By Christof Haslauer, CEO and founder, NativeWaves.
Read the Original article in SVG Europe here
2022 will be the year when broadcasters and over the top (OTT) services start focusing on delivering enhanced user experiences to their viewers, especially from live events. In the fight against audience disengagement, adding new technical features such as better video resolution or new audio formats is no longer enough. Instead, broadcasters must focus on delivering user experiences if they wish to drive revenue and maintain market share. The success of brands such as Netflix, Amazon Prime and Disney+ have made streaming the major choice for entertainment and engagement with content, among people of all ages. In the forecast period of 2021 to 2028, the live streaming market is expected to grow at a rate of 28.2% (Global-live streaming market report by Databridge Market Research).
Highly competitive market
However, this market is highly competitive, especially when it comes to live events, including sports. To attract and retain viewers, companies must anticipate and apply a variety of strategies based on the consumer viewing habits, preferable platforms, hours engaging with content, content interests and overall viewing experience.
Demand for personalisation within television is growing. This trend will only increase in 2022. The good news for broadcasters and OTT services is that fans are willing to pay more for personalised content. The Future of TV Market Demand 2019 by Quantum Market Research showed that 96% of viewers would use a personalised channel if television broadcasters offered it. Survey respondents were also willing to pay an extra £14.30 (€16.95 / $19,37) per month for the channel on top of their existing TV subscription.
On the flip side, although all viewers use a connected device as a second screen while watching TV (most of them are using a smartphone), only one third of them are engaged with content related to what is on the TV. The opportunity and the risk here are clear; offering an engaging experience for the connected device will be the key to shoring up advertising revenues and reducing churn. Otherwise, current customers and viewers may soon be looking for their entertainment sources elsewhere.
One of the key challenges that broadcasters are going to have to master is the transition from linear digital delivery to personalised on-demand experiences, that viewers have come to expect for features and episodic scripted content. Simply offering all live content also on-demand foregoes multiple opportunities for interactivity and incremental monetisation. Keeping fans engaged in real time has distinctive value and accomplishing this requires a vastly different approach.
No longer connected to schedules
Younger demographics no longer feel connected to scheduled linear delivery when it comes to movies and entertainment. Where live sports or other live events is concerned the main value remains in creating a shared experience with your friends around the world. This is where streaming delays of up to a minute are not helpful at all. While most broadcasters offer their apps, they suffer from poor implementation. Most offer the same linear feed in the app that adds delay and little to no incremental information. They don’t offer the kind of value that audiences are looking for.
To overcome this issue broadcasters must think through what a complementary streaming offering could look like and at the same time leverage the streaming technologies of today to bridge that gap.
Some fundamentals for an engaging fan experience include the integration of data and stats in a visually appealing form, the ability to view all relevant parts of the event on-demand and as near-instantly as possible, choosing different views and camera perspectives and coupling your connected device to the main broadcast feed playing on the living room TV while watching with family and friends. And of course, everything must be delivered with absolute minimal latency (ie, within a few seconds) to avoid any spoiler moments like receiving the dreaded “Great goal!” text from your friend even before you see it on your screen.
There are potentially different approaches that can be taken to deliver an enhanced fan experience but the key to success is to keep the entire process of adoption of technology simple. Expecting broadcasters to change their entire workflow or adopt proprietary technology that does not scale is not practical. The solutions that broadcasters are going to look for will be modular, scalable, easy to implement and most importantly achieved with minimal disruption to existing services.
At NativeWaves, we have approached the problem by coming at it from the end-user perspective. We believe that if you offer audiences an on-demand experience during a live event, they will not want to go back to the experience they get today. And this is not about overloading them with additional camera feeds but instead providing them with a user experience that packages this content in a meaningful and personalised way. For this, we have created a new unified experience called NativeWaves EXP that accompanies users to deepen the fan experience, whether they enjoy their favourite event at home, on the go or live in-venue.
Viewers’ media consumption habits have changed, and these changes are here to stay. As viewers are becoming more demanding, broadcasters will have to respond to these demands by delivering more of what the viewer wants. 2022 could be the year when the “one to many” model that broadcasters have used over the years changes and broadcast becomes more user experience focussed and personalisation truly becomes a reality.