Technology & Innovation

The long view on broadcast tech

By Francesco Moretti, Deputy CEO, Fincons Group
Technology & Innovation
Published: 7 June 2017

The value of OTT subscriptions in Europe currently stands at €4.2 billion and is expected to double to €8.1 billion by 2021 (Rethink Technology) indicating that the broadcast and media world is right to increasingly turn its attention to non-traditional TV viewers, but will broadcasters be able to keep up with the pace of technology and be adaptable enough to respond to the rapidly changing market?

At Fincons Group we believe that future-proof OTT provision will need to include or easily integrate with the following user engagement and advertising technologies:

1. Virtual and immersive reality
For the time being, the virtual and immersive reality goggles and headsets being developed are mainly suited to gaming, while broadcast is focusing more on 360° video which is a type of immersive video that allows users to feel they are entering a specific environment and to navigate it.

2. Object based video (OBV)
Object based video and object based broadcast, on the other hand, allow content to be broadcast on second screen devices in the form of interactive, personalised, web-enabled graphics over the top of a live broadcast to mobile devices, set-top boxes, and VR headsets.

3. Multimodal: Gesture control
In the broadcast & media market, developments are focusing around interfaces that enable viewers to interact with their TV through sound: by speaking basic key words for example, viewers trigger a multimodal TV interface to offer the latest episode of their favourite series.

A further frontier in the gesture recognition front will be identifying viewers by devices carried or worn and using expression recognition.

4. The connected home
Looking even further ahead, we are starting to see some tentative innovation in home entertainment in the connected home environment.

There are solutions for example that allows audio and video to be distributed to various devices without the need for a rack or fixed disc. This results in seamless viewing throughout the home that can be carried out across a number of different connected devices.

5. Social TV
A recent report shows that 87% of consumers use more than one device at a time: a so-called ‘second screen’. The marketing and advertising engagement potential of these viewers, who can be targeted with tailored content on their second screen as they view, is impressive.

Strictly from an advertising point of view we will be looking at three main areas of development:

1. Dynamic ad replacement
With HbbTV it is now possible for regular TV viewing to be interrupted so that a relevant advert is channelled-in via broadband, or so that an advert that is not interesting to the viewer is swapped for one that is. New developments are going to see the TV set understand whether the viewer sitting in front has changed and swapping the advert programmed with something tailored.

2. Programmatic TV advertising
Based on a bidding system, programmatic TV advertising allows brands to bid for high-value advertising slots in real-time. This is especially effective for example during the finals of important sporting events when the sponsor of the winning team wants to make sure their products really come to the fore-front at a time when their team is shedding a positive light by doing well.

3. Interactive advertising
Through the use of buttons on their remote, users can interact with their TV requesting vouchers, playing branded games or taking part in competitions for example. Interaction with second screens is likely to further drive interactive advertising with specific actions being driven to and from another screen.

Finally, it’s clear that the panorama of emerging technologies is expanding very rapidly and broadcasters need to keep up with innovation and navigate it wisely to remain competitive. Enlisting the help of experienced partners can help accurately take the pulse of latest developments and identify valuable opportunities for investment.

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