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October 17, 2013

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Innovation and Experimentation Are Key to Successful Multi-Network Adoption

 

We gathered some of the smartest, most innovative people in our industry to participate in our premier Multi-network Video CEO Summit earlier this month. During the Summit, executive speakers representing the entire ecosystem – from content owners and operators to technology vendors and delivery networks – demonstrated their willingness to experiment with business models, go-to-market strategies, technologies, and partnerships to fuel the growth and adoption of multi-network services. 

The invitation-only Summit provided a forum for operator and partner CEOs to consider and debate existential business questions about our industry’s multi-network evolution. It was held in Munich, home to our European headquarters, and while the discussions remain confidential, I have summarized the overarching themes of the various panel discussions and presentations.

Technology Impact Predictions Are Always Wrong

Content owners are surprisingly open and experimental when creating and monetizing multi-network formats. Keynote presenter Lorraine Heggessey, Executive Chairman, Boom Pictures and former controller of BBC1, set the tone by explaining what the multi-screen revolution means in the creative sector – particularly for producers of television content. 

She believes we are experiencing an explosion of opportunity – a way of bringing in more viewers or enriching the user experience (UX) with content. She also politely reminded the technologists in the room that almost every prediction about the impact of a new technology has been wrong! Consider the fact that often times new technologies or applications have unintended or “off label” uses (i.e., texting on your mobile phone). Being flexible and open to new use cases they arise is highly advisable.    

Experiences Sell – The Simpler The Better

A much-contested debate focused on the importance of – and responsibility for – UX and quality of service. It was generally agreed that the simpler the offering, the better and that the total experience must be considered from the start of creating or commissioning any program.

The conversation highlighted the importance of being network agnostic and agile. The importance of such characteristics can perhaps be underscored by the rapid migration to hybrid networks and the need to secure content across managed and unmanaged networks and devices.

Finally, we saw broad agreement about the inevitable transition of video delivery networks to IP architectures. However, there was spirited disagreement about the path that will be taken to get to the IP future – and the timing!  Some of us envision transitional hybrid networks, others expect managed IP, and yet another group believes that OTT technologies are ready today to carry premium video services. Flexible and cost-effective solutions, such as cloud services and virtual set-top boxes, were discussed at quite some length

Of course, the CEO Summit wasn’t all shop talk. Our guests enjoyed a thrilling BMW test drive and finished off the event with our traditional Oktoberfest celebration. We received so much positive feedback that we just might have to plan more of these in 2014!

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