By Todd Viegut, Kannuu CEO
Content is king in today’s video-rich world, but he serves at the pleasure of consumers — a truism all service providers must take to heart if they want to remain relevant.
Video viewership as a whole — traditional, linear programming, VOD, OTT, Web, etc., is on the rise. According to Nielsen, the average American consumes nearly 40 hours of video content each week. ComScore reports 210% growth in online video views between 2009 and 2013 (14.8 billion vs. 46 billion), and according to MRG, continued adoption of smart TVs, smartphones, tablets, gaming consoles and other connected devices has fueled more than 66 million subscriptions to streaming video on demand services, pushing the market valuation to a whopping $4.7 billion.
Latest findings from the Ooyala Q3 Global Video Index underscore the continued, strong emergence of multi-screen viewing, noting that since January of 2013, the share of tablet and mobile video plays has shot up 74%, and year-over-year mobile tablet video share has grown 133%.
As measurement firms race to play catch up in providing advertisers with a reliable and meaningful, cross-platform metric that ties together video viewing across all platforms — PayTV, IPTV, mobile, tablet, etc., consumers are way ahead, having already embraced ubiquitous connectivity and multi-screen viewing as a way of life. In a typical day, 77% of TV viewers, according to Google, use another device at the same time.
The bottom line: the volume of video views has never been higher, competition for viewers has never been fiercer, and topping all, consumers have never had greater choice when it comes to what, where and how they’ll watch their video content of choice — presenting service providers across the board with an unprecedented Gordian Knot of obstacle and opportunity.
With video content growing exponentially, smart TVs nearing ubiquity, and watching video on mobile devices now an inalienable right, ‘findability’ is key to consumer satisfaction and service provider success. Period.
Consumers crave instant ‘findability,’ yet the wealth of options before them in terms of content, devices and timing makes finding exactly what they want, when and where they want, frustrating beyond belief.
Given the multitude of devices and diversity of back-end systems and technologies, the enormous metadata associated with digital video content — dynamic, persistent, unstructured (social) — and the convergence of traditional broadcast, VOD and IPTV, it is understandable why service providers (new and old) are struggling mightily (and failing miserably) to provide consumers with a video search and discovery solution that, simply put, makes finding exactly what they want to watch amidst this growing array of choice fast, easy and fun.
Constrained input devices, low-powered hardware, dynamic content, and bandwidth limitations further exacerbate the problem.
But complexity should never spill over into the user experience — which is exactly where search and discovery of video content stands today as providers wrestle to retrofit aged systems, mitigate the challenge of big data, apply business rules and search and recommendation algorithms, and hide all of this technological wizardry behind — dare we say — an eloquent user interface that works seamlessly and consistently across all screens.
Content will always be king, to be sure. And we can expect the creation and competition for quality video content to reach a fever pitch in the months and years ahead — which is good, because it’s what consumers want.
Let’s just not forget that in today’s hyper-competitive market, the race for quality video content cannot be cleaved from the consumers’ desire to easily find it.
Whichever service provider offers the best solution for consolidated search and discovery across multiple video services and devices will own the customer — and a healthy cut of all revenue opportunities associated with that privileged relationship.