Eva Wimmers, CEO of NativeWaves, believes the TV experience should be
driven by the user experience, not engineers and developers
TVBEUROPE – July / August 2020
How did you get started in the media tech industry?
Years ago, I was responsible for marketing and procuring technology platforms for TV streaming and download applications, and for own branded hardware such as smartphones, tablets, routers, setup boxes and their respective accessories. I then moved into strategically developing content for these portals and procuring big sports and entertainment content rights for the IPTV Services run by the companies I was working for.
In my last role for the global technology and smartphone giant, Huawei, I launched and
established the Millennials smartphone brand, Honor, which gave me exposure to a media
technology from a Millennials and Gen Z usage point of view.
With my own investment company “Geistesblizz” I took an early interest in NativeWaves, coaching the company’s founders and subsequently investing in the business. I also took the board role of co-chairwoman. Media tech is a highly interesting and up and coming area and what fascinates me is its ability to combines the latest tech with the latest user trends to deliver a more personal, more immersive and more individual user experience.
How has it changed since you started your career?
Well, let us start a little earlier so that we can really see how much has changed over the last few decades: In the past, we all ran home from the playground to see Wickie the Wiking at exactly 7:45pm on Thursdays. It was a weekly show that could only be watched in our living room on our black and white TV and we all talked about it in school the next day. This whole scenario is different now. Content comes to you today, wherever and whenever you choose to watch it, except for the big live events such as in sports. And we talk about it on social media while we watch it. The media usage today teaches us what kind of products and services we should offer on linear TV, too.
What makes you passionate about working in the industry.
I started my career in marketing, but I am passionate about everything tech related and I love to play around with anything that has a display, cables, wires and blinks. Plus, I always loved smartphones, gadgets, new creative solutions (software and hardware) and of course the media industry and the way it brings the world into our living rooms or wherever we are. So I guess my career developed through a mix of ‘do more of what you love’ and the passion to build up new products and experience worlds internationally.
If you could change one thing about the media tech industry, what would it be?
I would love to see products and services become even more customizable. People that are older than 30 have grown up with very few possibilities to make their TV experience better. Today’s world is great. Time, place, device and so on are now all our own decisions. So, when I think about the changes I’d like to see, I would love to put the whole experience in the hands of the customer. I’d like customers to have the opportunity to view scenes from every angle, access hyper-personalized ads that they choose and seamlessly share moments with their friends. Just dream up your perfect product and share your vision. Media tech should be driven by the user experience and not by engineers and developers creating a technology product.
How inclusive do you think the industry is, and how can we make it more inclusive?
When I look at the variety of content that is produced day in and day out, I think the industry is becoming more inclusive. Millions of people, languages and tastes. As of now, we are not in a perfect inclusive and diverse media tech world, but if we take the right steps, we will be in the – hopefully near – future. If you follow viewers’ demands you will automatically be led towards more inclusive content. One major step that is very important to me personally is establishing more diverse leadership in big media tech companies. If these companies want to stay ahead it is important to have people from different backgrounds, nationalities, age groups and genders.
How do we encourage young people that media technology is the career for them?
Young people have a much higher awareness of technology than they had in the past. Now almost every child starts watching YouTube or Netflix at a very young age. Games, TV, series and movies are very attractive for them, and they know perfectly well how to use the devices, gadgets and services from a tech usage point of view.
So, with high awareness of everything happening on a screen, our job is to make broadcasting and media fun again. As I said, customization is a big thing but also the ability to connect to friends in a seamless way. In our industry, they can actively create new concepts that their peers would love. The 20-year-old me would have loved that.
And by the way, who is teaching whom when it comes to media tech and young people vs the traditional media tech executives? I’m pretty sure this balance is equal. Over the last five years I’ve run and worked with teams with an average age of 26 and experienced very high interest in the media tech area.
Where do you think the industry will go next?
The Covid-19 pandemic has presented major challenges to the live broadcast industry but at the same time has offered opportunities for innovation. Live sporting and entertainment events being held behind closed doors have forced broadcasters to look for alternative technological solutions such as remote production to deliver content to their viewers. Broadcasters are exploring different ways to keep them engaged, despite the lack of atmosphere in the venue due to the absence of audiences.
Over the next six-12 months, these innovations will become the new normal. Broadcast infrastructure will evolve, with more automation and remote production becoming the solutions of choice. AI-driven technologies will come to the fore, and broadcasters and service providers will focus on delivering personalized experiences to their audiences. Data on how audiences consume their entertainment will become even more important, especially to advertisers. Traditional broadcast and streaming production workflows will have a lot more synergy. We are already seeing a change in how OTT services are perceived – no longer the poor cousin but rather the cool younger brother.
What should the industry be talking about that is isn’t at the moment?
It should be speaking about customer expectations. The way TV advertising works today is annoying and unengaging to many customers. Future developments will be strongly driven by increased customer expectations, which will cover media experiences, multi viewing and personalized viewing experiences that allow them to be their own director. This will also lead to a whole new world of highly targeted advertisement: if you involve the second screen in the form of a tablet or smartphone, you can take advantage of the touch screen and make viewer engagement far more relevant. Bu allowing users to choose where and how deeply they become engage in the ad messages. This means saying goodbye to mass one size fits all advertising on TV and hello to the super targeted messaging we already know it from the online and social media marketing world.
New innovative media tech products and services will allow for completely new media formats that put the viewer in control. For instance, you chose your favorite ending from several simultaneous action streams or choose your favorite outcome for a TV show though a button. All of this can be supported by the NativeWaves products.