Technology | Media | Telecommunications

Monday, May 27, 2013

Pay-TV Providers Seeking to Regain Lost Momentum

By 2017, two billion mobile phone and media tablet users will watch TV and video on their devices, according to the latest market study by Juniper Research.

This phenomenon is attributed to the growing popularity of short and easily shared video clips, and the increased global uptake of connected mobile devices with faster processors and better displays.

Juniper examined how mobile is increasingly being used as the primary screen for consuming TV and video content among younger demographics, and the seamless integration of streaming services with social networks. They observed that sharing content via smartphones or tablets has become an intuitive experience for many.

Furthermore, the success that many streaming providers such as Netflix, have achieved online has led them to offer truly multi-screen experiences via smartphones and tablets.

This move has begun to affect the pay-TV business, with the threat of consumers reducing or ending their pay-TV services in favor of internet streaming services. However, many pay-TV providers -- such as Sky in the UK -- are fighting back with multi-platform strategies of their own. They're attempting to regain lost momentum in a saturated market.

"We are now seeing companies such as YouTube trialling paid channels to get a slice of the marketplace. This will have incredible repercussions throughout the mobile space given YouTube comes pre-installed on an immense number of devices and the Android platform’s billing options," said Si├ón Rowlands, research analyst at Juniper Research.

However, it remains to be seen whether YouTube will be successful with this new monetization model. In 2011, similar paid channels were launched, some of which didn’t see a sizable enough audience to warrant their continued funding.

Furthermore, YouTube has seen limited success with its movie rental service given the foothold which Apple and the iTunes ecosystem has on renting movies to smartphones and tablets.

A further area which will accelerate the growth in the number of mobile and tablet viewers is the uptake of improved devices. In developing regions, although feature-phones continue to reign, the better quality displays and faster processors means that watching mobile TV and video on a feature-phone is no longer a cumbersome, poor quality experience.

Moreover, in many developing regions, fixed broadband penetration is still very low, whereas the uptake of wireless devices is higher; these two factors in tandem mean that the handset is the only device in certain regions to access video content such as news, sports and music.

Other key findings from the market study include:
  • Western Europe will account for the most users in 2017, viewers in this region will represent over a fifth of the global user-base.
  • The Social TV market is also expected to grow significantly to 2017, as the market matures and key players develop their business models.