May 23, 2016

Don't Leave TV Quality Behind While "Disrupting" Online Video

The cable industry’s annual conference, INTX (The Internet and Television Expo), formerly called “The Cable Show”, took place last week in Boston. Along with keynotes from cable industry luminaries like Comcast CEO Brian Roberts and FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, this year’s event featured many speakers and panelists from outside the cable industry, including media mogul Arianna Huffington, Periscope CEO Kayvon Beykpour and Mashable CEO Pete Cashmore. Verizon Digital Media Services’ president Bob Toohey also participated in a session titled: “Air Power: Strategies and Sensibilities of the New Mobile Video Marketplace.”

The influx of new speakers reflected a much bigger trend at the show: the continuing expansion of TV-Everywhere and OTT offerings as cable consumers demand TV content on their favorite internet devices. Expanding the cable industry’s horizons and working cooperatively with companies driving digital change is definitely a positive. New video business models and online content services have advanced tremendously over the past decade and triggered the start of significant changes in incumbent TV enterprises

Despite the rising popularity of online video, the TV remains the preferred viewing platform. This explains why viewers expect to watch TV-quality content on the internet and why the bar is set high for online platforms. Multichannel TV systems are simply very good at consistently delivering “instant-on” high-quality HD video and audio on an effectively 100 percent uptime basis.

New online content providers are exploring uncharted territory, but cannot lose sight of what really matters: the quality of the experience they are delivering. Instead of focusing on ways to disrupt, successful online content providers will need to adopt best practices to attract and retain happy viewers.

Delivering high-quality video requires top-rank coordination and execution among a variety of technical elements. And that isn’t easy. The vast majority of viewers aren’t aware of the complications involved with online delivery, nor should they have to be. They only care about the experiences being delivered to them. They will notice, however, when internet video takes too long to load, swings up and down in resolution, or is interrupted by frozen screens and spinning icons, which are phenomena that only occur in the online world.

Executing innovative video business models, pioneering search/discovery and offering expansive content libraries online are all great intentions, but fall flat if viewers are questioning why their online experience is still lacking. As an online content provider, your viewers shouldn’t have to choose between your mobile online video service or their “reliable TV.” Your primary focus should be on delivering exceptional online experiences anytime, anywhere.

Colin Dixon, Founder and Chief Analyst, nScreenMedia

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