In 2011 Marty Roberts, VP Sales & Marketing, for thePlatform, argued that TV everywhere is taking over TV. Although the logic behind this sentence can be argued with, there has been a growth of multiscreen initiatives from both B2C service providers and B2B technology and network companies. Last year the multiscreen hype started to reach consumers in two ways. First, cable operators and multi system operators (MSO’s) provided applications for smartphones and tablets to watch live television channels using the Wifi signal in domestic settings. Time Warner Cable (TWC) introduced their iOS application for iPad, Iphone and iTouch last year and are working on an Android app. The XfinityTV platform platform of Comcast provides a multiscreen on demand solution for subscribers to watch on-demand video on multiple screens both home and on the go.
Secondly, digital video platforms are reaching many of its customers (video consumers) on screens other than the original PC or laptop screen. Services like YouTube, Netflix and Hulu are offering an immersing and integrated experience across devices, allowing users to connect to their content from any screen while remembering their preferences and allowing interaction with the platform. And the mobile video market is growing rapidly. For example, YouTube mobile gets over 400 million views a day, growing an astonishing threefold per year, and representing 13% of the YouTube daily views (over 3 billion videos are viewed on a daily base). Watch this somewhat outdated (only 3 years old) video from YouTube about YouTube mobile.
What is multiscreen or TV everywhere?
There is a growing industry of technology and network companies who are providing solutions for service providers, video platforms, and cable operators to store, manage, decode, transfer and deliver video content to any screen at any time. The promise of these multiscreen solutions is to expand video and television content to other devices and settings. Multiscreen can be seen as the ultimate form of media convergence in a technical sense since content is no longer attached to a device or platform and is available on any (connected) screen. This questions whether the future video experience is defined by the content or the platform, and thus if every screen can be used for all types of content.
Multiscreen = Media convergence
Multiscreen technologies promise to expand television to other devices and settings creating a new experience of ‘anytime and anywhere’ access to content. At the moment most systems can offer non-linear on-demand content such as VOD and OTT services. However, especially after announcements from technology providers during the CES 2012 conference in Las Vegas, the ability to watch live and linear content will be supported. The main problems with distributing linear television content to any screen are (local) distribution contracts that often don’t include innovative new delivery forms (Read about TWC’s struggle to stream live television channels on the iPad), the ability to provide content protection (DRM) across platforms and networks, and the quality of service and experience, especially on uncontrolled (mobile) networks and the last mile.
But besides the technical solutions and challenges that are connected to the anytime anywhere experience, multiscreen television allows personalized interfaces on any device, remembering settings and preferences and socializes the experience with content that is shared by friends and recommended by personal TV or content guides. This experience is independent from place, time or device. A huge difference from the current domestic set-top box and DVR experience. To sum up; multiscreen solutions converges television, internet and mobile, and brings new monetization options for (television) content to service providers.
Geert Faber is the founder and editorial director of ‘The End of Television as we know it’, a weblog dedicated to the latest developments and insights within the broadcasting and television industry covering various topic including Social TV, Second Screen, IPTV, Smart TV, Content Distribution, Connected TV, OTT, and VOD and the companies and business models involved. I am passionate about television,new media, marketing and especially interested in the converging of old and new media within the broadcasting industry. Read more...