The presentations and debates at the recent OTT TV World Summit in London revealed a marked shift away from the previous thinking that envisaged free-to-view, ad-supported consumption as the business model of choice for players in the Internet video space.
Players across the board appear in agreement about the need for simplified and unified user interfaces (UIs) that enable quick and easy access to content across the available range of sources.
A need for simplicity
A fundamental example of facilitating choice through hybrid distribution is the broadcasters’ agenda of providing a seamless mix of linear and on-demand content, a key objective of standards-based initiatives such as YouView and HbbTV. All this points towards the development of integrated offerings (with good navigation, search and discovery capabilities).
Hence some power is put back into the hands of those providing the primary TV service – which at least today are typically the traditional broadcasters and pay-TV operators who tend to have the stronger relationships with premium content owners.
While some used aggressive connected TV sales projections to highlight the large-screen opportunity, others focused on the drawbacks associated with CE vendors’ entry into online video distribution.
NDS, Virgin Media, and YouView all attested to the fragmentation of technology and content availability arising from multi-vendor deployments of connected TVs, while Dailymotion pointed out that engagement levels were two to three times lower on (truly open) connected TVs than on (more closed) IPTV platforms.
Of the growing multitude of available retail OTT devices, none offers a comprehensive or sufficiently compelling alternative to traditional linear broadcast or pay-TV, with most falling short on both quality of experience and content range.