Director of Media & Digital Content Business Unit, IDATE DigiWorld
The development of connected TV is inextricably bound up with the widespread availability of high-speed Internet access, a shift to more and more individual viewing and the proliferation of smart devices in the home.
Together, these three elements are steadily revolutionising how viewers access their TV programmes, and providing them with an array of new functions and features. TV sets can be connected to the Internet in several ways. Using:
• a smart or connected TV (direct connection, via Ethernet or Wi-Fi),
• a connected set-top box,
• a streaming box or stick,a connected game console,
• or a smart Blu-ray player.
In 2015, almost three-quarters of the televisions being shipped are Smart TVs, even if their owners may not systematically take advantage of the Internet connection. At the same time, the market for streaming devices – whose main purpose is to play online videos – is progressing rapidly. Within this market that is still populated by a great many solutions and services, several trends are taking shape:
• the way users access and employ connected TV services has become more simple, and shifted from Internet-centric to video-centric;
• managing connectivity with users’ personal devices has become a key issue, with app systems playing an increasingly central role;
• OTT services are moving to the TV and making real strides;
Technological progress in a variety of areas is helping to bolster the market’s development, be it the growing ubiquity of broadband and superfast broadband access in the consumer market, major improvements in video optimisation and compression (HEVC), or the advent of innovative features such as casting which allows users to send video content from a personal device to the television. The main stakeholders in the connected TV ecosystem can be broken down into three categories, based on their original sector of activity: consumer electronics (CE) companies, TV market players and the Internet’s leaders.
• CE industry players are working to improve their software interfaces, either through dedicated developments such as Samsung has done with Tizen, or by acquiring another company, as LG has done with WebOS. The aim is to capture the added-value in the marketplace, whether in the arena of services and/or by selling high-end devices.
• Players from the TV universe are developing their OTT products, and working to bolster their position on the software side of the equation with more open and hybrid platforms. The connected TV could enable them to renew ties with consumers, and better monetise their plans. Broadcasters and pay-TV providers, especially in the United States, are therefore starting to roll out complete OTT plans which include a live component
• Lastly, companies such as Google, Amazon, Facebook and Microsoft that dominate the Internet, are very knowledgeable about software, and changing consumer habits. So they are in the best position to deliver a top-notch user experience, whether in terms of smooth and intuitive interfaces, or providing recommendations based on user data. Their increasingly vertical positioning – covering everything from the content to the device – is also bolstering their potential to capture a growing portion of the video entertainment market.
In this way, many scenarios are emerging for Connected TV to 2025, and will determine which industries are likely to increase their control over this environment:
The size of the OTT video market will vary considerably under these scenarios, depending on how the environment evolves and so which industries prevail, and The popularity of the different devices will also evolve along the same lines.
For the publication of the 16th edition of the DigiWorld Yearbook (pre-order now), IDATE is organizing a conference based on the detailed analysis of the current situations and some forecasts by IDATE experts on the major digital sectors, the discussion will deal with the great trends and challenges that will disrupt the digital markets by 2025.
Florence Le Borgne
Head of the TV & Digital content Practice, IDATE.
Electronic distribution poised to become the mainstay
More and more content is being distributed electronically. If music and video are no doubt the two sectors where digital consumption is the most visible, this phenomenon has pervaded the entire content sector. Video games top the ranks of content that has moved most massively to the Internet and electronic distribution, followed by music, video and, well behind them, books.
In 2013, an estimated 51.4% of video game market revenue was generated by electronic sales – i.e. on smartphones, computers, home consoles and laptops connected to the Web – and by online gaming, which includes item selling, subscriptions and commissions on exchange operations. This figure is forecast to have risen to 68.6% by 2017.
In the recorded music sector, electronic sales are expected to account for 38.4% of total sales in 2013 while, over in the video sector, electronic sales and rentals are expected to represent 33.8% of total sales last year. We predict these figures will have increased to 53.6% and 52.2%, respectively, by 2017.
The book sector, meanwhile, has only recently started making the transition to electronic formats. In Europe, for instance, e-book sales will likely account for only 4.5% of total sales in 2013. But the swift rise of tablet penetration rates in households, which of course makes reading electronic books easy, means that e-books could account for as much as 21% of total book sales in Europe in 2017.
The rise of digital starting to offset the decline of the hard copy
Even though digital is widely associated with the destruction of revenue – the music market lost 40% of its revenue between 1999 and 2012, and the video market lost 13% between 2006 and 2012, after having increased by a factor of 3.8 between 2000 and 2006 – we are seeing a growing number of signs that the markets are becoming more stable.
After hitting a record low in 2010, the recorded music market enjoyed a slight recovery worldwide in 2011 and 2012, which will likely carry on through 2013. This has been due in part to a slower rate of decrease in hard copy sales, and to a steadier rate of increase in revenue from digital sales – including downloads, subscriptions, and ad revenue on music sites.
We are also seeing encouraging signs in the video market. The US market has been reporting growth for two years straight (+0.2% in 2012 and +0.7% in 2013), thanks to a steady rise in permanent download sales (+47.1% in 2013), which topped the 1 billion USD mark for the first time last year. The UK market is enjoying the same momentum, reporting 0.5% growth in 2013, thanks to a very healthy increase in digital sales (+40.2%) and a 10% rise in spending on Blu-ray.
The book market in France, where e-books accounted for only 4.4% of sales in 2013, is starting to lose ground (-1.2% in 2012 and -1.3% in 2013), whereas Britain’s book market continues to grow – by 4.9% and 2.5%, respectively, during those two years – despite a decline in printed books sales: -4.7% in 2012 and -5.5% in 2013. The fact that the UK’s e-book and audiobook market kicked off earlier than it did in France, has meant both more readers who have adopted these formats, and a high rate of digitisation for the works themselves (27.5% in 2013). The rise in e-book sales is thus offsetting ailing print edition sales.
Although it is still too early to conclude that digital will open up new growth avenues for the content market, these positive signs in a globally dismal economy do offer some rays of hope.