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OTT: The Way Ahead

OTT: The Way Ahead

Over-the-top content (OTT) service providers like Hulu, Netflix, and Amazon are showing massive uptake by consumers who want to view content as per their choice of time and platform. According to Juniper Research titled Mobile & Online TV & Video: OTT, IPTV & Connected Markets 2015-2019[1], OTT subscription is forecasted to generate $31.6 billion in revenue by 2019.

As traditional broadcasters face increased competition from OTT service providers, let us take a look at the future of OTT.

New providers in the market

While countries like the United States have already adopted OTT and are on the verge of saturation, developing countries with high mobile penetration and adoption rates of pay-TV and broadband are witnessing increasing popularity of OTT services. A  Digital TV Europe Research[2] estimates that developing countries like Eastern Europe, Middle East & Africa will see greater growth in revenues and that of Latin America will nearly triple from 2015.

Driven by rising mobile data usage, mobile is becoming an important medium to deliver OTT service in East European countries, Middle East & Africa. Pay-TV providers, mobile operators, broadcasters and media companies are expanding their OTT services in these regions either by launching their OTT services or partnering with regional OTT players. For example, UAE-based mobile operator Etlisat has introduced eLife ON, Saudi Arabian Mobily has mView, Times Media Group has an OTT service called VIDI in South Africa, and Pay-TV operator OSN has launched GO across MENA.

SVOD is catching up

Viewers are increasingly opting for OTT services like Hulu, Netflix, and Amazon Video, which gives them the freedom to choose the content they want to consume across different platforms. Millennials are adopting subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) services faster than their older counterparts. A report from BI Intelligence highlights younger viewers watch four times as much video content online than aged viewers. The popularity of SVOD services like YouTube, Sling TV, and PlayStation Vue further underlines this fact.

For SVOD services, usability is the key. Companies need to innovate to leverage OTT and SVOD services to reach out to more viewers. For example, YouTube has launched offline viewing for consumers to download videos and watch it at their convenience – even when there is no mobile connectivity.

With the first screen of the millennials being the mobile screen, digitization provides a huge opportunity for SVOD providers to grow their business. Content creators and marketers can reap the benefits from SVOD adoption. Content creators can profit from the surge in the short-form video, while marketers can capitalize on advanced product placements.

More connected TVs

Thanks to connected TVs, which include streaming devices like Apple TV, gaming consoles, Web-enabled TV sets, and TVs connected to the Internet by laptops in the group, monetization is also growing. According to FreeWheel, an ad-serving company whose clients include major video providers such as AOL, Crackle, Fox, NBCUniversal, Viacom, and Vevo, more than one-third of monetization was led by OTT devices. An eMarketer report[3] estimates that by 2018, 191.4 million or 58.2 percent of the U.S. population will use a connected TV device to access the Internet.

Changing fundamentals of content creation

OTT has unlocked transformational changes in how the content is created and consumed. The availability of unlimited content space has given more freedom to experiment and has provided audiences for all kinds of content. Although most are amateurs, some are earning millions of dollars, while contributing to the depth and breadth of content available to consumers.

Further, the increase of mobile and streaming access has enhanced consumers’ ability to choose what they watch and where and when they watch it. With the rise in mobile use, the demand for short-form, high-quality content, also called ‘snackable content’ has also witnessed a massive growth. Consumers are turning to live, user-generated video and “citizen journalists” for news related to developing events or stories. For example, The Young Turks, which offers short-form news videos on relevant topics around the world every day has become a key news destination for millennials.

The launch of Facebook Live in April 2016, which makes it easier “to create, share, and discover live videos” further highlights the changing fundamentals of content creation. Content creators are also focusing on introducing contextual parameters for content discovery. Factors like mood and current affairs are being taken into account apart from their viewing preference while making a content recommendation to the viewers.

To ensure successful adoption of OTT, service providers must address three critical challenges – aggregation, subscription churn, and transparency. As consumers look to fulfill the 3Ws – watch what they want, when they want to, and where they want – OTT providers not only need to manage content but also create new content and recreate legacy content to retain subscribers. Proper archiving, digitization and tagging of content will help in aggregation while generating content across various formats will provide shared experience across devices and help in customer retention.

[1] https://www.juniperresearch.com/press/press-releases/ott-tv-market-to-increase-fourfold-reaching-32bn

[2] https://www.digitaltvresearch.com/ugc/Global%20OTT%202016%20TOC_toc_149.pdf

[3] http://digiday.com/platforms/ott-video-going-5-charts/

Top 6 Threats for Television Broadcasters

Top 6 Threats for Television Broadcasters

Streaming services have been threatening to take a bite out of linear TV broadcast viewership for quite some time. However, it is only recently that television broadcasters have begun to feel the threat. According to a study conducted by Michael Nathanson of MoffettNathanson, Netflix’s US subscribers were up to six percent in 2015 from 4.4 percent in 2014.

As the future of television broadcast is threatened, we list six top challenges faced by broadcasters due to the rise of digital and streaming media.

1. The Rise of Alternative Media Channels

With the digital revolution gaining momentum, viewers now want to cherry pick their favorite channels, which is why streaming services over the internet are on an all-time rise. There has been a shift in the viewing habits, posing a threat to the decade-old model built around satellite and cable TV offering ‘bundled’ channels to consumers at a fixed price that offered little choice to viewers.

Now, viewers can access video channels like Amazon video, Netflix, Hulu; choose a subscription of individual channels like Showtime or HBO, or watch programs streamed on YouTube and other free online channels.

With the rise of alternative media channels, television broadcasters are facing a major threat in the form of what is popularly known as ‘cord cutting.’ According to a 2016 research by Leichtman Research Group , the cord-cutting trend began in 2013 when cable providers lost 100,000 subscribers. The figures went up to 150,000 in 2014 and 385,000 in 2015, thanks to on-demand platforms like Netflix that charge a fraction of what television broadcasters charge to stream programs.

2. Content and Network Security

Missed your favorite prime-time show? Login online to watch it anytime you want. Viewers now have the option to enjoy their favorite programs on any smart devices anytime they want. With the emergence of TV Everywhere, pay-tv operators are now offering TV Everywhere to provide value add and retain their subscribers.

However, TV Everywhere has its risks for broadcasters. As broadcasters use new media platforms to reach their millennial viewers, they are prone to security threats like hacking, malware, and cyber-attacks. Often, viewers also compromise their security by sharing devices, accounts and personal information to access the content, thereby giving easy access to hackers. Moreover, with the easy availability of network infrastructures, programs are being redistributed in real-time over the Internet illegally, resulting in loss of estimated billions of euros across the TV industry worldwide.

To address this challenge, broadcasters need proper infrastructure, security policies, and firewall protection to ensure hackers do not have access to the content. Moreover, old content needs to be digitized, archived and stored with proper tagging to ensure long term usage.

3. Changing Viewer Behavior and Preferences

As new digital platforms evolve, there is a distinct shift in consumer behavior and preferences. Users no longer consume what is being offered to them, but choose from a host of options available to them anywhere, anytime across multiple channels.

Traditional content providers are fighting hard to ride the digital wave and secure their place in the value chain by understanding customers’ interests and upselling the right products to cater to their preferences. TV broadcasters are facing a significant threat due to changing preference of the viewers and need to create and recycle content to cater to the changing behavior.

4. Content Protection and Piracy

In a world where news and videos go viral in minutes, content can travel across geographies fast. Thanks to the Internet, viewers now have the power to generate the content they like, share it with the world and gain instant popularity.

However, reliability and accuracy of such content remain a concern. Broadcasters might get into legal hassles like copyright issues or defamation if the authenticity of user-generated content is not verified. Similarly, illegal commercial distribution of content originally owned and produced by broadcasters may lead to revenue loss.

5. Mismanaged Content

Mismanaged content is a major challenge that broadcasters face today. While there is a lot of new content generated both by the user and broadcasters every minute, it might not be organized for future usage. Much of the content is not tagged correctly and do not have metadata, which makes it impossible for broadcasters to compartmentalize for reuse, often leading to content duplication.

With a huge amount of content already being created alongside legacy content, broadcast organizations need to organize and tag content to ensure easy search, access and distribution of existing content.

6. Lack of Quality Content

With modern technology and changing of viewers’ preference, there is a huge demand for content. However, to meet the growing need, quality of the content often takes a backseat.

To ensure quality, broadcasters need to utilize the content that is already in use. Recycling legacy content and going regional to cater to different geographies are some of the measures that content creators need to take apart from creating new content.

The television industry is gearing up to meet the digitization challenge. As viewers are spoiled for choice, the television ecology is becoming more democratic. Broadcasters are propagating online programs to catch the viewers’ attention and become accessible to new audience.

6 Key Broadcast Industry Trends to Watch Out for in 2017

6 Key Broadcast Industry Trends to Watch Out for in 2017

With seemingly disparate events like mobile operators providing seamless unlimited data access to its consumers, entertainment shifting from television to video on demand, and web series gaining popularity over traditional content – 2016 witnessed some major shifts in the broadcast and media industry.

A sudden increase in the popularity of streaming services like Amazon Prime and Netflix and the younger generation’s was observed, leading to movement of TV audience to digital platform.

Let’s take a look at the key trends to watch out for in 2017 that would aid this lateral shift.

  1. Big Data Analytics for Viewer Insights

Big data analytics will help broadcasters analyze viewer preference and develop content accordingly. By accessing the large amount of data sets already in store, organizations can perform behavioral analytics of the views to understand the nature of content consumption and deliver accordingly.

Organizations will increasingly use big data analytics to build 360-degree audience profiles based on geographic, demographic, economic and psychographic attributes to understand various touch points and have better insights, thereby improving the entertainment experience for the end user.

Big data analytics will not only help broadcasters develop appropriate content, it will also change the advertising principles in the industry. By measuring ‘binge watching content’ more accurately using data analytics, companies can help advertisers package the right kind of experience to cater to different types of binge viewers.

  1. Virtual Reality Gets Mainstream

The recent announcement of Netflix to bring its programming to the VR realm, the popularity of Waze and PokemonGo are just the start. A report from Manatt Digital Media[1] projects that revenue from augmented reality and virtual reality will reach $150 billion by 2020. Going by the trend, in 2017, virtual or augmented reality will continue to reshape the face of the broadcast industry. By fostering shared moments and creating a shared space where people can share experience, virtual reality will gain momentum.

With programs like Proto-nominee Convrge that allow people to gather and watch YouTube videos together already in place, the broadcast industry will push this idea further to include streaming sites. While some genre of stories like science-fictions and fantasy are more suited for virtual reality that sitcoms and dramas, the industry is set to experiment more with different genres and take virtual reality to a new level.

  1. Increased Adoption of Over-the-top (OTT) Content

Industry reports[2] predict that by 2021, video will account for 70% of the mobile traffic. Forrester[3] forecasts that by 2025, 50% adults under the age of 32 will not pay for TV. Today, if we look around, the prediction seems believable. With viewers increasingly consuming content across devices anytime and anywhere, OTT seems the next big trend in the coming years.

More and more E&M companies are selling their content to streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu. With the streaming services gaining access to new originals as well as libraries of television shows and movies, OTT services are gaining a firmer grasp on the end-user relationship with their advertising free environments.

  1. Create Viewer-centric Content

As the broadcast industry opens up to more delivery options and devices, the packaging and distribution of the content will change significantly. With the viewers empowered to choose the content they want to consume, content curators need to find innovative ways to monetize content that not only attract eyeballs but create repeat viewers.

Creators will continue to move beyond traditional distribution channels and studios to create and retain consumers who are united by shared interests, ideas and experiences. Content creators/ curators will be more receptive of the likes and dislikes of viewers and create and distribute content to suit their needs and preferences, which will create loyal fans that are less likely to churn and have more spending capacity.

  1. Ultra HD/4K Production

2016 saw Netflix leading the 4K streaming with films like Ghostbusters and shows like Breaking Bad and the Blacklist. Amazon has also entered the league with its popular shows like Mad Dogs, Transparent, and Man in the High castle.  However, content selection now is limited with criteria for subscribers to access the content.

In 2017, Netflix and other streaming data broadcasters will continue to film or upgrade their new content in the 4K format. Content curators will create more 4K content and expects TV watchers make the jump to the higher-resolution standard.

  1. Internet of Things Gets Real

The broadcast industry is increasingly opening up to Internet of Things and beginning to see the benefits of connected broadcasting. Imagine your favorite program pausing by itself as your doorbell rings or you leave the room. Or taking cues from the surrounding like lighting and time of the day to choose program automatically based on your mood.

The future of IoT for broadcast industry looks promising. 2017 will see more crowdsourced and real-time content being generated, giving broadcasters more chance to know the audience and improve the viewing experience with more engaging and interactive programs.

Sources:

[1] https://www.fastcompany.com/3052209/tech-forecast/vr-and-augmented-reality-will-soon-be-worth-150-billion-here-are-the-major-pla

[2] http://www.digitaltveurope.net/547432/ericsson-viewing-is-shifting-from-tv-as-mobile-video-soars/

[3] http://blogs.forrester.com/james_mcquivey/15-10-07-by_2025_50_of_adults_under_age_32_will_not_pay_for_tv

Big Data and Media Organizations: A Big Impact

Big Data and Media Organizations: A Big Impact

If we were to define “Big Data” in the simplest definition, the term refers to voluminous amounts of organized and disorganized data that organizations can potentially mine or examine for business gains. Big data includes volume of data, velocity of data, variety of structured and unstructured data and most importantly data which has perceived value in context to business insights.

The ability to access, analyze and manage vast volumes of data while rapidly evolving the Information Architecture is crucial to Media & Entertainment Companies. Media companies procure reams of data every minute from every sector of their organization-advertising/sales, readership, user ship, content and accounting. The main sources of data collection are Social Media, Web Browsing Patterns, Traditional Enterprise Data from Operational Systems, Data from Data Aggregators, Advertising Response Data, Demographic Data & Historical M&E Data.

No one in the enterprise can ignore the 24/7/365 onslaught of news and social media. The amount of global media, including worldwide production of online and print news, articles, blogs and broadcast has exploded. Business data is doubling every 1.2 years. Social Media is the significant platform for big data. More than 1.4 billion online consumers are spending 22 percent of their time in social media. 172 million individuals visit Facebook each day, 30+ billion pieces of data added to Facebook each month, 40 million Twitter individuals each day, 22 million LinkedIn individual users each day, 20 million Google+ individual users each day, 17 million individual users each day and 2 million blog posts are written each day. Surprisingly, streaming videos take up more than 1/3 of the internet traffic during normal television watching hours. 72 hours of videos are added to YouTube every minute and this number is surely mind boggling. 1.3 exabyte’s of data sent and received by mobile internet users each month, more than 35million apps are downloaded each day and finally “more iPhone’s are sold than babies born each day.”

This revolution in technology will make media advertising enjoy a renaissance of sorts. Technology innovation will make it possible to trim a great deal of waste out of advertising by making it more precise. As advertising becomes more precise, it will become more efficient, which will drive up its ROI. This higher ROI will then lead to more investment in advertising. High advertisement budget will become smart business move. Accessing the right data-set and filtering out the noise contributes immensely to the success of the process.

Netflix’s creation of “House of Cards” is a well-documented example of Big data vis a vis Media & Entertainment Companies. Netflix concluded from the analysis of their customers their likes and dislikes, including ratings that indicated that many were fans of political dramas. Netflix also comprehended that they liked the actor Kevin Spacy and that they appreciated David Fincher’s work. Such well-researched data-set helped frame the highly successful creation of “House of Cards”. The impact on Netflix is that targeted programming is bringing them more subscribers and greater revenue, profitability, and market share.

Finally, not only Media & Entertainment companies, political data analytics has advanced from simple micro targeting to true predictive data science, and the track record is good. The Big data team of Donald Trump, President-elect, United States of America has a mammoth role to play. The polls, the pundits and the models predicted the win months back.  Oczkowski, Director of product for the president-elect’s data team Cambridge Analytica, says, “Data’s alive and kicking. It’s just how you use it and how you buck normal political trends to understand your genre.”

The pattern of consumer consumption of information, movies, music, television and entertainment as well as the competitive nature of M&E companies assure that those that take advantage of big data to augment what they know about their business, will continue to be leaders. They will continue to invent new and better business processes and efficiencies and they will do so by evolving their Information Architecture in an impactful manner.

The Tube Goes Personal- My Television, My Time, My Way

The Tube Goes Personal- My Television, My Time, My Way

The Tube Goes Personal

It was just another lazy Saturday noon at 41, Manchester lane for the Smiths. Everyone in the family was busy with their routine weekend affairs. Jenny was busy with her preparations for the dinner they were hosting for their family friends and was hoping to get a helping hand from her teenage kids Amber and Alex. She exclaimed looking at her teenage son, Alex “God knows what these kids to up to! They are always hooked to their mobile phones and iPads.”  It was half past seven and Alex was still completely engrossed in his tablet, watching something with rapt attention. Out of sheer curiosity and a bit of anger, Jenny took a peak into Alex’s screen trying to figure what he was glued to.

What Alex shared was a revelation for his mother. He explained how he can catch up on his favorite TV series on his smart phone or a tablet as and when he gets time. The very thought of watching her favorite shows without having to fight for the remote made Jenny smile, and she was super excited to learn that she can enjoy all of her sops simply by downloading an app on her mobile.

A global research suggests that an adult-internet user spends almost 20 hours per week online – consuming media. Interestingly, for the first time ever, Britons will spend around GBP 1.31 billion on video streaming subscriptions and film/TV downloads in 2016, more than on buying and renting DVDs.

My Television, My Way:  Happy Viewers

Television has been constantly reinventing itself and today, it has transformed itself from an idiot box to a smart device offering a personalized experience.  There were times when watching television was a family affair but with growing options, reach and changing preferences, there is a major change in content consumption patterns. While the previous generations fret over missing an episode, the modern viewer is consuming content in a whole new way.

OTT services providers like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon , beIN Connect etc. are now offering subscription based services to consumers on one end and are investing on sourcing content. Netflix has even taken a step forward by entering into production of content.

Cord cutting (the term used for viewers cancelling their television subscription services for alternate content sources) is now catching up with millennials around the world. As a viewer, on-demand TV gives them a choice to watch the content they like anytime, anywhere and on any device.

Getting Heard:  A Marketer’s Delight    

OTT, SVOD, Mobile TV are a fantastic medium for marketers to reach out their audience. Not only does it offer targeted advertising options but it offers meaningful insights for marketers to analyze and optimize their campaigns.  The result is impactful campaigns, reduced media spill and improved ROI.

Feed the Appetite: Content for the Consumers

With this trend shift, the industry is more focused on creating content to cater to the diverse set of viewers. While creating new content is important, re-purposing old content to make it accessible is also equally important. Digitization and management of old content in various formats is necessary for the survival of the heritage. Because, the new generation may not have read the works of Jane Austen, but chances are they would not have missed ‘Emma Approved’, the web-series based on her popular novel Emma.

Audiovisual Content Monetization: How Ready Are You?

Audiovisual Content Monetization: How Ready Are You?

Television is no more the only go-to entertainment device. According to a report[1], as viewers consume TV shows and movies in various devices on-the-go, television has lost 13 percent of its viewers in 2015.

With the millennials abandoning television faster than anybody else, broadcasters are aggressively exploring new ways to package content and share it across multiple platforms. Consumers now want more variety and quality content to be delivered to the right device at the right price, which is why providers are looking beyond repackaging the same old content to make it available.

As content becomes the leading online commodity, broadcasters and media organizations are trying to monetize their content. The need to create, convert, and manage digital content has brought forth new technologies, competitive paradigms, and business dynamics in the industry.

Consumers now expect instant access of all content – news, entertainment, corporate, social, media or personal across devices. This has resulted in companies innovating to create ways to monetize content. The biggest challenge that organizations are facing is not technology but availability of content in the consumable format. If monetization is the immediate priority, content owners need to focus on:

  1. Digitization of their historic analog content
  2. Management and optimization of newly produced content

A lot of content still lies in old format like video tapes or film. Organizations need to convert these to digital files and create relevant metadata and support index to aid effective and seamless content retrieval. To facilitate this, content curators need to assess the audio-visual assets to determine the appropriate platform to store, access and distribute the content. Moreover, content, as an asset, needs to be managed well to ensure optimal distribution across channels to generate parallel revenue streams.

Once digitized and managed well, media asset managers not only undertake the effort to digitize and manage content to ensure easy search and availability, they also present an array of options to monetize the content.

Subscription Plan

Common for all types of digital content, be it gaming, streaming content (like Hulu, Spotify, or Netflix), software, or magazine and newspapers, subscription model primarily use paywalls, through which users subscribe to content for a monthly or annual fee. Broadcasters have the option of implementing paywall after a free trial, immediately on consuming the content, or pay-as-per-use. Some content are also charged after a specific number of views, which allows broadcasters to generate revenue from ad.

Transaction Plan

Consumers have access to digital content after paying one-time transaction fee, where they pay-to-own the track, movie, image, or article, or pay multiple times as they use the content. Multiple transactions allow users to have time limited access of content and applications. iTunes and YouTube movies are examples of content being available in this model.

Freemium Plan

Under this plan, content is offered for free, while the broadcasters charge premium for selective content. For example, Angry Birds game is available for free, but users need to pay for an ad-free version or to purchase goods and levels within the game.

Ad-support Plan

Common across digital verticals, ad-supported free content earns revenue from ads, like banner or C. While content is provided free, advertisers use the platform to run ad campaigns and pays the content owner for using the platform.

While organizations try different plans across different platforms to broadcast and monetize content, what needs to be kept in mind is one-size-fits-all doesn’t work for all content owners. Media asset managers and broadcasters need to identify the ideal plan that suits the overall business objectives of the organization.

[1] https://www.accenture.com/us-en/insight-digital-video-connected-consumer