.

Opening with details of the dramatic increase in OTT services with a total of 101 services in the US as well as new services setting up in Europe and countries where Netflix is rolling out. This increase in demand for OTT services means that operators are competing for audiences in new ways.

Sappington explained the main reasons for subscriber churn are: people leaving due to experimenting with other services; wanting to save money; or to watch one thing somewhere else.

He went on to detail the shortcomings of industry newcomers who focused on the initial subscription fee rather than retaining subscribers. The result is that new service providers often find that they have a very different market to what they originally thought and then need to tailor their service.

The session closed with recommendations on how to maintain subscribers through content, engagement, community and novelty.

12.35PM – Reaching Millennials and Multicultural Audiences; panel discussion

The second panel of the day was to discuss how to crack the code of reaching and engaging with millennials. The panel was moderated by Jonathan Hurd of Altman Vilandrie and featured Blake Sabantinelli (Newsy), Mark Yackanich (Genesis Media), Maria Weaver (Interactive One) and Ralf Jacob (Verizon Digital Media Services).

The session explored how millennials were different to other audiences and the challenges pay-TV services are facing as a result.

The panel confirmed that content providers are having to work harder to attract and satisfy millennials. The segment has so much more choice than other audiences – they often don’t directly pay for services and they share logins with their friends. With unique methods of consumption and so much choice, providers are facing big challenges.

Mobile, speed and advertising were key themes that emerged from the panel. The panellists explored how advertising was a key method of attracting the audience in. They also talked about different approaches such as creating short bursts of content or cliff-hangers to engage and attract back. Tailoring the content to the device as well as social media platforms were vital in ensuring that as many eyeballs on the content as possible.

It was warned that this is a savvy audience that won’t be oversold and so providers must work hard to make the relationship deeper.

3:00PM – Panel: “Are you ready for the Mobile Video Revolution?”

In one of the day’s final sessions this panel discussed mobile video and the impact that it will have in different international markets, both now and in the future.

Stefan Lederer, CEO and Co-Founder of Bitmovin, kicked things off when he was asked if he thought mobile video was just a fad. He argued that it is here to stay, highlighting how Millennials aren’t consuming linear media, but instead spreading themselves across a number of devices, so responding to that is key for providers, while in. He also pointed to Asia and Africa, where mobile is the only channel which has truly reach the mass market.

The panel took into consideration the technological requirements that are required for a quality mobile video service, and while they acknowledged it is still highly expensive for providers to build a successful offering and profitable customer base, they were equally unanimous in their excitement for 360 video, with Lederer describing it as a “huge video revolution” and pointing to YouTube’s new 360 live streaming as a huge development.

For more information and to stay up to date with all of our updates from the NAB Show this week you can follow us on Twitter or LinkedIn.