Top 4 threats and challenges for the TV industry in 2014

Top 4 threats and challenges for the TV industry in 2014

Efrat Fenigson, senior director of marketing communications, Viaccess-Orca

The TV industry has enjoyed great advances in 2013, and we are looking forward to witnessing what 2014 has in store.

However, we must also look past the glitz and glamour associated with the innovations that made waves in 2013, and examine the threats and challenges facing 2014, in order to overcome them.

Here’s a collection of what we foresee as top challenges for content service providers in 2014:

1. Breaking Down Silos

If multiscreen services are to be seamless, they must break down silos.

Consumers now require technologies that enable them to pause on one device and resume on another. How can this be accomplished? Only by breaking down silos. However, it doesn’t end there. Additional features, from data collection for recommendations to wish lists that are accessible from any screen, require breaking down the silos.

Silos also prevent the content experience from beingcomprehensive, consistent and seamless. In 2014, we as an industry should create aunified infrastructure and migrate consumers to it. Between unifiedrecommendations, pause and resume, unified bookmarks and access to PVR content, the users will recognise andappreciate the difference.

2. Content Protection and Piracy

Just how much damage can piracy do to the TV industry? Hundreds of millions of euros? Think again. The cost of piracy to the TV industry worldwide is estimated at billions of euros and the figure is constantly increasing. Piracy is an ever-present threat to the revenues of content service providers. Once revenues are compromised, the value of the content itself is also in jeopardy.

The industry needs to continue investing in content security throughout 2014. We advise content service providers to resist the temptation to settle for low cost solutions and, instead, select content security vendors that can assist on all fronts of the battle against piracy, including legislation, educating of police and custom authorities, investigating and tracking piracy networks across the globe, and monitoring content sharing over Internet.

Content service providers must also keep in mind that technology barriers are breaking down and network infrastructures are becoming available with minimal initial investment cost.Illegal services of live program redistribution in real-time over the Internet are piggybacking on legitimate content services. The concerns surrounding content protection don’t stop there. As content security solutions have evolved and conditional access smart cards have become very difficult to hack, there are new ways to pirate pay TV signals that circumvent the need to crack a smart card.

3. User Interface and Experience

There are many critical factors to be considered when optimising a user interface for multiscreen TV services. Content service providers have to set their sights on satisfying their viewers’ needs, which include, based on Maslow’s Pyramid of Needs, reinforcing self-esteem, fostering a sense of social belonging and enabling self-fulfilment. All of these elements emphasise the personal identities of consumers and fitting the content into the social context of each individual.

What does that mean for the user interface? Most importantly, the user interface needs to be personal. The end users need to have their personal content at their fingertips. They should easily be able to purchase content and view it from the same device or from any other smart device that they own. Social sharing is also an elementary usage pattern for any IP connected screen. Embedding the social discussion and interaction in the user interface enables end-users to include friends in their experiences across the social networking platforms of their choice. People are also drawn to apps and services that shave off a few extra clicks and “OK”s, and save time in the bottom line.

On the device side, multiscreen service providers need to provide a user interface that addresses each device’s characteristics while centrally maintaining the intelligence and DNA of the service to avoid reliance on specific client technology, which may or may not be around in a few years. This is becoming increasingly important since the shelf life of technology tends to deteriorate at a rapid pace.

4. User Engagement

The industry moves forward rapidly and shaping the content experience to reach the ultimate user engagement remains the main challenge. Our vision and guiding business philosophy to reach this ultimate user engagement is reflected in the following model.

First and foremost, content service providers should have business rules revolving around the protection of premium content, in order to keep it premium. From an engagement perspective, this layer applies to the security aspect. The next layer is interactivity, which refers to the interactive part of service platforms, such as VOD, program guides, and PVR capabilities. These two layers comprise the foundation of the Engagement Model.

The next part is personalisation, which has to be conducted in a contextual manner. The service has to be tailored according to the preferences of the user and his/her previous viewing activities. The final part of the Engagement Model is immersion. Immersion serves as a different way of navigating a consuming content. One great example would be using next generation metadata to produce an endless number of digital magazines.

All these layers must live in a multiscreen environment to enable a truly fulfilling end user engagement.

As an industry, we should build our defences and strengthen our weak points, so we can emerge stronger than ever in 2014. As the saying goes, “better safe than sorry.”

What other threats or challenges would you add to this list?

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