IBC 2015 kicks off in Amsterdam Sept 10-14, and undoubtedly OTT video will dominate the international conference. Keynoters include AMC/Sundance Channel Global pres Bruce Tuchman, Discovery Networks International pres JB Perrette and Sling TV CEO Roger Lynch. At IBC, “we will hear about sophisticated tools for recommending content, bundling, hyper-personalization and curated content, all as means to better differentiate providers in a crowded market,” predicted Sef Tuma, chief strategy officer for Accenture ’s Media and Entertainment practice . Most of the tools are backed by big data analytics to better segment and target audiences along the “finer characteristics of their background, location, preferred devices, or viewing habits,” he said. Audiences have become much more sophisticated in their tastes with variable viewing habits that are harder for media and entertainment companies and advertisers to pin down, he said, noting companies are applying data analytics across the entire content lifecycle.

Looking ahead, data available to media companies for personalization at scale will be enriched by new devices and sensors, capturing information as specific as eye movements and consumer mood (with the consumer’s permission). Accenture research indicates a strong market demand for a premium streaming experience as operators look to add “broadcast quality” to long-play, online videos. Top factors that encourage viewers to watch long-form video content over the Internet include availability of the most recent content, less advertising interruptions and better video quality. The primary complaint among more than half (51%) of global respondents watching online video was poor Internet service. They complained about buffering, or the time it takes for video to start playing, (33%), and loss of sound or distortions during play (32%).

At the same time, respondents said they would pay for online video service if it included greater content variety, less advertising, and better video quality. “In the end, it’s about broadcast quality and availability with broadband flexibility,” Tuma said. For media and entertainment companies, this means “a smoother 4K streaming experience, richer diversity of established and original content and smarter advertising, all offered within premium subscription packages.” He noted respondents from the study expressed a strong willingness to pay for this premium experience and will gravitate to recognized, established brands over newer digital entrants.

Meanwhile, pay-TV providers will be happy to hear that Accenture research indicates even though viewers are migrating from traditional TV viewing, incumbents still hold an advantage over OTT players like Netflix and Amazon. The advantage will persist as long as incumbents evolve their services to add high-quality OTT service with premium content. “The race to find the next generation aggregator in the digital world is the key,” Tuma said.

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