Streaming Forum asked some leading online video commentators to give us their take on the biggest trends in OTT in 2017. Here’s what they said …
Streaming Forum Keynote
Mike Rizzo, Head of IPTV Solutions, BT TV & BT Sport, UK
2017 will see increased blurring of the boundaries between OTT and traditional pay-TV. To date OTT has largely been offered as an entry-level service to draw in subscribers that would not have otherwise signed up to a pay-TV package. This is starting to change as operators start to use OTT as the primary delivery vehicle for some of their content. For example, long tail “niche” channels can be more profitable if delivered as OTT, with better visibility of audience profiles giving operators an opportunity to attract higher advertising rates. And OTT can also facilitate delivery of richer interactive experiences, for example for Sport, making it the preferred platform for many consumers. Accordingly technology will follow this trend, with operators increasingly adopting common solutions across OTT and pay-TV.
Streaming Forum Keynote
Dan Finch, Commercial Director, TVPlayer and Simplestream, UK
OTT has been an unstoppable force in 2016 and is on par to continue a strong growth trajectory. The projected four-fold market increase to $32 billion by 2019 helps exemplify how improvements in user interface and bandwidth infrastructure flexibility have encouraged consumers to steer away from traditional DTT content delivery. The demand for live video content over multiple devices has grown and the social media giants have been swift to feed this hunger. With Facebook, Twitter and Instagram growing in popularity as live streaming end points, it is important for content players to syndicate to them in order to extend their consumer reach. This will be particularly applicable for sports content in the next few years, as 63% of sports fans have expressed willingness to pay for an OTT subscription to watch their favourite teams and players.
Jan Ozer, Principal, Streaming Learning Center, USA
IMHO, the biggest trend for OTT in 2017 will be a major focus on quality of experience. To replace the traditional TV broadcast, the industry needs to recreate the TV experience. Getting that done is the key to continued expansion and cord cutting.
Eric Schumacher-Rasmussen, Editor, Streaming Media, USA & Europe
The biggest trend in 2017 will see OTT services working to offer not just replacements for broadcast or cable, but improvements. OTT publishers will attack the latency challenge, work toward the long-promised personalised and targeted advertising, and devise innovative ways to deliver services that are better than anything broadcast or cable can offer. It’s going to require relentless attention to quality of service and quality of experience, but 2017 should be the year we see OTT truly come into its own.
Duncan Burbidge, CEO and co-Founder, StreamAMG, UK
The biggest trend in OTT in 2017? The major suppliers making it faster and easier to get apps online.
Mark Horton, Strategic Product Manager, Ericsson, UK
The very best OTT content is now being shot and delivered in HDR. Will this be a key trend for the future, leading to a new quality battleground?
Per Lindgren, Founder & SVP, Live OTT, Net Insight, Sweden
Live will be a strong focus in OTT in 2017 with a return of the promised interactive and social TV experience. This will highlight the current challenges with latency and sync in today’s OTT solutions. Large players like Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and Google will drive innovation in the TV industry coupled to OTT and social media, but we will also see larger content owners bring new innovative solutions for an enhanced viewing experience, especially in live sports, to the market. Overall, OTT will not just be a cheaper or more agile way of broadcasting live content, but will change the live viewing experience with a more engaging and interactive way to consume content. Live OTT in 2017 and forward will allow live television to be harmonised across all screens, enabling not only new features and an unprecedented viewing experience, but will induce new business models to accommodate these new opportunities and consumer viewing habits.
Richard Brandon, Chief Marketing Officer, Edgeware, UK
There are a few I could highlight, but I think the biggest will be more OTT providers building their own delivery networks so they can control the quality of their content.
Nikolay Rodionov, Co-Founder and COO, Streamroot, France
360 video and VR will continue to grow on the consumer side. Meanwhile, adblockers will once again be a thorn in broadcasters' side. Companies will need to be increasingly innovative when it comes to monetising, and ad insertion (especially server side) is poised to be a hot topic again in 2017. On the delivery side, I think we’re going to see more DYI and multi-vendor, multi-technology configurations among the biggest players – combinations of in-house expertise and a selection of third-party service providers. New and hybrid delivery techs that can handle emerging use cases such as ultra-low latency and bandwidth-greedy 360 & VR video will also garner a lot of attention.
Dom Robinson, Director & Creative Firestarter, id3as, UK
I think it’s likely that traditional cable and satellite models such as Sky Now and HBO NOW will increasingly manage new rights deals to offer more 'bouquets' of linear channels to appear legally as premium services this year. I also anticipate significant consolidation and transition in the CDN space.
Daniel Nordberg, VP of Content Acquisition, Opera TV, Norway
The most evident trend we will see is that next-generation broadcasting will revolutionize the living room viewing experience, driven by consumers’ change in OTT consumption habits by trading off bundled packaged for more flexible OTT subscriptions. This change has started to get major pay-TV operators attention and the need to adapt immediately. Service providers like Comcast, AT&T and TiVo among others have included must-have OTT services such as YouTube and Netflix as part of their offering. Moreover, current and new OTT consumers alike will have growing expectations and standards for their OTT experience.
Ed Haslam, Chief Marketing Officer, Conviva, USA
We looked at 20 of our top publishers traffic growth (viewer hours) over the past year for three classes of video publishers: SVOD, AVOD, HYBRID (both SVOD and AVOD offerings). All three classes on average grew at over 50% on average, with HYBRID growing 50% faster than AVOD or SVOD only services. In 2017, consumers will continue to embrace services that offer both free ad supported viewing and paid content.