Technology | Media | Telecommunications

Monday, September 28, 2009

OTT Innovators Push Incumbents to Evolve

The typical user experience for pay-TV services hasn't changed much over the years. That's all about to change, thanks to much needed innovation from OTT providers. Next-generation Interactive Program Guides (IPG) are finally emerging that help all consumers navigate through a proliferation of video content.

As Internet Content and User Generated Content (UGC) migrate onto TVs and other video-capable devices, IPGs are transforming into Content and Service Discovery Guides (CSDGs), according to the latest market study by In-Stat.

Consumers are embracing a growing array of video options. Consumers demand their choice of display device, content, timing and location. Visionary companies are offering content discovery tools to meet these needs and enable service providers and device manufacturers to offer the best end-user experience.

Two years ago I described my own interpretation of a TV 2.0 user experience. But, the progress has been painfully slow because the incumbents previously had no meaningful competition.

"A truly valuable CSDG will be personalized so that it can automatically limit choices to those that are likely to fit a particular end-user's habits," says Gerry Kaufhold, In-Stat analyst.

"It will also have to be intelligent, to be able to search out new things that fit users' viewing patterns, and it will have to constantly evolve to keep up with new content, products, services, features, functions, and applications."

In-Stat's latest market study found the following:

- The IPG market has three revenue segments: one-time licensing fees, recurring fees to update guide data, and advertising. Recurring program guide fees will approach $850 million by 2013.

- In-Stat identified eighteen types of delivery services that may need to acquire EPG, IPG or CSDG solutions.

- Guides used in complex networked applications will need to be DLNA-compliant to "discover" content from in-home devices, and move it among network devices.

- Among the leading companies referenced in the research are: Adobe, Harris, Microsoft, Move Networks, NDS and Rovi.