Connected TV Market Taking Off in Europe

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LONDON—The market for connected devices and services is taking off, and it is imperative that pay-TV operators, broadcasters, and online content providers are ready to exploit this new distribution model as a complement to their existing businesses.

That’s the view of Christopher Schouten, senior director of solutions marketing at Irdeto who spoke here today at the Connected TV Summit at RIBA.

Citing Sweden’s Viasat and its success in getting OTT product Viaplay onto LG displays, Schouten said he was starting to see pay-TV operators leverage the connected TV to keep their brand in front of customers and potentially engage and acquire new customers. 

"Operators who have been willing to open their business to non customers either on a free or pay-per-view basis have seen an 80% uptick in traffic," said Schouten. "That tells us that there’s a section of the public who are digital dabblers and who want casual on-demand access to content. Having opened up their business to new market segments, operators need to convert casual users into a predictable revenue stream."

It’s not as simple as taking a brand and porting it to multi-screens, he suggests. "Operators first need to understand their customers and what devices they are embracing. In some markets Apple iPhone may not be the first device. In some markets maybe it’s a games console. So they need to prioritise extremely carefully because each application is a development and marketing cost.

"Since every device has different security profiles and user interfaces effort needs to be concentrated to ensure a consistent user interface," he said. "Apps for devices have to be carefully balanced to take into account an operator’s visual identify and the usability of the UI for the customer to find and use content. If it is too far away from the native user interface of the device, or too far away from customer branded experience of the service provider, it will not appear to be their app."

Schouten also warned that as a precondition to opening up apps across platform content licensing agreement had better be in place.

"You don’t want to end up in court, as some cable companies have in the U.S., by infringing content ownership rights for the iPad," he said. "The right licensing for the right technology is incredibly important."

The other challenge is making sure operators have in place a broadband content management system that is tightly integrated into their existing architecture and can deliver content to any advice effectively and with minimal manual intervention,” he said. Irdeto offers is one such content management system, he claimed.

"Then there’s the security challenge in which every platform being delivered to is different," Schouten said. "Where an STB is relatively easy to secure, an Android device can be tracked because of its openness. Operators should adopt a dynamic, not static, approach to security that is up to the challenge of protecting premium content on open platforms."

Watch for details about our own Connected Home 2011 event, a new satellite event taking place during Streaming Media Europe in October.

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