Digital Media 2017 – Five forecasts

2016 was a year flush with innovation in the digital media industries.  The launch of SkyQ set the pace for mainstream TV platforms. Amazon’s launch of GrandTour on Amazon Prime, Twitter buying NFL rights, and Facebook Live streaming election coverage from the US laid down a calling card from recent entrants into the TV market. Most of these innovations weren’t immediately game-changing but hint at further sweeping changes to hit media markets in 2017.  Our consultants have put together our list of the changes we anticipate for the coming  year. We will be examining these trends, innovations and commercial changes in more detail at conferences like CES and IBC through the year and reporting back to you our thoughts and insights. As we head towards CES 2017 we start the thinking with these five forecasts:

In 2017 we redefine what we mean by a ‘platform’
In recent years, we have got used to the idea of describing companies as ‘platforms’ or ‘platform operators’.  This has normally meant a company that gives us some form of digital device, backed up by some form of distribution network, and which sold us services or content to use on that device. We have used this term to describe TV companies, mobile phone companies and broadband companies. more “Digital Media 2017 – Five forecasts”

Will Chromecast be significant in the UK?

This week, Decipher released the latest figures from Mediabug Wave 6, our bi-annual media consumption tracker. The findings paint a clear picture of growth in video on demand (VOD) viewing, particularly amongst older age groups, and fuelled in part by an increased accessibility to get video on demand services such as Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and Now TV to the TV screen.

The high value placed on VOD accessibility to TV screens is no state secret, however what is interesting to track is the changing ways in which viewers are choosing to do so. Whilst VOD via Pay TV set top boxes has been around for quite a number of years, it is growth in consumption through ‘Over The Top’ (OTT) devices that has caught our eye. From weighing up Mediabug data with industry news, I think a battle worth watching will be between Smart TV’s and Google Chromecast: two slightly different ways of watching video on demand on your TV. more “Will Chromecast be significant in the UK?”

The Problem With ‘Internet-First’ TV

This week we saw the second of two strategic announcements from senior execs in the state-owned television industry. Following Tony Hall’s recent announcement of an ‘internet-first’ strategy for the BBC, France Télévisions’ Director of Future Media Eric Scherer declared at a trade show this week that “the TV industry will now have to work on a ‘mobile-first’ strategy.

From ‘internet-first’ to ‘mobile-first’ in a month is breathless stuff. But we, like many in the TV industry, were left wondering what either of these things actually mean, let alone if they are a good idea? These questions have to be asked given that, after 20 years of internet and mobile disruption, around 90% of TV is still consumed via linear broadcast (with recorded broadcast content accounting for 7% or the remainder). more “The Problem With ‘Internet-First’ TV”

Google, Android TV and the Nexus Player: reasons to be excited

By Matthew Walters – @matthew_waltersmatt.walters@decipher.co.uk

Head and shouldersFresh from its initial unveiling and then its release to the US market in the Autumn, late last month Google’s latest streaming device – the Nexus Player – hit the UK shelves.  The device, retailing at £79.99 (roughly the same price as Amazon’s competitor Fire TV streaming box), is – significantly – the first to use the new Android TV operating system (OS), coming later this the smart television screens of Sony, Sharp and TP Vision.  It comes complete with the “cast” technology offered by Google’s content-less Chromecast, its Wi-Fi streaming dongle, and also offers content and services through apps from the Google Play store, among others. more “Google, Android TV and the Nexus Player: reasons to be excited”

TVOD: the crown is there for the taking

Head and shouldersIt’s been a busy few days for Google Play, Google’s digital media store.  First came the announcement last week that Google Play was to be added to the “channels” on Roku’s streaming boxes in the US, UK, Canada and Ireland.  Shortly following this was the company’s Google+ post in which it revealed that Google Play’s movie service had been rolled out to nine more countries (many in Eastern Europe, and three – Iceland, Macedonia, and Bosnia – where they’ve got in ahead of iTunes).  And now Decipher’s latest wave of Mediabug research has thrown up an interesting perspective on a service that’s not only finding its place but performing well in the UK TVOD (transactional video on demand) marketplace. more “TVOD: the crown is there for the taking”

EE TV: Replay offers glimpse of a (network) PVR future

Matt Walters – @matthew_waltersmatt.walters@decipher.co.ukHead and shoulders

Everything Everywhere, the UK’s largest mobile network with around 25m mobile customers, announced a little over three weeks ago the imminent launch of EE TV – a connected set-top box, complete with over 70 Freeview channels and a number of VOD players.  It will be free to all EE mobile customers who already are, or sign up to become, EE Broadband customers (of which there are currently just over three-quarters of a million). more “EE TV: Replay offers glimpse of a (network) PVR future”

CES – More Science Fiction than TV Strategy

PrintHaving had time to pause and reflect on my visit to CES this year I have come to the conclusion that this was one of the most divisive consumer electronics events in recent years. By divisive, I mean that it split the audience.  On the fourth night of the show, I went to drinks event full of British TV people and we stood around in a general mood of ‘hurrumph’!  We had come a long way, and put up with a lot of Las Vegas’ normal shenanigans and didn’t feel that we had got much out of it.  There was very little new about the future of TV there, beyond some silly bent TV screens, and a lot of posturing about 4K. more “CES – More Science Fiction than TV Strategy”

Decipher’s VOD Audit Q4 ’13: iTunes dominate total VOD size; but Sky lead catch-up

Decipher’s latest VOD Audit report is now available and with 84% of data collection automated, it provides the biggest and most robust picture of the UK video on demand landscape yet. It dissects the biggest 20 video on demand services in the UK giving an unrivalled overview of all VOD in the UK. 

The new expanded report reveals that Apple’s iTunes service comprehensively trounces the competition by offering a total of 65,063 video assets, 193% larger than the next largest service Xbox Video, and 275% larger than the largest TV VOD service BT TV/YouView. The biggest growth overall in VOD was seen in  Sky’s NowTV  service which is 208% larger than in September’s Q3 report. Other providers who grew strongly include Xbox Video (87%), Sky TV (+35%) and Netflix (+26%). more “Decipher’s VOD Audit Q4 ’13: iTunes dominate total VOD size; but Sky lead catch-up”

Decipher’s VOD Audit Q3 2013: YouView now provide more catch-up TV than Sky

Total Catch-Up TV by Platform
Total Catch-Up TV by Platform

Decipher’s latest VOD Audit reveals YouView is now the largest catch-up TV provider in the UK, growing by 24% to offer 2,677 assets. This gives it the lead over Sky by 85 assets with the satellite provider’s catch-up service totaling 2,592 assets, reflecting 11% growth since June. Importantly however, Sky’s claims to having the largest catch-up service still have some grounds: Their service offers far more breadth, giving subscribers access to content from up to 32 channels compared to YouView’s 15.

Looking at total video on demand on services audited in this quarter (which excludes iTunes and Google Play until next quarter), the most on demand is available through Sony’s Playstation Store, accessed via the Playstation 3 games console; the Store offers access to over 24,100 episodes and movies. The Audit places Blinkbox in second (20,800 assets) with Microsoft’s Xbox Video in third place (20,400 assets). more “Decipher’s VOD Audit Q3 2013: YouView now provide more catch-up TV than Sky”

Anything New on the Horizon? – Updates to the UPC’s Cable Box

Horizon Main Menu

Not many people had heard of the UPC Horizon service until the UPC parent, Liberty Global, bought Virgin Television earlier in the year.  With the Virgin acquisition UPC got its hands on Tivo, and became a European cable giant running TWO different next-gen TV platforms, and the comparisons began. Would Horizon ever replace Tivo or vice-versa? more “Anything New on the Horizon? – Updates to the UPC’s Cable Box”