Video Paradox: Scads of Content, but Nothing's On

Nov. 19, 2014
With the increasing amount of video content available to consumers across an array of sources, operators know that the would-be viewer ...
With the increasing amount of video content available to consumers across an array of sources, operators know that the would-be viewer comment, "Nothing's on," really means it just can't be found. Talk, for a while, was of content navigation, which implied better methods for subscribers to locate programs of interest. However, the word on the street is now shifting to what is called content curation. This refers to the selection and presentation of content relevant to a specific consumer.

"Consumers have more choice to access quality content across an array of options," said Jim Anderson, COO of aioTV. "These choices are driving complexity: too many options to select from, experiences to learn, logins to remember, HDMI connections to navigate and remotes to find."

Despite the complexity, online OTT video consumption is accelerating and starting to impact traditional pay TV, Anderson said, pointing to third-quarter cable operator financial statements that showed video subscriber losses. Traditional content providers also are offering more services directly to consumers, with HBO's recent announcement of a stand-alone streaming service being a prime example. "Without action, traditional (operator) franchises are at risk of erosion," Anderson said.

With content curation, the idea is to provide viewers with access across pools and sources of content. This requires a system that can unify QAM and IP delivered content, navigate across HDMI ports, manage multiple service logins, and mix live and VOD content in a seamless experience, Anderson said.

"Multiple sources of content platforms (are merged) into a single experience that subscribers are familiar with," he said. "They view the delivery of IP content and multi-channel content in a unified experience from a single HDMI, adding strategic value to [cable operators'] core video and Internet business."

Big data and analysis allows the concept to be taken another step, by enabling content to be personalized and recommended directly to an individual. "There are opportunities to unify apps/services/multi-channel (and offer) consumers a better way to discover and enjoy video they value most," Anderson said.

The tricky part for operators is that they are not the only ones capable of taking advantage of content curation solutions. Wireless operators, for example, could feasibly use a solution like the aioTV PassBox to effectively "take over the living room" and provide a bundled offering. "They could leverage the (curation) capability, offering a next generation guide that is a beautiful upgrade to existing multi-channel services," Anderson said.

That said, even though content curation could be used to bypass operators, aioTV still views them as in the best position to take charge. "They have a base of subscribers, understand how to operate a recurring operational model, and have core franchises that stand to gain," Anderson said.