When I first started working at Accedo, I attended a presentation from our CEO, Michael Lantz, where he stated that “device fragmentation will get worse before it gets better”. I remember thinking, how can it get any worse than it is at the moment? Games consoles and a plethora of various Smart TV’s, all with slightly different OS and platform criteria to meet. That was 10 years ago, before Roku, Android TV, Chromecast and apps on fridges and toasters.
It is clear that we are still in the "get worse" stage with new devices coming to market every year, but will we ever hit the so-called "get better" period? There are many challenges to device fragmentation still remaining in today's OTT market - some of which I would argue are here to stay. Here are 6 reasons why managing these challenges will continue to be key to running a successful OTT service.
According to Statista, the SVOD market is expected to grow a further 52% by 2025. While many consumers still have multiple subscriptions, it is clear that there is a limit to how many they are willing to sign up to. Simply put, the competition for customers’ attention is as tough as ever and there are a number of factors that influence their decision to sign up to a specific service. Content has always been, and will of course remain, important, but platform availability is also key. The more devices a service supports, the greater the chances of attracting new users and retaining those who have already subscribed.
According to Allied Market Research, the global streaming devices market is estimated to reach $18.97 billion by 2027, growing at a CAGR of 13.2% from 2020 to 2027. Statista also agrees there will be considerable growth over the coming years and forecasts device volume to amount to 261.4m pieces by 2027. As the number of devices and operating systems in the market continues to grow, this is even further complicated by the fact that there is so much fragmentation. According to Emergen Research, numerous players account for a significantly large revenue share. This just adds complexity as each provider uses a different format and has different unique requirements across their platforms meaning that vendor certification can be a lengthy process.
The increasingly competitive landscape means it is more important than ever for video service providers to be able to engage and retain users. Understanding your users is fundamental to being able to ensure they are served the right content and user experience to suit their preferences. All video providers have data, but not all are using it for actionable insights. Unfortunately, there is no standardized way to collect and action this reporting across devices. This means that when the service is available across multiple devices, it makes it challenging to reach and measure those audiences holistically.
As consumers continue to expect experiences that are tailored to their individual needs, it will become more important than ever to find a unified way of collecting and analyzing data across devices.
In a world where consumers are presented with an almost never seizing flood of content, the expectations on video services to provide a seamless experience is as high as it has ever been. Users have come to expect a seamless experience across all touchpoints and have little patience for services that are of lesser quality or with a poorly designed user interface. They want to be able to access the same service on multiple devices but have the same intuitive and cohesive user experience. They certainly don’t want to learn a new way to navigate just because they have switched to a different device. Supporting and evolving multiple devices and technologies while providing a high quality of experience is both costly and complex - but crucial in order to stay relevant in an incredibly competitive landscape.
As the video industry continues to rapidly evolve, providers need to be ready to evolve with it. This means a need to continually adapt their video service, adding new platforms, features, and content. It is also more important than ever to offer viewers a personalized and optimized user experience. The complexity of supporting multiple platforms is only heightened in this environment of constant evolution. At the same time, being available on multiple platforms offers an opportunity to better target audiences with personalized content offerings per device and OS type.
According to Statista, advertising makes up around 51% of revenue in the OTT market. However, it is also true that advertisers are increasingly looking for added value and will move adverts to those services that can deliver better ROI. With a service on multiple platforms, advertisers can choose to advertise only on a particular device or operating system, helping to better target those consumers most likely to engage with that ad. Again, doing that in a seamless and intuitive way is not without its challenges but, by extension, can significantly boost a service’s performance and ROI.
The need to adapt or create completely separate applications for each device platform is a reality that is here to stay. So how can OTT providers work to deliver a seamless service across several connected TV platforms? Overcoming the complexity of device fragmentation to develop multi-platform apps is certainly not an easy task but requires extensive knowledge of several technology platforms and their unique requirements and certification processes.
One of the advantages of creating an application user experience identical across many devices is it makes testing much easier. And this is where automation comes in. Replacing manual QA with automation can save a large service hundreds of thousands of $$ per year. But it also helps reduce engineering effort and ensures a service is continually tested in production environments, allowing you to find that defect before a customer does. Accedo has a wealth of experience in automation testing for customers such as NBCU, Deutsche Telekom and Channel 5.
We also have solutions to help do much of the groundwork, ensuring a quick time to market by using an established architecture that is simple to integrate, customize, and extend as required. We can reduce the complexity of managing device fragmentation and an often-lengthy vendor certification process, allowing customers to focus their efforts on content creation and bottom-line revenue growth.