To view this page ensure that Adobe Flash Player version 11.1.0 or greater is installed.
Ask the experts:
Streaming with Motty Lentzitzky,
In today’s multiscreen world, pay-TV operators are managing their customers’ video streaming experience on an
ever-increasing number of devices, including TVs, PCs, smartphones, and tablets. To compound this issue, viewer
expectations have changed dramatically in recent years. During this Q&A session, Motty Lentzitzky, CEO of
Comigo, explores the current streaming landscape, taking a close look at viewer demands, the challenges facing
operators, and how operators can successfully navigate this rapidly changing and very competitive environment.
What are viewers’ expectations today when it
comes to watching pay-TV content?
According to Adobe, total TV viewing over the Internet
grew by 388 percent in mid-2014 compared with the
same time a year earlier, so it’s clear that television viewers
want content on every screen, but beyond that, they want
exclusive, high-quality content that is personalized to their
interests, preferences, and viewing habits. Therefore, it
is important that operators provide personalized content
recommendations to meet these expectations.
Personalizing the television experience increases viewer
engagement. And we’ve found that when viewers are
engaged with their service, they watch more content,
including paid content like on-demand movies. When
viewers are more engaged with the service they’re also
more exposed to targeted ads and e-commerce offerings.
All of these things can boost revenue for operators.
In addition to personalized content, viewers are also
looking for an interactive television experience that
transcends traditional content such as linear TV and VOD.
Operators can maximize interaction with the TV service
by offering a variety of apps, such as real-time polls, trivia
games, and TV Everywhere capabilities. Of course, the
interactivity must be delivered in an integrated way that
enriches the viewing experience; otherwise viewers might
be turned off if the interactive television is impeding their
ability to watch the television content itself. The apps need
to be complementary to the TV viewing experience, rather
than distracting from it.
Another significant demand is social TV. We’ve seen that
viewers are increasingly tweeting and chatting about
what they’re watching, in addition to looking for content
recommendations from friends. In fact, Nielsen found that
tweets can actually increase a TV program’s rating, so
there needs to be some kind of socialization aspect to the
television service, where viewers can interact with each
other, find out more information about a program they’re
interested in, and follow the show’s actors and actresses
through different social platforms.
56 | KITPLUS - THE TV-BAY MAGAZINE: ISSUE 99 MARCH 2015
What are the key challenges that pay-TV
operators face in delivering a personalized and
interactive streaming experience?
One of the challenges is that the market is becoming
saturated. Viewers have a lot of options today when it
comes to OTT multiscreen services, such as Netflix, Hulu,
LoveFilm, and Amazon Instant streaming, just to name
a few. Pay-TV operators must strengthen their hold in
the home in order to be competitive. Many operators
are turning to multi-tuner PVRs, thin clients, multi-rooms
services, residential gateways, triple and quad-play
support, in addition to enhancing their traditional STB
service, as ways to try and improve upon their service
offering. Outdated middleware implementations are another
concern. Middleware is what drives the entire viewing
experience, including the user interface and any type
of new service the operator wants to launch. When
middleware is outdated, it limits the operators’ ability
to introduce advanced services such as content
recommendation and discovery engines, multiscreen
support, socialization capabilities, targeted ads, apps,
casual games, voice activation, gesture activation, etc.
Operators need a middleware solution that offers flexibility
and total control over their service offerings so they can
introduce new features quickly and affordably.
Finally, I would say multiscreen support is essential! If
operator do not have a platform that enables them to
support new devices and device requirements without
heavy hardware provisioning, that is a real problem.
Aside from providing personalized and
interactive content, what are some other ways
that operators stay ahead of the competition?
Operators need to learn from users’ behavior and
preferences. By taking into account the viewers’ voice with
regards to what kind of content interests them and how
easily it can be discovered, viewers can have an impact on
operators’ offering. For example, as an operator, you may