Top Takeaways From TV Connect London – OTT is King & STBs Reign


Held on March 18 -20 in Olympia, London and organized by Informa Telecoms & Media, TV Connect ranks among the leading industry events focused on the connected TV environment.

TV Connect 2014 marked the events 1Oth year, and by all accounts it was a great success – bringing together 8,000+ attendees 260+ industry speakers and 200+ vendors representing over 100 countries – all gathered to discuss/debate, shape and grow the connected TV industry.

Kannuu was onsite, taking it all in and meeting with customers (present and prospective), partners and industry influentials to discuss the industry’s most pressing challenge and foremost business imperative; namely, simplifying and the search and discovery experience for consumers in today’s dynamic world of increasingly connected TVs and exploding OTT content.

As expected, topics at TV Connect ran the gamut of competing IP delivery standards to streaming video quality to Cloud TV adoption to new IPTV devices to content monetization, bandwidth challenges, TV everywhere and legislative developments, among other critical issues.

Suffice it to say, the debates where as vibrant as opinions were diverse.

Holding all together was universal consensus that connected TV holds enormous monetary potential, is massively disruptive, hugely in demand, and has fostered a fiercely competitive market.

For a good roundup of news stories coming out of this year’s TV Connect, check out IP&TV News.

OTT is King and STBs Reign

A prominent theme throughout the event was the central role and (perhaps surprising) staying power of Set Top Boxes (STBs) in driving connected TV popularity, as evidenced by the slew of STB-related announcements and Roku 3’s coronation at TV Connect as the ‘Best TV Consumer Device.’

From an historical perspective, variations of the STB go back to rabbit ears, UHF converters, original cable boxes, VCRs, DVD players, DVRs, Blu-ray players, and video game consoles.

In today’s connected TV world (and for the sake of simplicity), by Set Top Box, we mean any device that delivers Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) – particularly popular OTT services like Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, Zulu, Crackle, along with a growing host of additional streaming services.

Driven by OTT’s growing popularity, the STB category is rapidly and radically being redefined by dongles and thumbdrives and other such devices that enable connected TV.

No one wants to be left behind in the ever-expanding OTT market. As smart TVs grapple with the limitations inherent in their proprietary, ‘walled garden’ approach to OTT apps, STBs are rapidly filing the void and satisfying consumer demand.

For their part, Cable TV companies, satellite companies and Pay-TV providers are working mightily to put IP reception capabilities into their next-generation STBs. And for good ($$$) reason.

According to a recent report from Research and Markets, by the end of 2013 a total of 158.2 million households around the globe will have viewed some form of OTT internet TV programming on a connected TV set, and of these, 76.6 million households (234 million individuals) will be viewing OTT internet TV programming on a regular, sustained basis in 2013.

By 2017, Research and Markets reports, the sustained usage viewership will have increased to 373.1 million households or 1,189 million individuals.

Parks Associates reports that more than 50 percent of US broadband households now use paid over-the-top (OTT) video services, either subscription or transaction, and IHS envisions a whopping 20 percent annual growth for the next few years in the sale of over-the-top (OTT) receivers and video players.

Research from The Diffusion Group (TDG) January 2014 study of US broadband consumers found that 63 percent of US broadband households have at least one net-connected television, up from 53 percent at the beginning of 2013. (This includes TVs connected to the Internet either directly as in a smart TV, or indirectly via ancillary net-to-TV STB devices like game consoles, Internet sticks, etc.)

Moreover, TDG predicts that by 2020 the consumption of broadband video — content stored and distributed over an open IP architecture — will surpass the consumption of traditional broadcast TV programming.

According to IHS, the global market for connectable set-top boxes (STBs) is expected to surge by 91 percent from 2012 through 2017. Worldwide shipments of connectable STBs are forecast to rise to 125.6 million units in 2017, up from 65.8 million in 2012, IHS reports.

Furthermore, IHS forecasts a total of 45 percent of all STBs shipped in 2017 will be connectable, up from 26 percent in 2012.

Without question, IPTV/OTT is the most impactful element transforming all aspects of video delivery and the consumption experience of TV, and STBs reign supreme in delivering OTT to the masses.

The Connected TV / Findability Paradox 

Given today’s current, dynamic environment, one thing is certain —  the amount of OTT content is sure to soar in the years ahead, enabled by an ever-increasing amount of TVs connected via STBs.

These exciting developments, for all their promise, also bring into clear relief connected TVs’ greatest challenge.

Namely, the connected TV / Findability paradox. In other words, the difficulty and frustration consumers must face as they search across a growing number of siloed OTT services to quickly and easily find what they want to watch.

Enter Kannuu. Guided by the inviolable rule that with OTT’s popularity growing exponentially and connected TVs nearing ubiquity, ‘Findability’ is the linchpin to consumer satisfaction and service provider success.

Kannuu’s  findability engine intuits in real time what a consumer is searching for, presents ‘aha’ prompts and most importantly, dramatically reduces frustration and time traditionally associated with finding that perfect movie.

Consumers crave instant ‘Findability’, and Kannuu thrills consumers with an experience second to none, providing a single, easy-to-use interface for searching across all OTT services (as well as traditional linear programming).

By breaking through the connected TV / Findability paradox, Kannuu affords service providers boundless opportunity to differentiate their offering, attract and retain consumers, drive extra spend, increase ad revenue, and fully monetize their video assets.

Oh yeah, and being platform agnostic and committed to open standards, the Kannuu search and discovery platform integrates seamlessly with all STBs  and Smart TVs (present and future).

Cheers to all of our friends (old & new) at TV Connect, London!