By Shaun Pope
OTTCon East was buzzing with energy and excitement last week. The show was brimming with OTT innovators and vendors, as well as telcos, content producers and broadcasters—all searching for answers to some of the industry’s biggest questions.
So what were they saying? Here’s a look at some of the top points of discussion:
Timing (Connected TV). There was a lot of debate on when all this OTT content and interactive TV technology would actually become commercially available to the consumer in a seamless home-viewing experience.
Some said it would be 5 to 8 years, while others argued it’s already here. From my point of view, the “here now” crowd is really saying the technology is available now, but the market and the service providers that control it are moving at a slower pace. Question is: How long can incumbent SP’s hold back the flood?
Consumers. Many are betting on the next wave of consumers. It was interesting to hear several speakers talk about “cord cutters” almost as if they needed to reassure themselves that the trend is real. Unfortunately, it’s not (at the moment, see: http://shar.es/miuNY).
Point being, many in the space are making wide, generalized assumptions on both market trends and shifts in consumer behavior (e.g., some making the point that the expectations and content consumption habits of the 18-24 crowd will eventually lead to explosive adoption of pure OTT video services as those consumers move into adulthood).
I’m not saying they’re wrong—just pointing out that many are stating it as fact when it’s actually only prediction.
Google TV. With the recent announcement of the Google/Sony/DISH/Intel (aka Google TV) solution, many were asking if this was a positive or negative development in the OTT space. Will Google dominate the market, or will it accelerate it to the benefit of multiple OTT players?
From the show, however, one thing is clear. The time is now for telcos, content producers and broadcasters to forge the right alliances and go for that long-term win.