S05E04: Game of Streams (Let me show you what you want)
Our Media Solution Specialist, Magnus Svensson, is sharing his reflections on the online streaming industry in this post. This is part of a monthly series so make sure to follow us here if you don’t want to miss an episode.
According to a report by accounting and consulting firm Deloitte Playing only 10% of Gen Z said that watching TV and movies was their favorite form of entertainment. Playing video games is the favorite entertainment choice (26%), followed by listening to music (14%).
One reason for this is the lack of user engagement in most services of today. Engagement is king as I wrote about in the last episode. Another reason is the way you discover content and how to find what to watch. The streaming market has from the early days tried different ways with recommendation engines where you get recommendations what to watch based on different criteria and technical implementations.
A better way could be to present the users with more than just recommendations and give the users a curated stream of content without the need of making any choice.
The importance of Curation
I believe that the curated virtual channels that we see for example in the FAST services is an excellent recommendation engine. A lean back way to discover content that would interest you. Think of a radio channel or playlist in one of the music streaming services.
Netflix has realized this and have introduced a couple of features that will give the viewer the lean back discover mechanism. In France, Netflix started testing a new feature that lets subscribers watch a version of the service that looks and feels like a traditional linear TV channel. Called “Netflix Direct” the linear channel, the same for everyone who watches it, gives the viewers some of the best content from the Netflix program library.
Secondly, Netflix is now launching the new “Play Something” feature that by the press of a button automatically suggest new shows and movies. This is a feature that has been tested for quite some time but is now launched globally.
So either a linear channel or preprogrammed stream of shows makes a choice for viewers, or a “Play Something” button will guide viewers to content. You can then either continue to be entertained in this way, or if you really liked something, dig deeper into that within the large catalogue of content.
My recommendation to content owners and SVOD services is to either create your own virtual linear channels or get your content included as part of one of the FAST services.
The Gloves are off
The gloves are off between Roku and Google. Both are strong contenders of owning the TV experience in the home and the latest fight is just one in the line of similar fights we will experience moving forward. Being the “TV experience” and controlling the user and the user data has become the latest battle ground with contenders from device manufactures, smart TV vendors, TV operating systems and to some extent also the larger FAST services. As the TV viewers move towards streaming, so does the ad money.
What has leaked out is that the latest fight between Roku and Google is about the demands from Google to support the AV1 codec and to only show YouTube results when someone perform a voice search from the YouTube app.
When it comes to codec, Google is pushing hardware makers that would like to carry YouTube to support the AV1 codec, an open video codec that will lower the bitrate for high quality content such as 4K video. The interesting thing here is that most streaming devices, including Google’s own Chromecast does not support AV1. Forcing Roku to support AV1 will make the Roku device more expensive and by that lose its advantage over for example Chromecast.
This fight will soon be over as both are heavily dependent on each other. Roku is the device market leader on the north American market, but without YouTube this will be hard to maintain.
To watch out for the coming months…
The distribution rights for NFL Sunday Ticket are still to be determined, and one contender would be Apple and AppleTV+. This would be a good way to drive subscribers to the service, something Apple has not really been successful with so far. It would be interesting to welcome Apple into the sports streaming arena.
Magnus Svensson is a Media Solution Specialist and partner at Eyevinn Technology. Eyevinn Technology is the leading independent consulting company specializing in video technology and media distribution.