By Alessandro Ferrari and Laura Borelli
As we approach 2020, changes in the media landscape are accelerating at an unrelenting pace. The way consumers access their entertainment has come a long way from the traditional linear television and evolution is not taking any break. Factors such as AI and new technologies, as well as the expanding internet connectivity and broadband infrastructure will be playing a major role in the definition of the media sector in the upcoming year.
- The growth of “Streaming wars”, targeted media services and AI
According to the data highlighted by the Internet Media Observatory of the University of Milan (Politecnico), in the past year Italian citizens that chose subscription video on-demand (“SVOD”) services have gone from 8% to 19%, reaching around 7.6 million subscribers in 2019.
In response to consumers’ growing interest to such type of online entertainment, many traditional media companies have decided to hit the market and operate next to (or it would be better to say against) industry pioneers. As we enter 2020, it is clear that the growth of video streaming services will continue to explode.
Within this context, much has been written about the possibility that the proliferation of subscription-funded services will lead consumers to experience a “subscription fatigue”, that is to say the frustration with the hassles and cost of managing multiple video subscription.
The key for success within these “streaming wars” will be the creation of highly customized and high-quality packages of contents, which may also grant consumers the possibility to access to music streaming and games in addition to video.
Moreover – within this framework – free, ad-supported platforms will find their way to viewers on internet-connected televisions, either in offers concerning ad-supported services alone or also combined with subscription services.
Finally, a main role in the “streaming wars” will be played by AI technologies implemented to support consumers. Some video streaming providers are already using AI to customize services for users, but soon more advanced AI technologies will be implemented to conduct highly accurate assessments to suggest hyper-personalized contents.
Therefore, we expect that in the near future the media sector will face a transition from subscription-funded services as we know them to more complex and targeted services, which could include a wide array of offerings, from video, music and gaming services, to ad-supported contents, and that AI will play a growing important role in the use of online media platforms.
- The entrance in the 5G era
According to Ministerial Decree of 19 June 2019 – which has been adopted in connection with the switch off of the current DVB-T television standard in favour of the DVB-T2 that will be ultimate by 2022 – Italian television broadcasters will have to free the 700 MHz frequency band to make it available to telephone operators which have been awarded with 5G frequencies for services developed with fifth generation mobile technology.
5G will transform television. If the current 4G network is more than enough to surf the web and access social networks, the same cannot be said in case of access to on-demand contents. Differently, with the implementation of this new ultrafast technology, everyone will be able to access high definition television contents in an extremely fast way and on any kind of device, such as smartphones and tablets. The advent of 5G will bring increased connectivity, lower latency and higher download speed, factors that all together will lead to a wide acceleration of video consumption.
The arrival of 5G will represent a significant chance for new players, as well as for traditional broadcasters if they are able to grasp the benefits that this change will bring. Therefore, we foresee that, over the next months, traditional television broadcasters will make efforts to modernize their business models and try to seize the immense opportunity that 5G will provide.
Experimentation with shoppable formats will speed up in 2020. In particular, although augmented and virtual reality technologies may not have lived up to the initial hype, the media and entertainment industry is now finding ways to integrate them into their applications and services.
An example comes from South Korea, where LG’s South Korean telecoms company has announced the debut of a new shopping app that allows TV viewers to interact with two popular live shopping channels in AR using their smartphones. Specifically, by pointing to their TV screens with their smartphones, consumers can activate a series of branded augmented reality experiences, complete with 3D models, interactive popups, and various other immersive elements. Digital representations of the products being advertised can be rotated and placed in different locations throughout the real-world environment; consumers can then directly purchase items by simply tapping on the AR model.
This technology represents a whole new frontier for shoppable TV, which, as we foresee, will have a consistent impact in the eCommerce landscape. We have no doubt that in 2020 several media channels will experiment their versions of shoppable advertisings.