TVXperience World 2013

I’ll be attending TVXperience World from July 16-17 in New York City.  It’s nice to have a conference on my backdoor.  The conference will examine how multiscreen is influencing the evolution of the TV User Experience. It’s an important issue for telcos, cablecos, broadcasters, content producers, OTT TV providers, as well as the many device and technology vendors looking to where the money really is on the second, third, forth and fifth screen experiences, i.e. your PC, Roku, tablet, phablet, and smartphone (collective noun for the later three being handheld computers).  This weblog has discussed the precarious position OTT TV is moving the whole TV industry over the next 5 years where a tipping point could happen quite disruptively; and shared my family’s experience on moving to OTT TV.

The Keynote session on the first day is going to be interesting with 4 keynotes:

  • Terry Denson, VP Global Strategy, Verizon Communications will be discussing “Championing the Future of Multiscreen Engagement.”  The problem is most of the PayTV providers restrict multiscreen to their premium bundle customers, which simply encourages even more of their customers to move to OTT TV which offers multiscreen inherently.  The PayTV guys need to focus on retention with multiscreen not trying to make money which will only accelerate the arrival of the tipping point.
  • Mitch Feinman, Global Platform Partnerships Director, YouTube will be discussing “Creating a Unique UI Experience for the Consumer”  His focus is actually going to be on gaming, which will be interesting as the YouTube experience has not really evolved beyond its annoyingly ad-supported snackTV format.  The ad sometimes being as long as the snack.
  • Michael Cerda, SVP Product and Technology, VEVO will be discussing “The Role of OTT in Encouraging Multiscreen Relationships.”   Having YouTube and Vevo back to back will be interesting given YouTube confirmed that it has renewed its deal with VEVO. Not only does the deal allow YouTube to keep VEVO’s videos on its site, but it also requires Google to invest in VEVO, the deal is alleged to be worth between $40 million to $50 million and gives Google a 7% stake.
  • Guhan Selvaretnam, SVP Digital Media, Discovery Networks will discuss “Creating New Business Models In An Increasingly Multiplatform Ecosystem.”  The content owners swing between wanting to own the customer relationship to wanting the PayTV providers to manage the messy customer relationship and just give them lots of money.  It will be interesting on where Discovery is on that continuum.

What I found interesting in reviewing the descriptions of the keynotes is the term VoD (Video on Demand) is still used.  For those who’ve moved to purely OTT consumption, watching what you want when you want is simply how TV is, not a specific service.

Through the conference there are a number of interesting sessions including:

  • How the TV UI is evolving, which is becoming critical.  Whenever I use a friend’s Comcast or FiOS TV UI I remain shocked at how slow and clunky it is to find stuff, and how often there’s a $2.99 charge request for something I get included in my Netflix or Amazon on Demand service.
  • Social TV, which I continue to see as more niche than mainstream as TV consumption is more personal, though video (snackTV – cat clips, WTF clips, and NSFW clips) consumption has many social media tools that support it and quality of video experience is not important, rather the quality of discovering it.
  • Increasing Role of The Cloud In Multiscreen Experiences, and one of the keys to OTT TV’s inherent multiscreen anywhere capabilities.
  • The changing relationship between PayTV and OTT TV – here I see some dysfunctional truces, but in the limit its competitive until the whole TV ecosystem is realigned, which is unlikely until a tipping point is reached.
  • T Commerce and DRM in a New Multiscreen Ecosystem.  TV Commerce remains tough, its much easier on the tablet and even phablet compared to the TV.
  • Transmedia Advertising Strategies.  I use my son as an example of the changes in consumption, he’s simply is unable to watch payTV as when the adverts come on he thinks someone has messed with his TV and starts complaining, and after a couple of minutes of this gives up in disgust that his TV show has gone.  While for video clips on YouTube he’s fine.  There’s a spectrum of how we consumer TV and video: from a focused event (Netflix) to a passing distraction (Reddit), and consumption preferences are changing.

Technology is empowering the customer / user, and they are increasingly choosing new and diverse ways of consuming TV and video.  The User Experience will become a decision criteria nearly as important as the service offer, and will increasingly define the service offer to the customer / user.