Menno Koopmans, senior VP subscription broadcasting, Universal Electronics
Watching television — like we did a decade ago — is no longer a linear experience. In fact, it’s no longer even about watching television in the strictest sense. Consumers are, however, in the driving seat with myriad choices when it comes to what they want to watch — series, movies, sport, live broadcasts, and on demand content. They have almost unlimited choice in how they want to watch this content, whether that’s in the living room on the humble television set, streamed via their games console, or through an app on their smartphone, tablet or laptop. And sometimes they even use a combination of devices, like watching a show on television but participating in online discussions via Twitter on their smartphones or tablets.
Constant change and growth
The market is constantly evolving with the emergence of new players, particularly in the OTT space, and changing business models of existing players — just consider the announcement of the 2016 launch of a streaming service in the US by the BBC. And if industry analysts are to be believed, this is only going to grow. In fact, according to Infonetics Research, the global set-top box market is forecast to be worth over $19 billion by 2018.
So while consumers currently have more choice than ever before in terms of both content and devices, has viewing behaviour changed that dramatically? The short answer is, yes it has.
Regardless of how content is received by the viewer, via terrestrial, satellite, cable or internet streaming, the fact remains that providers of this content are looking to find new ways to not only monetize their offerings, but also raise the levels of interaction. Generally, viewers don’t worry about where their favourite programmes are coming from, only that they are able to watch them where, when and how they would like to.
Choice is good, right?
But with so such choice, how do content providers — from OTT operators to so-called traditional broadcasters — ensure that they are meeting the needs of their customers and properly monetising the content at the same time? Ultimately it comes down to user experience, the way in which users access the content, find what they’re looking for and then consume it.
In the living room, for example, the driving force behind this user experience is undoubtedly the remote control. In recent research conducted by Trendbox DB on behalf of Universal Electronics, it was found that of viewers in the UK, Germany and France, there was an average of 3.3 remote controls per household. This is in no way surprising considering that 75% of respondents also had other devices (like set-top boxes, DVD players, games consoles and computers) connected to their main televisions.
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