Three TV Everywhere Trends for 2016
If 2015 was the year of the cord-cutters, then 2016 is set to be the year of the cord-nevers.
Who are they? Well, they’re consumers of content who have never paid a traditional monthly subscription to cable or satellite providers for a bundle of channels (many of which they probably wouldn’t even use). They watch their favourite shows, sports teams or buzzworthy moments on a range of devices, at a time that fits into their lives. There is no more appointment-to-view television. It’s TV everywhere, all the time.
So what lies in store during the next 12 months for the ‘Netflix and chill’ generation? We take a look into the Booxmedia crystal ball at three informed, industry predictions:
Big Brands Go Global
Netflix is the first OTT provider to be (almost) truly global. Astonishingly – but perhaps not surprisingly, as infrastructure and internet speeds improve – you can now watch Netflix content in Greenland and even the remote Falkland Islands in the South Atlantic Ocean. Netflix has rolled out its service to 130 countries in total. Some noteworthy exceptions are North Korea, Syria, Crimea and China – a territory the company has clearly got in its sights. Chief Executive Reed Hastings said at CES in Las Vegas this month that they want to bring the streaming service to a billion people in China. “In China you need specific permission from the government to operate” said Hastings “so we are continuing to work on that and we are very patient”.
Until now, many of the streaming service providers like HBO had been launching in phases, territory-by-territory, as they figured out practicalities like language options (dubbing or subtitles), and budgeted for the cost of marketing. But the sudden expansion of Netflix could prompt other big brands to follow their lead and suddenly go global in 2016. One advantage would likely be to cut down on IPR infringements. Netflix is already moving to stop this, but illegal downloads and streams will still remain a problem for providers when they go global, if the same content is not available in all territories: Australia Netflix has only about 10% of the content of Netflix USA for example. Although if a popular show is available almost at the same time, in all major markets, it might curb some of the piracy that made HBO’s Game of Thrones the most pirated show of 2015.
Smaller Broadcasters Go OTT
Expanding streaming content offerings – any time, any place – is not just for the big players like HBO or Netflix. Virtually every day of the week, a smaller broadcaster announces their new service, an app, or a suite of content for OTT audiences. From Ireland to Croatia and all points in between.
The flexible, cost-effective backend solutions that are available on the market at the moment mean that even modest-sized national or regional broadcasters are able to make their content available for customers via an OTT service.
As a good example, in autumn 2015 we helped RTL Belgium launch their a l’infini service. They now have a state-of-the-art end-to end cloud VOD platform which offers regional, localized, French-language programming to their customers. This makes RTL Belgium one of the many European broadcaster who are now offering transactional and subscription services to their audience, and show that even geographically smaller regions can employ the latest technology like VoD subscriptions and catch-up libraries to enhance their products. We predict that during 2016 – and perhaps especially as new competition from big brands like Netflix enter more markets – the number of broadcasters jumping on board the OTT train will continue to grow.
Broader Demographics Go TV Everywhere
We know that the number of people actively using pay TV’s ‘TV Everywhere’ services is growing… just not very quickly. Take the USA as an example. Recent data showed that 13.6% of households are using the cord-cutting applications, but that’s only up just over 1% in the last two years. Meanwhile, 40% of US households are watching other streaming services like Netflix and Hulu online. So where does the expansion come during 2016? It’s becoming increasingly clear that women could be the next big influencers when it comes to OTT and TV Everywhere adoption. Although we already knew that fully 35% of people taking advantage of OTT and TVE services were men aged 22-39, new data shows the percentage of female OTT TV users is on-the-up: 11% in 2012 and 25% in 2015. The findings of the representative study, which was carried out in more than two dozen countries, were reported by Broadband TV News.
So how do broadcasters increase the percentage of female service users and also grow their customer base? One obvious answer would be to offer more content that appeals to this market. The same applies to older viewers as well, the so-called ‘Silver Surfers” who have time to watch and often more disposable income, which advertisers like to target. Clearly, the way to attract an audience is to cater to their viewing habits. And with the ability of OTT service providers to curate a vast array of content, we predict that 2016 will see more diversification of audience demographics, as absolute numbers of service users grow as well.