Mobile World Congress: The #TVEverywhere Perspective
More than 93,000 visitors from 200 countries. 1900 exhibitors. 50,000 shared photos. 25,000 Facebook ‘likes’, and 450,000 mentions of the official hashtag.
The annual industry expo in Barcelona is always, by any measure, an event of superlatives. And this year was no exception. Mobile World Congress 2015 was dominated by a few big announcements that grabbed headlines in the press. You might have noticed the shiny new phones from HTC, or Samsung’s Galaxy S6 or Microsoft’s pair of mid-range handsets. That’s just the tip of the iceberg – there were many more smartphones, tablets and countless accessories all unveiled during last week’s event.
But what about #TVEverywhere and OTT services? For an event that makes news because of devices that consumers (and tech journalists) want to get their hands on, it can be difficult for software or service providers to make their voices heard through the excited clamour of hardware product launches. Some journalists are already noticing that this year’s WMC was a real breakthrough for mobile video. “It spells a major transformation for the traditional television industry” writes TechZone360. That article explains some of the reasons that OTT services are now coming into their own, like the availability of high speed mobile data services, more apps to make connections easier, and the wide acceptance of viewing content on second screen devices.
The biggest WMC announcement in our industry space was the partnership of Telefonica and Microsoft. The Spanish telecoms providers says it will offer its IPTV service on devices with Windows Phone OS. They’re even rolling out integration with Cortana (Microsoft’s incarnation of Siri) so you can give your Smart TV commands in Spanish. (Other Latin American telcos announced their own expansion of the Telefonica app Movistar GO in their own territories, at MWC as well). Meanwhile French giant Orange will bring its high speed service to every town in Spain with more than 10,000 residents (about 85% of the country) and push its TVEverywhere services to customers via smartphones, smart TVs, tablets and computers.
From North America, Clearbridge Mobile used the Barcelona expo as a showcase for their own suite of TVEverywhere apps. This was the Canadian company’s first appearance at MWC but they’ve been building integrated app solutions for Google ChromeCast and Apple TV and perhaps signaling an interest now in the European market. Another North American import at WMC this year was NeuLion out of San Diego, which was demonstrating their white label end-to-end platform. These last two companies work in very similar spaces to what we do at Booxmedia, which shows that growth companies here in Europe can’t just sit around and wait for the domestic EU market to fall into their laps. There are competitors from other parts of the world working hard to delivery their own products and bring them to market, strong competition for us Europeans.