The proliferation of SVOD services is leading to a massive increase in the number of apps we need to watch the content we want. Will it still be this way 10 years from today?
I put this question to my panel entitled The ottTV of Tomorrow Show at, appropriately enough, The TV of Tomorrow Show in San Francisco on June 7th. Though generally the panelists seemed to think we were headed out of the “app mess” toward a simpler approach to video consumption on devices, some harsh realities could push any progress beyond the 10-year time horizon.
Ralf Jacob, Chief Revenue Office for Verizon Digital Media Services, started us off on hopeful note, at least from a technical perspective:
“Consolidation is already happening right now. If you end up on a video format that the industry can actually agree on, the amount of apps which are out there and the amount of ways with which you can consume the content will consolidate. It will be more and more like television. You turn it on and you don’t think about it.”
If the technical details can be smoothed over, as Mr. Jacob suggests, this could pave the way to a much simpler experience in finding and watching content. Gerard Kunkel, Media Strategy Advisor at Nautics TV, explained how he saw the consumer interface to video consumption changing once the technical incompatibilities are eliminated.
“Within 10 years it will not be the app mess that we have today. It will be much more of a service-on-demand model…When someone thinks ‘I want that content’ that is available from Fox, or Verizon’s partners, I can search for it in multitude of ways, and then I can get it on-demand. I may have to go through some paywall, but I can get it right then and there.”
Unlike the other panelists, Margaret Czeisler, Chief Strategy Officer at The Wildness, is completely focused on the world of web originals. AwesomenessTV, of which The Wildness is a part, has been very successful at reaching the young. Ms. Czeisler’s experience leads her to believe there is already a good solution at hand that obviates the need for all of the apps:
“The mobile web provides an opportunity to separate out of the confines of iOS and Android stores, which take a huge share of the revenue. All the interactivity and social participation with people live can happen through the mobile web.”
To understand what Ms. Czeisler means I recommend you check out AwesomenessTV in your smartphone’s mobile browser. The experience is great, without the need for a resident app.
At least from the professional sports perspective, there looks to be a huge problem moving away from the app world. Clark Pierce, SVP of TV Everywhere at Fox Sports, brought us firmly back to earth:
“I think there will still be many apps. From a sports standpoint the rights deals go out further than 10 years…if you went to the University of Arizona you have to have one of three apps to track where Arizona will be that particular Saturday. One week they can be on the Pac-12 Network, the next week they’re on Fox, the week after that they’re on ESPN. So that’s three apps right there.”
Notwithstanding the rights issues, the panelists think there is a limit to app proliferation, and that a simpler approach will emerge.
Why it matters
As OVPs continue to launch SVOD services, each is also launching a suite of apps to cover all the devices.
This means consumers must have many video apps in order to watch the video desire on their devices.
Though rights issues could slow progress, over time we will move away from our dependence on apps, towards a simpler approach.