Zattoo, a German OTT channel streaming service has commissioned market research from TNS Infratest regarding appreciation of the German public about the ability to view TV over the internet. Roughly 50% thinks this is possible, which is a large increase (60%) from the year before.
Trends are strong. 30% already streams to the main screen, VOD mostly but also linear TV like Zattoo is delivering. Online viewing is an important part of TV viewing: 60% is using online viewing, 25% of which is using it almost exclusively.
Here is a nice infographic (translation by UC-Connect):
That’s the question that arises for the future. Will linear TV (channel) watching gradually disappear in favour of on-demand (PVR, VOD, SVOD, online, downloaded etc)? Will broadband be the way to deliver all TV, even linear, despite being “less efficient”?
The conventional wisdom is that change is slow and seldom 100%. Many industry reports suggest that SVOD is simply an “add-on” to payTV. Linear TV is important for many people today, and will be so in the foreseeable future. Here are two reports that provide some insight into where we are heading:
- In the Netherlands linear TV watching is at 40%, though still the most popular category.
- In the UK linear TV viewing stands at 60%.
This might well be due to broader availability of high bandwidth IP over cable, ADSL and fiber connections in the Netherlands, and more focus on traditional terrestrial and satellite broadcast delivery in the UK. But there are also differences in the TV content and distribution industries, and note that also the market research approaches may differ. It is tricky to compare the results; but the differences seem significant.
Linear or non-linear TV watching preferences may be something completely different than broadcast and online delivery, but there surely is a practical connection: non-linear TV needs online bandwidth.
BroadbandTVNews reports on a “new” finding that Consumers like things integrated in their TV. Given the dynamic of streaming (OTT and/or in-Home and/or device-to-device) that is of course a moving target. But not exactly real news. Still: it is a confirmation of what should be generally known in the industry: integrated devices can offer a simpler user experience. The key reasons people like their streaming integrated in the TV is convenience of input-selection and a single remote.
Unfortunately the TDGresearch website offers little additional information.
Despite the widespread availability of inexpensive ancillary TV streaming devices, new TDG research finds that 32% of OTT TV Users prefer having the native connectivity of a smart TV.
Source: Research: viewers prefer smart TVs for OTT
The latest development in the Dutch media landscape is that the Dutch broadcasters are aggregating their OTT and offering live streaming in one online platform. Dutch internet penetration is high. Access speeds are high based on pervasive, cable and decent A/VDSL and also gradually increasingly FTH infrastructure. Netflix took the Netherlands in no time. As part of their TV everywhere offer Ziggo (cable) and KPN (fiber, telecom) already offered streaming content in homes and also outside homes (including over 3&4G networks, as regular data – i.e. not for mainstream watching). KPN also intends to make a network indepedent OTT offer KPN Play.
Not to be outdone and gradually become insignificant the Dutch broadcasters are moving to stream their content online from one aggregated platform called NLZiet indepedent of the network operator. For €8,- a month you can catchup 4000 episodes and without adds and (in the near future) watch live TV from all main and thematic channels. An app is available for iOS and it works with Chromecast and AppleTV. The Android app is in test phase. PC may follow.
With this much emphasis on online distribution and such high high-speed internet penetration one may wonder what the lifetime of DTT in the Netherlands still can be. KPN still operates the PayTV service Digitenne which has been jacked up in price all the time from €7 a month when it started to €14 a month now: this for essentially the basic broadcast channels and no catchup content. It seems that KPN is trying their utmost to move their Digitenne customers onto IPTV or KPN Play and stop DTT. The license is up for renewal in 2017. KPN seems not very eager to invest in DVB-T2 and HD. Dutch public broadcasters are considering to move in; if this would be permitted. There is also a plan to extend the Digitenne license for 3 years (which sounds like an end-of-life construct). KPN is also rumoured to test 4G broadcasting.
Source a.o. BroadbandTVNews: Dutch broadcasters test live OTT streaming
Sadly the EU now has a net neutrality law that only pays lip service to the principle. The loopholes are so big that you can drive a bus through them. A Stanford Law Professor sums it up:
- Fast lanes for copmanies that pay for “specialized services” exception. That can be almost anything….
- Practically full permission to offer free bandwidth for specific services. This is often done by network companies offering their flavour of a content service, creating a non-level playing field for thirs parties.
- (lower priority) traffic classes slowing down even if there is no congestion. E.g. using erratic packet delays to avoid VOIP calls to boost use of expensive voice network provider services. Also encrypted traffic and peer-2-peer will likely suffer.
There may be some opportunity to better define the loopholes. But practice is that the EU telecom companies won this one at the cost of competition and thus at the cost of the end-user.
Let’s end this one with the infamous Aldous Huxley Animal Farm quote: “All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others.“.
Source: The European Parliament just dealt a major blow to net neutrality