How Innovation Will Shape the North American Pay-TV Market

The North American pay-TV industry is the largest and most mature markets in the world. Service providers in the region are leading the way in introducing next-generation features, including 4K (offered by 25 percent), content recommendations (35 percent), and voice control (10 percent).

In this advanced and competitive market, pay-TV providers need to continue innovating to maintain the relevance and adapt to intensifying competition. NAGRA, in partnership with MTM, released a market report entitled “The Pay-TV Innovation Landscape in North America” to map the innovations and strategies that will drive the next phase of growth in the industry.

Among some of the key findings are:

  • App-based OTT pay-TV services and Smart Home solutions were stated as the top-two opportunities to drive growth over the next five years.
  • Providers also taking steps to expand their content offerings, including through adding standalone OTT service
  • Service providers are interested in further monetizing their services through advanced advertising and data services

To learn more about the key findings in the report, visit here.

Cable-Tec Expo 2016 Connects with Philadelphia

Philadelphia is home to the 2016 Cable-Tec Expo, taking place September 26-29. The organizers promise energizing days full of learning, exchanging knowledge, and exploring technology exhibits, network with new and familiar industry colleagues at the multitude of breakfast, evening, and live cable challenge events Cable-Tec Expo has to offer.

The numbers stack up; 400 technology exhibitors representing more than 60 countries will attract a lot of footfall at the show.

Visitors can expect technical workshops aligned with the most critical issues on the horizon for the industry with the hot topics for the show being:

  • Delivering Gigabit: Addressing both Fiber and Hybrid Fiber Co-Axial networks.
  • Video Services: The big issue examined here is the impact of IP
  • SDN/NFV: A wide array of workshops on a key industry topic for today

Cable-Tec Expo 2016 is not all hard work. There are the annual International Cable-Tec Games – considered the Olympics of the industry.

Why not let us know what you consider to be the key industry trends this year.

Big Bang! Public Cloud Explodes to $200bn in 2016

If we needed any further evidence of the impact ‘The Cloud’ is having, then look no further than the latest report on the subject from analyst firm Gartner.

Gartner’s 2015 Cloud Adoption Survey identifies the take up is being driven by cloud system infrastructure services currently growing at 43 percent a year, with estimates that cloud services are set to increase to $208.6bn in 2016. This is up from $178bn in 2015.

Why are they growing? Money – specifically the cost savings. Organizations are hailing a 14 percent reduction in budgets as a consequence of adopting public cloud services.

Challenges still remain, however. Market limiters, such as concerns over security and privacy, keep the right foot of adoption hovering over the brake.

How do you feel about using public cloud services?

Fraunhofer Unveils Industry Momentum to Drive Light-Field Technology Adoption

The Fraunhofer IIS Department Moving Picture Technologies, the leading provider of future-oriented solutions for enhanced digital media workflows, is one of the industry leaders in driving widespread development, standardization and adoption of light-field technology. These advances will be pivotal in meeting the demands and challenges of this technology in how we generate and deliver future immersive viewing experiences. 

“Light-field technology is an industry game changer, enabling new, creative possibilities to meet consumers’ expectations for immersive digital cinema and media,” said Dr. Siegfried Foessel, spokesperson, Fraunhofer Digital Media Alliance. “This includes simplifying and enhancing any workflow for processes that combine the real world and CGI, such as 3D or virtual reality (VR). Before professionals can tap into all this technology has to offer, strides must be made.”

Standardization of various components are needed for workflows to truly support light-field technology. In line with the roadmap developed by JPEG and MPEG, Fraunhofer IIS highlights the following initiatives to push light-field technology forward:

The Interoperability of Tools:

The number of companies developing cameras, content and devices for immersive services, such as VR, is growing rapidly. Several technologies are necessary for VR, including image stitching, metadata enrichment and video coding. This leads to an array of different types of formats, coding, delivery mechanisms, 3D projection, metadata or signaling. The result is market fragmentation. Each of these components must be standardized for optimal interoperability.

Light-Field Coding:

Light-field technology enables many special effects, like the Matrix Bullet effect, refocusing or depth-based editing. 3D processing in combination with audio wave field processing allows a much more immersive viewing experience, especially for next-generation cinematic movies. This results in heavy transmission bandwidth requirements, along with the burden of extensive editing and rendering required for 360 degree and 3D viewing for VR. Standardizing coding that will properly compress light-field data will alleviate this burden.

Point Cloud Compression:

Because of the limitation of data points during capturing, point clouds are often sparsely distributed. Point clouds enable 3D representations, allowing new renderings from different viewpoints. Point clouds typically use thousands or up to billions of points to represent scenes that can be realistically reconstructed. They are typically captured using multiple cameras and depth sensors in various setups, but as usual in JPEG and MPEG, acquisition is outside of the scope of the standard. The standards target efficient geometry and attribute compression, scalable/progressive coding, and coding of sequences of point clouds captured over time. The compressed data format must also support random access to subsets of the point cloud.

 For the past five years, Fraunhofer IIS has played a major role in the innovation of light-field technology. Along with developing the first technology for use in moving pictures, Fraunhofer IIS works jointly with and holds leadership positions with relevant standardization groups, including JPEG and MPEG.

The Fraunhofer IIS Department of Moving Picture Technologies is a member of the Fraunhofer Digital Media Alliance. The goal of the Alliance is to provide new technologies and innovations for each step of any digital media or cinema workflow for immersive viewing and audio experiences that enable customers to stay ahead of the market.

 IBC attendees can see a demo of Fraunhofer IIS’ Light-Field Technology at stand 8.B80. Further information is also available at: http://www.iis.fraunhofer.de/en/ff/bsy/tech/lichtfeld.html

Pay-TV Innovation Forum Releases Global learnings from Industry’s Innovation Landscape

NAGRA, a Kudelski Group (SIX:KUD.S) company and the world’s leading independent provider of content protection and multiscreen television solutions, in partnership with MTM, a leading international research and strategy consultancy, today published the global learnings from the Pay-TV Innovation Forum, a comprehensive research programme launched earlier this year which examines the state of pay-TV innovation around the world.

The study confirms that industry participants strongly believe that pay-TV, while still growing worldwide, has entered a period of significant change, creating both challenges and opportunities pay-TV operators. 83 percent of executives state that competition is set to increase dramatically, as pay-TV companies, telcos and OTT service providers compete for subscribers. As a result, innovation is becoming more important and more urgent for the pay-TV industry, with 82 percent of executives considering it to be one of the top three strategic priorities for the industry going forward and 78 percent agreeing that in order to grow, service providers will have to innovate strongly over the next five years.

Looking forward, executives cited strengthening their core pay-TV platform by going beyond traditional services as their main area of opportunity by focusing on multiscreen/TV everywhere services (76 percent), new types of content (74 percent), and new content pricing and packaging strategies (73 percent). Just over half of executives also see opportunities in advance advertising and data (54 percent), as well as standalone OTT services (53 percent).

Identifying opportunities for innovation globally, the research notes that many service providers have already started investing in new growth areas. North American providers, for example, see a significant commercial opportunity in new forms of content that appeal to Millennials and Generation Z such as digital-first short-form content, on-boarding of third-party OTT services, virtual reality, and gaming. Some European and Asia Pacific pay-TV service providers also see value in providing OTT or gaming services on their pay-TV platforms, particularly through partnerships. Only a smaller number of large scale operators currently address business adjacencies such as advanced advertising and Internet of Things (IoT).

The research also identifies four major innovation success factors for the industry including strong customer and market insight, having the right platforms and processes, as well as strategic and collaborative partnerships with best-of-breed technology suppliers and content companies.

“As broadband becomes more ubiquitous in several markets, competition from streaming media platforms intensifies and consumer TV and video journeys evolve, it is clear that the industry needs to innovate at a faster pace to satisfy its customers and remain relevant,” said Simon Trudelle, Senior Product Marketing Director for NAGRA. “Thanks to the work of the Pay-TV Innovation Forum, we now have a global view of the state of innovation around the world and a foundation of key learnings to ensure future success and growth for pay-TV service providers.”

“The pay-TV industry is a global success story,” said Jon Watts, Managing Partner at MTM. “Despite some regional differences, the majority of executives expect to continue innovating around their core pay-TV services, improving user experience and developing new ways to price and package content, bringing new kinds of content onto their TV platforms, and continuing to invest in multiscreen offerings.  The research programme also shows that successful service providers have focused strongly on developing their innovation capabilities, enabling them to adapt to new market conditions.”

For more information on the research or to download a copy of the report, please visit https://dtv.nagra.com/paytvif.

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