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Big screen dominates streaming but VOD challenges lie ahead

Focusing on the delivery of video content and advertising and the evolution of viewer experiences and behaviours, The Future Viewing Experience study outlined the opportunities and challenges for media owners, advertisers and agencies, as well as highlighting the implications for audience measurement.

The report noted that ‘significant’ steps were being taken by providers towards vertical integration in order to define the long-term. Global media owners were seeking to control the entire chain, from production of content to delivery into the home. Kantar The trend could signify a slowdown in content availability. 

This could have a massive impact on the streaming industry when the era of set-top boxes was coming to an end and the battle is on for control of the main video delivery gateway into the home: the connected TV screen itself. 

Despite the plethora of devices available to watch content, the big screen dominated viewers’ consumption. The study found that the smart TV set was now the primary driver of increased usage of connected streaming services such as subscription and broadcast video-on-demand (SVOD, BVOD). Mobile is a well-established and dominant medium across many activities, but when it comes to streaming long-form content, it was all about the best available screen.

Kantar believes that the video market is now entering a new period of hybrid models, with many SVOD and BVOD services moving to both ad-free and ad-supported tiers. However, it cautioned that challenges lie ahead in not cannibalising core offerings and other hurdles are identified and speculated as to whether this approach accelerate us towards a two-tier advertising ecosystem in which those who can afford ad-free environments become ever harder to reach.

As streaming services took a more broadcaster-inspired sequential release approach to flagship originals, what was once an important USP was becoming increasingly uncommon, helping drive buzz and prolong subscriptions. This trend was seeing SVOD services increasingly move away from ‘all at once’ release strategies and was even driving a reappraisal of the role of linear channels to aid content discovery. 

Media companies were seeking a return on their significant investments in intellectual property by promoting franchises and capitalising on global and local fanbases. Kantar noted that the internationalisation of culture and younger audiences’ love of sub-titles was ushering in an era in which local content can go global. it added that critical mass for a global service would be beyond all but a handful of players with extensive intellectual property and that independent production would likely remain significant with smaller and niche players finding value in collaborating with others to compete effectively.

“Whilst many of the trends we’ve identified provide exciting monetisation opportunities and value for the industry, there are also significant challenges and vital decisions ahead for everyone,” said John McCarthy, strategic content director, media division at Kantar commenting on the report. “We hope that The Future Viewing Experience report will help to inform new growth strategies over the coming decade. It is a thought-provoking report and ensures our research, development and investments are correctly aligned to market trends and client needs.” Rapid TV News

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