Key trends from Nab Show 2016: Part Two

Paywizard visits NAB Show 2016  

A round up – part two

Nab2part2

 

The NAB Show in Las Vegas is one of the annual highlights on the Pay TV calendar, with five consecutive days of presentations, seminars and discussions, led by some of the most influential names and brands in the industry.

This year our team made the trip and they shared with us some of the biggest trends, themes and insights gathered each day. Part one (hyperlink) of our blog series this week took a closer look at six of the most significant topics they encountered, and in part two below we explore three more in further detail.

Trend 1 | Amazon’s Streaming Partners Programme could re-shape the OTT market

Day two’s keynote address was from Michael Paull, VP of Digital Video at Amazon, who talked extensively about the OTT landscape and the opportunity Amazon’s Streaming Partners Programme offers to traditional TV networks.

The programme, launched in December 2015, allows third party networks to use the Amazon platform to stream content. This is hugely significant as it enables channels to launch SVOD streaming services without facing the challenges of creating and launching their own independent offering.

While currently exclusive to the US market, there are already over 30 third party partners signed up and all customers need to do to access them is sign up for a basic Amazon Prime subscription. Once they are subscribed, they can then add on other bundles, such as HBO Showtime. It’s a simple intermediary between provider and consumer and a model which is likely to be expanded into other regions in the near future.

It could completely disrupt the SVOD OTT market as Amazon’s pick and choose bundle proposition for operators sets it apart from Netflix and it’s a service designed specifically to cater to the customer, something Paull said is a key consideration at Amazon.

Their goal is to provide the best customer service and experience as possible, and deliver as much value for users by allowing them greater control over the content they consume. The Amazon Prime Video service also gives its users access to a wide range of channels through one subscription and one app across multiple devices, which is likely to be a major draw for potential customers.

He also revealed that they now support a monthly subscription payment model, a decision based on feedback from customers. Amazon is drawing on its extensive resource to offer music and video on top of their Prime delivery bundles, whilst developing their own range of original content.

The Amazon model then, is one every provider should be watching, as it could be about to completely disrupt the OTT market.

Trend 2 | ‘Core streamers’ and the rise of OTT skinny bundles

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On day two, we attended a research presentation ‘The Value of Broadcast Content in Today’s Multi platform World’ from Howard Horowitz, the President of Horowitz Research.

Throughout the session, Horowitz presented the data from three surveys covering consumer interactions and attitudes to the new digital TV landscape. He described how people’s love for TV is continuing to grow and streaming is becoming increasingly popular with even more consumers using it to access content they love.

He emphasised the critical mass that streaming has reached, explaining that it’s now the new norm for millennials – with 89 per cent being OTT viewers. The presentation also explored how streaming has doubled its share of viewing in the past four years whereas linear has shown a decline. This streaming growth has created a new audience persona of ‘core streamers’ which Horowitz introduced us to and defined as those people who spend 20 per cent of their viewing time streaming.

The research also went deeper, asking people what channels and services are essential to them and would they be interested in an internet delivered linear skinny bundle of only essential channels, such as ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC in the US market?

The research found that in fact 75 per cent of core streamers would be interested in these ‘skinny bundles’ with only their essential channels to replace their current multichannel service – if at the right price.

Horowitz ended his presentation with his prediction that OTT skinny bundles will become more popular bringing together linear TV with library content as a major new play to attract subscription and advertising revenue.

Trend 3 | Gamification and sports fan nirvana

In one of the most interesting sessions from the week, an expert panel including Dirk Van Dall, VP of the Multimedia Technology Department at MLB Advanced Media, Jonathan Wilner, VP of Product and Corporate Strategy for Ooyala, Brian Selander, EVP at Whistle Sports Network and John Dollin, Senior Systems and Operations Manager for Arsenal Football Club tackled how online video is changing the sports fan’s experience.

Together, they highlighted how the delivery of content is revolutionising the sports experience and that the ‘gamification’ of sports continues to be a major trend.

Van Dall said there has been a major realisation by sports broadcasters that young fans play major sports first on video games than in real life. These fans are used to having additional numbers and information associated with sports, giving fans greater insight into games, while also driving engagement.

He commented that pop up statistics and information overlay on the screen is an extension of that, citing the Statcast system employed in Major League Baseball which measures the velocity, angle and projected distance of a player’s pitches. Alongside this play analysis, there are also now countless new forms of presentation in during sports coverage, such as 3D reconstruction and VR to immerse yourself in the game or event which broadcasters are developing and which will become more prevalent over time.

Ooyala’s Wilner added that clips and short consumption content is now hugely important, and it’s key for providers to understand that video needs to be packaged differently across platforms such as Facebook and Snapchat. He urged providers to go to the audience on these channels and use data to find out what works and to develop their strategy around events.

The young audience that is consuming this gamified content are smart and highly engaged, and they also think about ads differently. Selander argued that they give brands the chance to entertain or educate, and providers should consider different business models to open up new revenue streams. One obvious way can come from the many different brands and products that are approaching sports broadcasters, from film studios to sportswear to restaurant chains, as they all want to be part of the experience. These brands are innovative and want to try out new ways to engage this audience, which is good news for viewers and providers.

Wilner closed with the comment that we are now in a ‘golden age of sports’ as we now have a superior viewer experience including unprecedented backstage access, insights and statistics, something that the panel argued has created a nirvana for sports fans and a world of opportunity for providers.

And two more key sessions…

As well as attending a number of presentations and discussions throughout the week, the Paywizard team also took to the stage at NAB Show 2016.

Our Chairman Andrew Burke took part in a debate which asked whether content has lost its crown to customer service and Bhavesh Vagehla, our CMO, was on a panel tackling some of the key subscriber management, ad-tech and monetisation techniques for pay-TV providers.

We’ll be posting the videos from both sessions in the third and final part of our NAB Show blog, so watch our Twitter or LinkedIn for more information.