Six of the best: Key trends from Nab Show 2016

Nab show 2016 _panel


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.

Our team made the trip this year and you as you may have seen in our first blog last week, they shared with us some of the biggest trends, themes and insights gathered each day.

In total there were over 100,000 attendees and more than 1,700 exhibitors, but throughout the event it became clear that there were a number of key themes at the forefront of discussion. We’ve rounded them up and counted nine in total, which we’ll explore over the course of our blog series this week. Part one, and the first six insights are below:

Trend 1 | Customer data needs to be used to enhance personalisation

A key theme from NAB Show was the importance of using data to personalise customer experience and offer tailored recommendations.

In his keynote on day one, Neal Mohan, Chief Product Officer at YouTube stated that the video sharing giant is focused on offering users access to better organised catalogues, with more accurate suggestions for content that they may like.

YouTube has developed smarter UI, utilising new algorithms to signpost content, and it appears to be working as Mohan told the audience that recommended videos and features now generate the highest volume of views on the platform. He added that the site has also recently launched a specific YouTube Kids app packed with age-specific content and relabelled music videos so they are now easier to find, which has proven highly successful.

While it’s a simple premise, ensuring users can access the content they like, as easily as possible is a critical part of the customer experience, especially in a highly competitive market.

Trend 2 | Customers want bigger, better, faster experiences

Often we look to the big platforms to highlight where the growing trends are and indeed, Neal Mohan from YouTube again provided lots of indication in his presentation, based on YouTube’s own innovation.

Mohan introduced the ‘bigger, better, faster’ mantra which YouTube adopts, encouraging others to do so too. The idea is to reach as many customers, as fast as possible with the best service delivery and to do so, YouTube is focusing on the following areas;

  • Smarter – as touched upon above in trend one, YouTube is using data to get to know customers and to offer them personalised recommendations.
  • Immersive – YouTube is working towards a more immersive experience for all users, globally. Mohan announced the launch of spacial audio for “3D sound” as well as developments to 360 degree video and live streaming. He went on to explain how YouTube is working with partners to develop camera quality and better headsets, as well as having artists and musicals experiment with the technology, bringing YouTube closer than ever to virtual reality.
  • Seamless – viewers don’t like to be interrupted – so skippable ads, ads in context and native ads continue to be better received. Ad formats was also something that was discussed throughout NAB with a panel on day two exploring how mobile is disrupting monetisation and challenging providers to deliver ads that don’t disrupt audiences.

Trend 3 | Virtual reality and 360 video is experiencing significant growth

Virtual reality and 360 video was an almost constant feature at NAB Show, with many speakers citing it as the technological development they were most excited in.

As was briefly mentioned above, YouTube’s Mohan was just one. As he announced the site’s new 360 live streaming and 3D audio offering, he highlighted the potential in the technology, adding that VR content on YouTube has grown 400-500 per cent in the last year alone.

His comments were echoed throughout the event, as in a later discussion on the mobile video revolution every member of the five strong panel, which included Stefan Lederer, CEO of Bitmovin and Matt Smith, Chief Evangelist at Anvato, unanimously answered that VR and 360 video had huge potential and was the most exciting new technology on the market.

The buzz around virtual reality and 360 video was clear and the exhibition space was filled with exhibitors showcasing the latest VR technology and applications, while a micro ‘Virtual Reality Summit’ on the Wednesday tackled everything from content creation and best practice to market value and monetization.

The emphasis now however is to not make the same mistakes as 3D, which faltered owing to the price of the technology. But while it’s something that the sector still needs to overcome, it already looks like VR and 360 video is here to stay.

Trend 4 | Mobile is key but comes with challenges

On day one, the ‘Reaching Millennials and Multicultural Audiences’ panel found that mobile was key for reaching and engaging with millennials. It was discussed that millennials are a savvy audience, with far more content choice than anyone else and no direct financial increments. It’s therefore much harder to gain their attention, and keep it.

Providers are facing a challenge, working harder than ever to attract and satisfy the audience segment. Content providers need to offer quick bursts of continuous content as well smart and authentic ads to initially interest the audience.

With millennials being ‘mobile-first’, there are clear challenges for content providers but also advertisers. During day two of the show, the ‘Mobile Video’s Explosion: Personalized TV Has Arrived’ panel explored that the explosion of mobile video provides advertisers with ‘raising the bar’ challenges as well as larger production costs.

Mobile first means a higher expectation from consumers and for a true storytelling sequence that fits into the context of mobile, advertisers need to look at look at producing mobile video ads and how these can be monetised – a theme we’ll explore later in this post.

Trend 5 | The OTT market is increasingly difficult for newcomers to break into

Many of the sessions at NAB Show offered tips for newcomers and smaller providers in the OTT market, with the majority speakers in agreement that it is an increasingly challenging segment to break into.

Braxton Jarratt, General Manager of IBM Cloud Video commented that it is still very difficult for new entrants and OTT offerings as there are so many different devices to cater to and you’re up against huge rivals such as Netflix. He urged providers considering OTT to adopt a global approach right away and develop their plan for 2-3 years, rather than building a short-term strategy.

Building on this, Andrew Ferrone, VP of Pay TV at Roku added that newcomers need great content, a great user application and creative marketing, which ultimately is a difficult package to achieve, but essential to avoid user ‘churn’.

Many commentators also pointed to OTT’s rapid growth in the last five years, as in the US in 2011, there were 47 services, compared to 101 today. In Europe meanwhile, there has been an equally significant spike, which has driven both providers and audiences towards OTT, and created a far more competitive space.

Trend 6 | Monetisation

On day two, one of the final sessions was a panel to discuss the explosion of mobile video and what challenges this presents for Pay-TV providers, especially when working with advertisers.

The panel, consisting of senior professionals from IBB Consulting Group, Facebook, Beachfront Media, DashBid and The Weather Company – emphasised the pressure they’re all feeling to transition into a mobile company, fast.

They then went onto dive into the finer challenges that they face in terms of monetisation when working on the mobile video platform explaining that many users are accessing via web pages rather than apps. The panel advised that providers need to come up with a strategy that allows them to sell lucrative advertising opportunities – providing advertisers with the data to help them to understand what their target audience are interested in.

The group specifically looked at the higher expectations mobile video consumers have and a big hurdle is creating tailored content for different audience segments and the production costs this entails. Traditionally, advertisers want to pay less for shorted ads however shorted ads are often the ones with more value in this new medium.

The future trends of mobile video ads were also explored with the panel looking towards live streaming and 360 videos as well as true sequence storytelling and experimenting with overlay.

And one more highlight…

Alongside the key trends, there was also one other highlight for the Paywizard team at NAB Show, as our Agile Platform was awarded Best of Show by TV Technology.

It was presented in recognition of our new marketing and consumer engagement tools, which have been developed to enable enhanced customer acquisition, retention and churn reduction strategies. You might have noticed on our social media channels, that it took pride of place on our exhibition stand!


Best of Show - Paywizard team