Dominic De Lorenzo is VP Product at Massive Interactive.
By Dominic De Lorenzo
The digital entertainment universe is growing at an unrelenting pace. Business Insider recently highlighted a report from BI Intelligence that suggested the Asia-Pacific region could have up to 158 million subscription video-on-demand (SvoD) subscribers by 2021. With China and emerging Asian economies representing nearly two-thirds (63%) of global economic growth, this figure is highly realistic.
We’re seeing countless examples of tens and hundreds of millions of dollars being spent on individual, new and original high-quality TV series, and Netflix purportedly spending US$1 billion this year alone on its technology and platform. This is all great news for viewers and is shaping a bright future for the rest of the industry.
However, in a world where many video service providers have similar content, how do they stand out? Even if their video content is unique, how do they adapt to today’s unquestionable market and competitive pressures?
At Massive, we’re fairly confident the key to standing out is powerful user interface (UI) technology that provides the ability to adapt end-user experience (UX) through targeting, testing, upselling, curating content, changing presentation and more.
The tools used by internal schedulers and editors to create dynamic UIs and customer experiences are more imperative than ever for over-the-top (OTT) operators as they energetically compete for viewers and revenue. Tier-one clients now demand a proven software platform on which to base their UI and apps, which, in principle, is the root of their offering.
Being able to arrange the most appropriate pieces of video content within an optimised UI to audience segments based on inbound user data and analytics in real time should now be a standard requirement, not a luxury.
In a busy shop, getting goods to the optimal positions on shelves – at the best time and right price – based on which products are selling rapidly or slowly is important. It’s also imperative to present special promotions at the end of aisles and at the registers for impulse purchases. All of these strategies generate elevated revenues for brands and vendors alike. We don’t think video services should be any different.
Evidently a key difference between video merchandising and physical shop merchandising is the incomparable levels of personalisation and targeted audience segmentation made possible through data, analytics and other new customer experience software products. As more of the app function and logic moves from the device to the server, the potential for personalisation of UX is endless.
It’s a given that OTT operators in the Asia-Pacific region must procure the essential back-end pieces of their product platform from the numerous capable vendors of CDN, storage, transcoding/encoding, CMS, streaming and player technologies. However, the focus of operators has changed to the daily, hourly, control and management of the UI that their subscribers or viewers use to engage with content.
DAZN, the world’s first truly dedicated pure sports Internet TV service launched last August in Japan, has described as a ‘the Netflix of sports’. It uses UI content merchandising technology to optimise the delivery of over 8,000 live events annually to its fans across multiple connected devices. This same technology has enabled Sony Pictures Television to distribute anime content in its online streaming service ANIMAX throughout Japan.
To this day, there are too many vendors still offering solutions that deliver disparate, static apps for multiple devices deprived of centralised merchandising and downstream integration with other third parties. More than ever, companies in the business of selling video entertainment need a robust UI merchandising platform in order to compete.