Stuart Sikes began the presentation with background information. Visual networking is the concept of social networking converging with video services. These could be across all three screens – the PC, the TV, and the mobile phone. Sikes said that consumer trends point to the blending of social networking and video applications. First, active users of social networks in the U.S. has grown significantly. He presented data from Parks Associates’ Digital Media Habits I and II surveys that indicates that U.S. broadband users who actively use social networks has grown from 27% in 2006 to 40% in 2007.
Social networking can be an important aspect to viral marketing of content – movies, music, and TV shows. People rely on friends and family recommendations significantly for being connected to new sources of content and entertainment. Commercials are the number one source for how people discover content, but the personal recommendations are going to be critical. This will be important for TV service providers as they evolve their electronic program guides to include personal recommendations.
Finally, our TV 2.0 study reveals that visual social networking features – such as the ability to share DVR content with friends and see “most-watched” lists – are important community aspects of the media experience.
Udo Biro, Nokia Siemens Networks - The title of his presentation is “Rich Media Experience: Interest is High … but Evolution is Best.” Rich services expand far beyond traditional TV to meet end consumer demands. NSN is looking at three key elements: Personalization – Basic TV with EPG, VoD, Premium Channels, PVR; Interactivity – Internet on TV; and Community – targeted advertising, connected home (link PC to TV), rich media experience (converged TV solutions – TV, PC, and mobile phones). Consumers are going through a learning curve. NSN is testing chatting over TV. People are interested in the basic things, but it requires and evolution. NSN focusing on rich media experience – anytime, anywhere, on any device. On the Move: Seamless mobile TV (unicast & DVB-H broadcast service convergence) and interactivity and advertising. At home: High-definition IPTV offering a personal TV experience and basic interactive services including voting, betting, and advertising. In consumer tests, PVR and time-shifting viewed as most popular. Basic things are more interesting first, then community services like chat or UGC become interesting. It needs some time to develop. “We need to walk before we run.” Unified and consistent look and feel across devices is very important. Down the road, there will be cross-device interaction.
Stefan Jenzowsky, MoreTV - They offer “smartPVR” services: premium EPG; recommendation engines for PVRs and STBs; remote recordings; and recording assistants; recommendation service trial (since 12/2007) includes the following: viewer profiling, automatic recording; assisted zapping, targeted advertising; and next-generation media recommendation engine based on viewer profiling and collaborative filtering algorithms. Community TV includes buddy recommendations and buddy recordings (up to seven friends and family members can receive these – different laws than in the U.S.). TiVo is probably the closest company to MoreTV. MoreTV is in 250,000 devices – more than Deutsche Telekom has in Germany right now. MoreTV service portfolio includes the following: Smart PVR/Premium EPG; WebTV (“YouTube on the TV”); and Filter Functions. Their roadmap encompasses targeted advertising, sports betting, network-based PVR (nPVR) and virtual PVR (vPVR), community-based TV (recommendations and chat) – believe that recommendations is more important than chatting.
Alx Klive, WorldTV.com - WorldTV.com is a consumer-facing site. It gives consumers tools that were once only available to broadcasters – allow people to create their own TV station including high-definition and full-screen. There are worldwide users in 162 countries. People can be “content curators” in addition to content creators. Additionally, people can pull in content from YouTube. Music and comedy channels are popular, as well as political channels. Two kinds of channels – personal tastes and people trying to replicate the broadcast TV experience. You can pull video in using a Webcam, so people can introduce things like music videos. Partnership with a company called Qik (a live streaming tool) – can send out video to mobile phones. Interesting insights include the following: 70% of people under the age of 24 would like to be able to watch Internet content on their TV; and people don’t want to have just one option for Internet video – not just YouTube. It can’t be a walled garden and needs to be open.
Ashley Norris, Shiny Media - Shiny Media is the UK’s biggest blog network. It is a consultant for digital agency Shiny Red. Currently working on a video-based start-up. They have been successful in building a brand. If you look at the history of online TV, what we had at the beginning was the viral stuff from YouTube, which is throwaway. Then, the BBC iPlayer is a very different experience – a high-quality experience. Shiny has been successful in creating media for an online audience. Beyond an interactive television includes: generation Y (16-24 years old); significant growth of viewers surfing while watching TV/online video and 50% are doing this; integration of communication tools within video players; and development of live streaming tools such as Qik and Kyte.
Fernando Gil de Bernabé, Cisco - Cisco's eight principles for the near future include:
- Most video content will be streamed – important for getting video to any device, including mobile
- The combination of video and Web 2.0 will create a new medium; visual networking. We haven’t really seen the possibilities of how visual networking could impact things like watching sports. Sharing and chatting with other people. Uploading content. Entertainment, education, healthcare all can be impacted. This is more than just “interactive TV.”
- Content will increasingly “find you.” Why can’t system be customized to recommend videos based on past searches or experience? The best way to guess what you are going to watch next is to look at the behaviors of people who have watched similar videos. What do they do next? This will be instrumental in building an engine that will help navigate through the massive amounts of content on the Web.
- Advertising will be targeted and personalized. If advertising could know who you are and your activities, maybe more people will watch it.
- Expectations on broadband quality will increase.
- Fiber or upgraded cable to the masses. People will start demanding this as they see what extremely high-speed networks can deliver in terms of quality and quantity.
- “Web on the go”: contextuality of people, time and place will drive the next wave. People will want to have the same utility that they have in front of their PCs.
- Quality of experience will earn consumer loyalty. How can service providers compete with “over-the-top” eating their lunch? Why can’t telcos brand themselves better in terms of the quality experience?
A New User Experience includes video characteristics (High-definition, Multiple screens, On demand, Immersive/emotional) and social networking characteristics (Communities of content, Communities of people, Personalization, Discovery). 50% of the traffic on the Internet in Europe is video. 60% of all Internet traffic will be video by 2011. Convergence of video and social networking becomes “visual networking.”
Q. When you mention YouTube on the TV…at what point does the operator become the party that gets sued because of copyright infringement?
A. Since WorldTV is merely bookmarking YouTube, they are not hosting the content themselves, so they stay out of trouble.
Q. Are there opportunities for non-traditional players in providing targeted advertising solutions?
A1. There will likely be collaboration, and different players will have roles in targeted VoD advertising.
A2. MoreTV has indications that post-roll advertising may have a role.
Q. Will the consumer pay directly for these visual networking features?
A1 MoreTV: just introduced a most-watched top 10 list. They charge 5 Euros per month for this feature.
A2 Fernando: consumer and telehealth presence. People have proven time and time again that they’re willing to pay for high-quality communications. There will be a combination of user-paid and ad-supported models.
A3 Udo, NSN: if the operator can deliver the seamless and consistent experience across the multiple screens, there is a branding value. Operators can avoid churn – that’s hidden revenue that can be realized.
A4 Ashley, Shiny TV: on the Internet, monetization will be about advertising. Pre-rolls and contextual based advertising. What we’ll see more of is product placement like what Bebo is doing. In terms of televisions moving to connectivity, this could be a huge opportunity. If you can take Internet-like services where people are more likely to pay, then there might be opportunities for monetization.