Who controls the user interface?
IDATE has just released its “Connected TV” market report which explores new connected TV services, how over-the-top (OTT) offers are positioned and analyses the main strategies being employed by key players around the globe – keeping in mind that the user interface will play a critical role in deciding who controls this new market. The report also provides forecasts for key VoD market figures for Europe and the United States up to 2015.
“Up until now, the vast majority of pioneer connected TV developments have involved collaboration between the main types of player that are present in the market, primarily in the form of partnerships between the makers of internet-ready devices and content and service providers,” says Sophie Girieud, Project Manager and a senior consultant at IDATE. “But some CE manufacturers could want to break free of these partnerships and take on the business of aggregating and distributing content and services over the TV set. This is what Sony is already doing by distributing its own Qriocity VoD service over its connected devices.”
Connected TV offers and aggregators
The connected TV market players – i.e. CE manufacturers, internet companies, manufacturers of proprietary internet-ready devices, etc. – are combining the different types of service and interface in a variety of ways, which can be classified into five typical positions.
- "TV+" positioning: centred around classic broadcast TV, this is typically the positioning adopted by free-to-air broadcasters, through initiatives like YouView in the UK (formerly Canvas) and HbbTV on a Europe-wide scale – the goal being to create a closed live + OTT television universe where the broadcast stream is enhanced by, but not competing with, broadband content off the Net.
- "OTT video packages" positioning: these offers generally combine access to premium video services and a “best of” selection of online multimedia entertainment (music, social networking sites, photos, etc.), including a proprietary device that users have to buy or rent. In this segment, national players, such as Roku and Vudu in the United States, are competing with global heavyweight Apple which recently relaunched its Apple TV connected terminal.
- The main function offered by "Connected media centre" solutions is the ability to manage all of the content in the home through a media centre since it can be transferred, accessed and consumed on any screen inside the digital home (TV, computer, mobile, etc.), and this in a transparent and streamlined fashion. But these devices are being bundled more and more with a selection of online content and services, as is the case with the TiVo and, more recently, the Sony Media Player N100.
- Adopted by Yahoo! Connected TV and Samsung Apps, the "TV app store" positioning seeks to carry the app store model over to the TV set for the distribution of internet services. It usually takes the form of a shop that is accessed over the television offering free and for-pay applications, which is open to developers and content providers and where users go to download the services and applications that interest them.
- For players who have adopted a positioning devoted to "Seamless access to all content", the television remains the central entertainment-delivery screen in the home, and is therefore the unified point of access for all digital content, regardless of provenance (broadcast stream, VoD, catch-up TV, Web, etc.). Google TV is a prime example of this strategy.
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