We’re only four months into 2018, but already it’s been one of the busiest and most exciting years in our company’s twenty-two-year history.
There’s been a lot going on – from a huge office move (you can find our London team in the BFI Building on Stephen Street now!) to the hiring of some seriously smart new colleagues to a flurry of client wins.
But our focus hasn’t wavered at all on continuing to design the world’s most powerful apps and building new solutions for our customers that will help future-proof their businesses in an extremely volatile market.
Next week, the Massive team will be heading out to sunny Las Vegas for NAB – one of the industry’s leading exhibitions for purveyors of all things broadcast - to meet with colleagues and showcase some of the projects that we've been working on.
As we ship the last of our TV screens and book in our final meetings, conversation in the office has naturally turned to what we expect will be the hottest topics at the show.
Below we’ve jotted down some of our thoughts, but we’d love to hear what you think (especially if you think we’re way off the mark!). Send us a message at firstname.lastname@example.org or drop us a line on Twitter and let’s have a conversation.
#1. A La Carte
3.5 million. That's the number of U.S. adults who canceled their cable or satellite subscription in 2017, according to analysts at nScreenMedia. It’s been billed as the “worst year of cord cutting ever” for the television industry.
Customers abandoning pay-TV, or “cord-cutting” as it is more commonly known, is one of the most significant threats for legacy TV operators today. Viewers are leaving in droves amid aggressive pricing from digital competitors and the proliferation of new distribution platforms.
Take Sling TV from Dish, for example, which offers its price-sensitive customers a selection “skinny bundles” delivered via OTT - it added a whopping 700,000 subscribers in 2017 alone.
This isn’t the first NAB we’ll be heading to knowing that cord-cutting is a growing problem, but this year we’re excited to be announcing at the show our collaboration with Evergent to create a white label and fully managed OTT solution that will enable telcos to offer competitive, “a-la-carte” content bundles to their customers, straight out of the box.
Underpinned by the Google Cloud Platform, the mobile-focused solution is a turnkey offering for operators looking to rapidly roll out new packages through OTT delivery as a managed service. It’ll give their customers the flexibility to hand-pick their own ‘skinny bundle’ of channels for a fixed fee, with the option to change their selection every month based on their preferences.
#2. Android TV
Interest from TV operators in Android TV is at an all-time high following some high-profile triple and quad-play providers deploying solutions in the latter half of 2017. It makes sense – since rolling out its Android TV Operator Tier OS, Google has positioned itself much more favorably to customers who want to build their own UX on top of the open source Android framework.
The benefits are obvious. Faster time-to-market, quicker service and platform updates, and attractive ‘out-of-the-box’ features, like pre-integration with third-party apps and support for Google Assistant, amongst many others.
Sure, the presence of any rival, third-party apps, which cannot be excluded from the platform, could be considered a threat, but for many clients that we speak to, this threat is outweighed by the benefits of being seen as an aggregator that offers its customers a slew of popular video apps, combined with the traditional pay-TV offering.
We expect Android TV to be at the forefront of many TV operator’s minds at this year’s NAB, which is why we’re excited to showcase our fully customizable, white-label Android TV Operator Tier solution on our stand at the show. Book in a meeting at NAB today to learn more.
#3. Virtual and Augmented Reality on the Horizon
VR and AR continue to dominate many conversations concerning the ‘future of television’, even though examples of mass implementation remain relatively thin on the ground. Sure, there have been a few examples of TV operators pushing the envelope since last year’s NAB – take a look at the recent partnership between the NBA and NextVR – yet this is still very much experimental territory for the majority of players.
But that’s not to say that consumer appetite isn’t growing. Research from Statista indicates that revenue generated by the virtual reality industry will top $20 billion by 2020, while analysts from Markets and Markets peg the augmented reality figure to hit $61 billion in 2023.
This is why we’re working closely with some of our customers on designing and developing UX for these next-generation technologies. While it still may be some time before VR and AR hit the mainstream, the operators who come out on top will be the ones who begin future-proofing themselves today.
For the designers at Massive, one of the most interesting use cases for VR outside of gaming is sports – just think how much ‘stickier’ a brand experience you’d be able to provide by getting creative with the delivery of real-time game data, multiple camera angles, and communal viewing, all housed in a 360-degree experience.
#4. Subscription Revenues on the Rise, but Operators Looking for New Forms of Revenue
SVOD revenues are on the up – they grew 77% in 2017 to approximately $781 million on the App Store and Google Play, according to Sensor Tower Store Intelligence estimates. This is thanks to the global proliferation of industry giants, like Netflix and Amazon, but also the rise of vertical-specific OTT platforms, like Hayu from NBC, or DAZN from Perform.
While subscriptions are a tried, tested and trusted monetization model for hundreds of OTT services around the world, it does have a few flaws – increasing customer acquisition costs, limited market headroom and low initial price points. So over the last 12 months, our focus has been working with television operators around the world to find complimentary, non-intrusive avenues in which to increase revenue.
One of these is what we call ‘Sponsored UI’ – allowing brands to have ownership over a section of your interface in exchange for an advertisement fee. This could be just one or two rails of content, or an entire reskin for a limited time. With Massive AXIS, our user experience management console, offering this type of non-intrusive branding is achievable in real-time, across devices.
Click here to book a demo at NAB and we’ll show you how it can be done. Otherwise, feel free to stop by our stand in South Hall (Upper), booth SU9005CM – the coffee is on us.
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