Television sets that can sense a viewer's mood, voice-controlled channel surfing and tiered payment structures where you pay more for fewer ads. These are some of the possible future scenarios for TV and video viewing.
Advancing into a new broadcasting frontier
Linear, mass viewing television experiences are no longer hitting the mark with many audiences. Consumers now want the same experiences they've come to expect on their smartphones, tablets and personal computers – uninterrupted viewing when and where they want.
To succeed in this fragmented viewing frontier broadcasters and video providers will need to become as nimble and consumer-centric as their digital counterparts. This means embracing data and artificial intelligence as instruments for delivering hyper personalized experiences to viewers.
"The broadcast industry needs to take advantage of more data and insights that allow them to get a more complete and holistic picture of viewer behaviors and experiences. Understanding viewer behavior at a granular level is critical for both broadcasters and advertisers alike," says Mike Chapman, managing director, Accenture Strategy, global lead for media and entertainment strategy.
Turning challenges into opportunities using hyper personalization
An online Accenture Digital Consumer Survey of 26,000 people from 26 countries, reflects a desire for more control over the viewer experience and consumers' need to regulate their exposure to advertisements.
But the survey's real gold is consumers' willingness to purchase a digital video advisor and pay for content. The caveat? Make sure a hyper personalized experience is delivered by leveraging the data you gather from them.
"We see personalization and AI in particular as one of those areas where you can differentiate if you can create an experience that is highly predictive about what a viewer will demand proactively when they turn on a television or video device," says Chapman.
Delivering those personalized experiences via a digital advisor powered by the right data is where the broadcasting industry is headed.
Redefining the viewing experience with digital advisors
While the opening paragraph to this story might sound like a scene from the film "Her" this could one day be the interface through which we humans interact with television or video. If digital advisors can help us manage our calendars, health and fashion choices, why not our viewing selections or how we choose to view? Especially, if it's something consumers want and are willing to pay for.
Accenture's Digital Consumer Survey reveals 70 percent of consumers would find an entertainment advisor useful in meeting their personalized media requirements. Fifty-one percent indicated they would buy one while 36 percent of survey respondents are interested in purchasing some kind of digital voice assistant device. This is consistent with the type of interaction being developed within the industry.
"There are a number of consumer electronic devices out there that are trying to address consumer needs proactively. Voice control seems to be pretty consistent across the types of experiences we're seeing, including Amazon Alexa and Google Home. But you're also starting to see video providers do things with voice control remote control. We believe this is the next frontier of how consumers are going to experience entertainment," says Chapman.
Providers have only dipped their toes in these personalized waters, which means there's opportunity for someone else, such as Samsung, Apple and others, to stake a much bigger claim.
"Taking that tech a step further is where companies can use AI to personalize entertainment advisors, which really could redefine the video experience," says Chapman.
But consumers are only willing to pay for these services if they provide value. They'll even tolerate some degree of advertising if it's targeted and relevant.
Monetization through personalization
The good news for advertisers is over half of the people who answered the Accenture survey would like some advertising if it met their preferences.
How will a broadcaster, working in conjunction with advertisers, be able to do this? One solution is to offer a paid subscription with a tiered advertising structure. Models like this may provide ad-free content that costs a little more, or varying degrees of personalized advertising that progressively reduces the price of the subscription until eventually the content is free but full of ads.
"Advertising with limited interruptions is going to be a model that happens more frequently. You may see lighter ad loads or different types of sponsorships where the advertiser buys the rights to exclusivity. We believe over time providers and consumers alike will be able to understand where there is an equilibrium and make sure the video offering matches the pricing and advertising model," says Chapman.
You can offer the most unique personalized experience, but none of it matters if your audiences' broadband connection isn't up to scratch.
Why connectivity is integral to the viewing experience
The survey also reveals that 86 percent experience poor fixed broadband connections, at least a few times a year, when watching TV shows, movies and videos. Because of this, 52 percent plan to switch to a new fixed broadband provider in the next year.
Widespread dissatisfaction when basic broadband expectations aren't fulfilled is reflected in the statistic that 90-92 percent of consumers get annoyed when they experience poor broadband connections while watching videos.
"Connectivity is integral to the viewing experience whether it's a broadcaster or a video provider," says Chapman.
In the future providing a differentiated and reliable offering could mean video and broadband providers forming mutually beneficial partnerships.
"Video providers could create ecosystems that include broadband providers so these companies have a path into the consumer's home—or wherever the consumer is—regardless of which device they're using. This would also enable an enhanced experience in home and out of home," says Chapman.
The future of television is up for grabs
With all the components in place to deliver a personalized and monetized experience, the opportunity is there for someone to own this space. But first incumbent providers will have to free themselves from the old business model where they controlled what people watched and when. If they don't adapt, new entrants with new business models and new forms of monetization will outflank them.
They must embrace technology, data, innovation, and a customer-centric approach that provides viewers with the personalized video experiences they demand. Anything less won't be tolerated.
"The companies that are able to stitch all these components together in an integrated fashion as well as tie the data and intelligence together to power that experience are going to be the ones that win in the long term," says Chapman.