Monday, October 17, 2011

Pay TV vs. OTT part III: CE vendors and companion screens

CE vendors
It is not just the content owners that are going direct to customers, now connected devices vendors offer content directly on their platforms, over the internet.Game platforms have long offered OTT content and are the single major contributors to Hulu's success. Now CE vendors offer OTT apps on their connected TVs, blue ray players, projectors...Samsung, the market leader in TV shipments has created a complete ecosystem, with an app store, a catalogue of pre-integrated OTT apps, some complementary some competitive with service providers. This is offered on their Connected TVs, Blu Ray players, projectors, smart phones, tablets... LG, Panasonic, Philips, Sharp, Toshiba, Vizio have now a similar offering.
It will not be long before Google TV's second attempt brings a complete soup to nuts ecosystem as well with set top boxes and  connected TVs running android and a complete TV app store.
I am willing to bet as well that the next Apple TV will actually be a connected TV, not a net box that will be fully integrated with iCloud and iTunes store and Air.

Companion screens

Lastly, on the device front, there is a new trend developing that I will call companion screens. More and more people, while watching TV are  doing something on their tablet, smartphone or laptop that is related to what they are watching. Whether it is chatting, playing, texting, blogging, twitting or posting, these interactions have emerged spontaneously and  are still very much in a separate silo from the TV experience. Most vendors, and service providers are trying to figure out how social media, connected devices and OTT fit together.
I have seen many cross-screen applications and services at IBC last month and I will present a few in my next post about innovations in the Pay TV / OTT space.

In conclusion, the industry is transitioning from a model where Pay TV content was predominantly accessed through managed devices on managed networks, to a model where content and services will predominantly be accessed through unmanaged or hybrid devices, on unmanaged or hybrid networks. This, as you can imagine creates many threats and opportunities for content owners, service providers and device vendors that we will examine in the next post.

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