Post # 8. Content without borders

In this article, you will learn how the multiscreen appeared, who needs it most, and how to use it to compete with streaming services. The main point is that we will tell you how a local operator can acquire this function.


 
When screens multiplied?
 

Before the early noughties, the head of the family was a man with a remote control. So that everyone could watch his or her favourite TV series or shows, the family had to buy a second or even a third TV set. With the home computer’s connection to the Internet and the appearance of the first smartphone in the family, the TV was no longer the centre of attraction. The worldwide web first destroyed its monopoly on information, and then on entertainment content.

In 1975, only 11% of American households had three or more TV sets. By 2015, this had risen to 39% of such households. But do not think that before long every household will have three TV sets. The average number of TV sets per household keeps falling. This is facilitated by the multiscreen. In the US, the average number of TV sets per household decreased from 2.6 in 2009 to 2.3 in 2015.

In 2003, the first 3G networks appeared, which made it possible to watch streaming video using the mobile Internet. In just a few years, a completely new category of viewer was formed. According to Informa Telecoms & Media, by 2008, there were already 320 million 3G users.

The US-based company Sling Media Inc. first caught the wave, and in 2005 released the Slingbox set-top boxes. Thanks to this, content from one’s cable or satellite subscription could be viewed on a laptop, smartphone, or pocket PC anywhere with Internet access.

OTT services kept growing. That same 2005, YouTube appeared, and a year later — Amazon Video. Netflix streaming was launched in 2007. Now, YouTube is actively watched by 1.8 billion people, Amazon Video has 100 million subscribers, while Netflix has 25 million more subscribers than the latter.
 
Who multiscreen users are?
 

The Ericsson ConsumerLab 2017 report identifies six main types of viewers:
 

TV Couch Traditionalists 89% of the time only watch TV
Screen Shifters Switch between TV (31% of the time), smartphone (23%), laptop, tablet, and other devices.
Computer Centrics Watch TV and video on desktop PCs (34% of the time) and laptops (33%)
Mobility Centrics Prefer smartphones (37% of the time), tablets, and laptops
Average TV Joes Mostly watch TV (72% of the time)
TV zero Almost never watch TV or video

 
Most fans are mobile and/or multiscreen users, and ordinary viewers. Together they make up 61% of the TV audience. Traditionalists have become fewer and fewer: according to the Ericsson report, since 2010 their number has declined by 40%, and the number of people using several devices has grown by as much. It is impressive that since 2010, mobile fans have multiplied by three.
 
What excites us about a multiscreen?
 
Over the past decades, the TV industry has experienced several important events. In the 70s, videotape recorders appeared, by the end of the 1990s digital broadcasting and HD standard were widely spread. Finally, in 2005, the revolution was the function of PlaceShift. Since then, viewers can watch TV anywhere, on any device.

80% of VoD viewers watch content at home once a week or more often. At the same time, a third of these viewers do so at least once a month in other places. Popular places are at work, study, on the way to and from work, travel. Those watching videos outside the home are mostly males aged 14 to 34.

The multiscreen gives operators the opportunity to increase the loyalty of old customers and attract new ones. This is particularly so for those who do not habitually watch one TV set and spend most of their lives away from home.

Viewers should have a choice of the devices they will watch their selected content on. Also of the ability to switch conveniently between them. This works not only in the area of television. To solve everyday problems, people use a lot of devices: after reading an email on a smartphone, they may answer it from a computer. They want the same experience from television as well. For example, to pause a mobile video and then continue watching it on a TV set.

According to the Ericsson ConsumerLab, in 2020, a quarter of all video viewings will occur on smartphones. This constitutes a 160% increase over the year 2010. A high level of service and good UX should be on all screens. Client applications for set-top boxes, smart TVs, and mobile devices should also be designed in one style.
 
How to stand up to the giants?
 
Streaming services attract by the fact that they have a lot of content, and you can watch it wherever you have access to the Internet. These companies even compete with major film studios and shoot their productions. Since 2013, Netflix alone has shot more than 700 films and series, and by the end of 2018 it promises to bring this number up to 1000.

Streaming services are restricted in their own countries, so they switched to the whole world. In each new country, their goal is to gain a foothold, and not to destroy local players, and besides, copyright problems impede expansion. In most regions, they have to trim their content libraries. Thus, Netflix published around 6000 films and series in the USA, only 2000 in the UK, and only 113 series and 509 films were added to the Russian catalogue.

Local operators always have something to offer their viewers. Their audience is interested in local news, films, programmes, and Live-TV in general — the things that global services do not have.

The market is full of service providers, but new TV operators still have an opportunity to occupy a niche. But, of course, only if they build a convenient service with good content, multiscreen and timeshifting functions, and also think through the tariff policy.
It is not necessary to become the next Netflix, Amazon Prime, or Hulu. It is enough to reach your loyal audience. Households are increasingly acquiring several subscriptions: from a local operator for the sake of Live TV and news, plus one or more streaming services for the sake of an extensive film and TV series library. In the US, more than 72 million households have subscribed to streaming services, and 63% of them use cable, satellite, or IPTV.

Multiscreen opens new opportunities for the service’s monetisation. Users will be more interested in subscribing to a more expensive but, for them, convenient tariff plan. Moreover, if you establish a suitable advertising model, then with an increase in the number of user screens, there will be more opportunities for ads to make an impression.
 
Multiscreen is also available to you!
 
Amongst the popular ways to turn your service into a multiscreen one is to create your own solution or choose a ready-made platform.

Now, the requirements for platform functionality, speed, and reliability have grown so much that it is not really expedient to develop your Middleware from scratch. This is because labour costs are too high and it involves a long period of development. Increasingly, operators are choosing ready-made solutions. This enables large projects to refine the internal functionality and client interface to suit their needs. And small- and medium-sized projects can quickly install a ready-made solution.

 
How it works on the Ministra TV platform?
 

If your project works on the Ministra TV platform, you can implement multiscreen in just one day. We have simplified this procedure as far as we can. You will need to purchase the License Keys, while viewers will need to install Ministra Player from the application store.
One-time connection fee for the device is $5 or $10 depending on the platform. Free support for MAG set-top boxes.
 

Device platform

One-time connection fee

MAG STB

Free

iOS

$5

Apple TV

Tizen

Roku

Android

Android TV

$10

Android STB

 
Ministra TV platform is distributed free, that is it does not require payments for use and support. You only pay for subscriber adding. The funds saved can be spent on additional promotion of your services. The Licence Keys are used to connect different devices. The Key is tied to the user’s device, but the operator can detach it and tie it to another device. To view the content, your subscribers will need to install the Ministra Player application on their devices. It is available in app stores for iOS, Android, Apple TV and Roku and is also distributed free.

You can launch a project for 100 spectators for only $500.

Multiscreen has ceased to be an attribute of OTT services and large operators. Now, it is available to you!