By Niklas Björkén and José Somolinos
It’s only a couple of weeks in to 2020 but we’re already seeing signs of things that are set to transform the video industry. Here are six important trends that are bound to make an impact:
In the coming years, we can expect to see a lot of new tech hit the video industry. Super HDR+8K, immersive 360 with multi-cameras and interactive holograms? We might not know what these technologies will be, but we do know for certain that users will consume more data. 5G is set to cater for this demand, with telcos investing heavily to create futureproof networks. We can see 5G bringing the following three things to the video industry:
- Better bandwidth – meaning that people will be able to enjoy immersive new video formats on the go.
- Better latency – making live events more live than ever.
- Better management of multiple connected devices – have you ever been to a sports event and not been able to access internet services from your phone? 5G should improve that, opening up opportunities for new video use cases during events.
While still somewhat in its infancy, AR technologies have the potential to significantly disrupt the video industry in the years to come. We’re still waiting for a wearable AR device that people actually want to wear (and especially look forward to Apple’s and Magic Leap’s offerings). In the meantime, we’re spending our time preparing for AR’s mainstream take-off. There are already thousands of AR capable apps, many of which are very useful.
In the video industry, we’re particularly promoting the use of AR in sport where most events already have the metadata and 3D models needed to make great AR platforms. We have previously worked on second screen AR applications for sports including road cycling and tennis. Going forward, we hope to see this year’s Olympics Games and the Euros inspire rights holders in each country to utilise new technologies to deliver great viewing experiences.
You can also check out our previous blog that outlines how AR will radically change the video experience.
To anyone pre-millennial, vertical video might seem like a strange concept. This stems from the fact that, up until recently, consumers were only watching video on TV. Generation Z is proving that times are changing; they primarily get their content from vertical devices with platforms such as Snapchat and TikTok changing the paradigm.
It’s interesting to see how the industry is adapting to new viewing habits. At CES 2020, Samsung launched its new rotating TV, Sero, with a remote control that can switch its orientation and allows users to enjoy content intended for small screen devices on TV. Chinese dramas are being filmed in vertical today and YouTube has already created its first vertical TV show. When will we see Netflix release its first vertical-only piece of content?
Artificial Intelligence is in the same position now as computers were in the eighties; everyone talks about it, but for the majority of people it seems far beyond their reach. However, the big tech companies are now providing AI as a service. Users don’t need an expensive setup in-house because Google, Microsoft and Amazon, among others, are supplying Machine Learning tools on the cloud, making it more affordable to start a project that incorporates AI.
So what can we do with AI in the video industry? Well, everything. Put simply, Machine Learning can handle two very tangible tasks for us: categorization and prediction. For example, it can be used to categorise actors’ faces so that we know who is in a scene of a show (like Amazon’s X-Ray feature in Prime). It could also be used for prediction by analysing usage patterns of millions of users in order to foretell if they are about to churn.
We certainly think it has a big role to play in sports, as outlined in this blog by Luke Gaydon.
The tech industry has started to embrace ecological sustainability, with companies such as Apple paving the way for recyclable hardware and data centers powered by green energy. Privacy and data protection are other areas of interest in regards to sustainability, with end users becoming more aware of privacy matters. However, large parts of the media industry still need to define their position on these matters. Sustainability links both the end consumer with tech innovation and has a unique role in uncovering, promoting, educating, and distributing information. The media industry is in a leadership position for influencing these kinds of behaviours globally. The question is how it will rise to the challenge in the long-run.
The VOD Wars
We have recently seen a significant shift in the VOD market with original content producers going direct to consumers, and service providers expanding to create their own original content. We are also witnessing an increased number of services that cater to very niche audiences. For example, Hong Kong broadcaster PCCW’s VIU app provides premium Korean dramas to large parts of the Asian, Middle Eastern and African market. Picking a niche market not filled by mainstream providers can be a successful business model and we expect to see the birth of more nicheVOD services going forward.
2020: A Big Year for Video
2020 is undeniably going to be an influential year for content providers; and we’re facing significant changes to how video is being both consumed and delivered. Keeping at the forefront of new technologies is going to be key in delivering high-quality viewing experiences that keep customers engaged with your service. It will be more important than ever to focus on innovation in order to cater to audiences’ expectations and deliver the content people want to see, packaged in the way they want to see it.