According to ABI Research, 2020 will represent a step toward a future where more OTT content goes direct-to-consumer (DTC) and video on demand (VOD) reaches 900 million subscriptions worldwide. 5G fixed wireless is expected to grow as well, but 8K video is still a ways out, ABI says.
"In 2020, more and more consumers will be moving away from the forced packaging of channels into fixed bundles. As the content landscape becomes more fragmented and consumers are presented with a growing list of options, the ability to pick and choose which 'channels' of content best fit their needs will only become increasingly more important," said Michael Inouye, Video and Cloud Services principal analyst at ABI.
The growing move among content owners to DTC is creating a more challenging market for virtual multichannel video programming distributors (vMVPDs). As a result, subscriber bases in some of the services have slowed, if not declined. The arrival of more DTC services in 2020 is expected to further fragment the content landscape, making it an increasingly crowded space as more services vie for consumers' content budgets.
"Accelerated growth in the 5G fixed wireless access (FWA) will begin in earnest in 2020, which is great news for consumers," said Khin Sandi Lynn, Video & Cloud Services analyst at ABI.
For capacity provided by 5G, 5G FWA garners high interest from operators to replace last-mile fiber connectivity for residential broadband services. This allows greater service coverage and improved network delivery for customers served. While there are still barriers to adoption, similar to traditional 5G (infrastructure is expensive and time-consuming to scale), many other operators and equipment vendors have already been trialing 5G FWA deployment across different regions.
"Qualcomm's recent announcement of 5G FWA partnerships, with more than 30 OEMs and ongoing spectrum acquisitions by operators, indicates that the ecosystem is getting ready to speed up the rate of deployment," Lynn said.
"Announcements of 8K television (TV) sets by major vendors earlier in 2019 attracted much attention and raised many of questions within the industry," said Lynn. "The fact is, 8K content is not available, and the price of 8K TV sets are exorbitant. The transition from high definition to 4K will continue in 2020 with very limited 8K shipments - less than 1 million worldwide."