I attended BroadbandTVCon in Los Angeles on March 3rd-4th, where many different players in the OTT space (OTT platforms, content owners, video producers, etc) gathered to discuss industry trends, best practices, and generally share important industry knowledge. The industry itself is changing and growing drastically, which was very apparent throughout most of the talks, panel discussions, and breakout sessions. I noticed several themes that carried across the different speakers and panels:
Know your audience
This was repeated over and over in many different contexts. Kelly Davis, CDO of Awesomeness TV, discussed what she called the most influential generational cohort in media today, Generation Z. Generation Z are the 2-19 year olds raised with the Internet, cell phones, tablets and YouTube. She mentioned that Awesomeness TV was successful in reaching this young generational cohort by speaking to them in their language, using their YouTube celebrities. As a result, Awesomeness TV was able to release a movie starring an actor unknown to all except for generation Z that became the number one movie on iTunes, even above Guardians of the Galaxy. Applying this lesson to local broadcasters is slightly more difficult, as the data available to local broadcasters to make decisions is very late and based off of a small sample size. This is why we developed Spark Enlight, to help local broadcasters adequately understand their audience. These insights will enable broadcasters to engage with their viewers using the screens they enjoy on new digital platforms enabled by Squeeze 360, our OTT platform for broadcasters.
There is value in linear TV
While many viewers are moving online, there are many viewers still watching linear TV, whether it be through traditional TV or online. Himesh Bhise, CEO of Synacor, mentioned that an average viewer is still viewing 4 hours of live linear TV per day, still a long time in this digital age. And people still feel the need to watch live sports or shows that they want to discuss at the water cooler. Bo Kelleher from Kaltura said that OTT is not just lean back experience, but allows a 360 experience with your brand.We understand this, which is why we wanted to empower local broadcasters to offer an OTT stream of their channel online.
Enabling targeted advertising is vital
Digital video allows advertisers to better target their ads to their actual demographic target, rather than “wasting” ads on people who are unlikely to purchase their products. Felix Gomez from YuMe stated that the more accurate the ad content is targeted, the better the experience for both the advertiser and the viewer. Some may see this as an optimistic view, but I know that I would much rather be served ads that are relevant to my interests as opposed to completely random ads that I don’t care about.
Sadly, a theme I hoped to hear about never really came up. I wanted to hear what other industry players had to say about local broadcasting fitting into this new OTT world, but it’s apparent that local broadcasters aren’t really a focus. Not one of the companies that presented their products nor the people that spoke, made mention of how OTT TV could be used by the local broadcaster, nor did anyone even mention the capabilities that improved measurement gives broadcasters. This neglect demonstrated Sorenson Media’s unique position to move local broadcasting online with Squeeze 360 while empowering it with data heretofore unavailable in near real time through Spark Enlight.
Overall, BroadbandTVCon was a great opportunity to discuss the future of OTT TV and online video in general. It will be fascinating to see the trends and products discussed at the conference play out in the real world.