LIVE FROM CES 2015: Executives from AT&T, Verizon, Ericsson and IndyCar today discussed the evolving model for content delivery, as customers look to access a range of media from fixed and mobile devices, across a range of networks.
Hans Vestberg, CEO of Ericsson, kicked off the debate by noting: “By 2020, we believe there will be 50 billion connected devices, and 15 billion of them are going to be video enabled. This is the era of personal entertainment, because we are going to see a completely new experience when it comes to live events, how you want to consume, when you want to consume, and where you want to consume content.”
AT&T’s network head John Donovan said that this shift has impacted how the company looks at its networks, fixed and mobile. “The hardest part for us was philosophically, to wake up and say one day, whether you choose to or want to, whether the economics are good, bad, or indifferent, you are in the video delivery business in all of your networks. Over-the-top, underneath, linear, non-linear, whatever it is, you are in it,” he said.
Marni Walden, EVP and president of product and new business innovation at Verizon, said that content providers are seeing new opportunities to connect with customers, especially younger people who are less tied to traditional television models. “I am encouraged by the discussions we are having with our partners, where they see incremental models for new customers, and ways to get to the mobile device,” she said.
From a content provider perspective, Mark Miles, CEO for sport Indycar, said that while new technologies are enabling it to connect to new subscribers, “for us, the big screen still matters”.
“For a sport, all the growth in terms of younger people is driven by the mobile devices, and all the rich content that we can deliver. We still get a bigger audience at the moment, not growing as fast, but a bigger audience from television,” he said.
New technologies such as LTE Broadcast will also bring new opportunities for mobile players to bolster their position in the media sector. Verizon’s Walden said: “The ability to now do multicast, which you will see come out this year, gives us the ability to broadcast live events, whether it is IndyCar, sports, or music, one to many in an efficient way, that is efficient for both Verizon as well as how we charge the consumers.”
But there are still some significant hurdles to overcome. AT&T’s Donovan observed: “Contractually, we may have content rights for linear programming, but then not have those rights when you leave the house. So how do you make it so I can pause on the TV, pick up my tablet, and go to the car, sit in the back seat, and pick up exactly where I left off? The user experience needs work from every dimension.”