The Platform Futures stream will provide insight into the impact of new methods of distribution of content and the changing face of the pay TV industry, writes Bill Scott.


Platform Futures – Aggregation and disaggregation

The future of television will be significantly influenced by platforms of one sort or another. The Platform Futures stream of the IBC2017 Conference seeks to explore how and why this will happen. A traditional broadcaster is a platform, aggregating content into channels.

A pay TV operator is a platform, aggregating channels into bundles. Device manufacturers operate a platform, aggregating applications and channels (do we even need to distinguish between apps and channels anymore?) into their own user experience. Direct-to-consumer OTT services like Netflix, Hayu and Amazon Prime aggregate content into channels, delivered as an app on multiple device platforms. Social networks are increasingly commissioning content, acting as both a route to market and a video destination at the same time. Some of these platforms are enabling consumers to disaggregate formerly bundled services; cord-slicing and cutting.

Social networks are increasingly commissioning content, acting as both a route to market and a video destination at the same time. Some of these platforms are enabling consumers to disaggregate formerly bundled services; cord-slicing and cutting.

The Platform Futures Stream of the IBC2017 Conference explores the influence these platforms will have on the television industry as OTT reaches a tipping point of affordable technology solutions and a critical mass consumer acceptance of direct-to-consumer services. Who? What? Why? How? When?

The programme is split into four half-days, with four different themes:

Thursday 14th September – The Forum – Direct to Consumer

We start the day with an introduction to the world of OTT and Direct to Consumer services from Richard Broughton, Research Director at Ampere Analysis. Richard will look at current initiatives and will make some predictions about who will win.

NBCUniversal’s Hendrik McDermott, SVP Branded on Demand, returns to IBC following the launch of the Hayu unscripted reality SVoD service in 2016. We ask Hendrik how the service has developed, how it has performed and to share some learnings now that the service has matured and now that his team have become more sophisticated in understanding the audience response.

Andy Taylor, CEO and co-founder of Little Dot Studios, will talk about how he has been successfully exploiting YouTube and other social platforms, the advent of the skinny bundle and about what comes next.

We ask two major broadcasters, the UK’s ITV and Channel 4, about how their Direct-to-Consumer services complement their traditional business and finish with an introduction to eSports from Ginx.

Thursday afternoon – The Forum – Integrating Broadcast and Broadband businesses

We start the afternoon by looking at the impact of social networks on television from two different perspectives. First, the social networks themselves are investing in

First, the social networks themselves are investing in video by commissioning and aggregating content and acquiring rights. Just this week, Facebook bid $600m for Indian Premier League Cricket and although the bid was unsuccessful it signals intent.

Second, we look at whether social networks should be used as a route to market or as a video destination for brands and broadcasters alike. Speakers from Viacom, Foxtel and Kantar are joined by Dan Danker from Facebook who follows-up his earlier Keynote presentation to cover these two different angles on social video.

In “Fifty Shades of Pay” we explore the changing face of the Pay TV industry as new competitors and new models of consumption emerge and mature. Speakers from Perform Group, YouView and Google will discuss the range of solutions being tested and launched across the globe - from specialist OTT content producers and excellent local platforms to the new developments of global giants. There are at least 50 Shades of Pay – we will discover which models will stay grey and which will be the new black.

Friday 15th September, morning – Room E102 – Multichannel Broadcasters

After an introduction from Lluis Borrell of Analysis Mason, we kick off the second day of Platform Futures with a look at Innovation vs Stagnation. Speakers from Canada Broadcasting Corp, Viaplay and Digital UK join Lluis on our panel to debate the differences between old and new TV and how different players are responding to change in the TV industry with the aim of plotting an evolutionary timeframe.

We explore “Global vs Regional OTT” services in our next panel, looking at how the big-name global services of Netflix and Amazon compete with regional and niche players.

Speakers from Mubi, Molotov, Eros and Mediaset discuss how they are building business models and finding audiences. How have they designed their services to cut through and provide content with enough value to engage viewers and make a viable business case?

In our final session of Friday morning, we ask “VoD: How hard can it be?”. Is it getting easier or harder to launch an effective VoD service in today’s world? With different organisations marketing services in new and innovative ways, new presentation layers to create across multiple device platforms and app stores, and broadcast quality service being demanded across many different platforms, how does a platform profitably meet the demands of consumers?

Speakers from UK cinema chain Curzon, Crackle (Sony Pictures), Roku and Nagra will explore the different strategies being pursued by different organisations in different markets, and asks what key lessons can be learnt.

Friday afternoon – Room E102 – The Future User Experience

The power of brands is now omnipresent, on every platform, even more powerful than the content itself. But to ensure continued affection across audiences, the experience of the user is paramount.

Debbie James from the UK’s Channel 5 and Fabian Birgfeld of W12 Studios join Ida Olsen (consultant for Sky, BBC, Channel 4 and Crackle) to look at the nuances of the users’ interaction with content and with the brands we build and love. What are the different approaches to the technology used? Is there a better way to improve the current process of content discovery? Can you deliver brand experience in low-bandwidth countries?

Bill scott july 2009

Bill Scott

We then interview Dan Reich, SVP Multiplatform Product Strategy & Development, who leads a new team at Viacom International dedicated to creating multiplatform products for audiences around the world. In this session, he will talk about the importance of understanding how an audience comes to TV, with a focus on what the millennial viewer wants from their TV experience.

To finish the afternoon and the Platform Futures stream for 2017, we ask if the future user experience should be based on mathematics or art? Are platforms evolving into a computer platform aimed at humans, but with no human touch?

Where is the art of curation in a digital world? Arash Pendari, founder of Vionlabs and tech evangelist for UX, takes us on a visual and information driven presentation of User Experience with personalisation at its heart.

Join us to participate and gain a new perspective on the future of platforms and therefore the future of television.

Bill Scott is the COO and co-founder of Easel TV – The multi-screen video software company – as well as the Executive Producer of the Platform Futures stream of the IBC Conference.

Tweet: @BillJScott