Could 5G be the answer to the consumer demand for high capacity video delivery in a mobile-centric landscape? 

“We are approaching a perfect storm,” said AWS Elemental Head of Marketing and Business Development EMEA Simon Frost at a recent 5G event in London.

“The media industry is going through an enormous transformation. That transformation is mainly disruption through the internet, new competitors, new entrants and the delivery of video through new devices.”

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5G is about what it does for the industry and the impact it is going to have.

Frost explained the slated period by which 5G should reach initial maturity is set to be 2020. He said: “We all know what is happening in the way we consume TV.”

“The media industry is going through an enormous transformation”

“Media has its own transformation fuelled by IP and other tech accelerators. The hype, the story, the investment, the headlines and the whole story of 5G will only add fuel to the fire of converting an already shifting media industry to IP technologies and mobile-centric consumption. It’s going to make that fire wheel spin faster,” Frost said.

Consumers want it now

Frost noted the Ericsson ConsumerLab TV and Media report of 2016 which stated: “Consumers’ mobile viewing habits thrive with the perception of unlimited video streaming.” The report suggested 40% of consumers want unlimited mobile video outside of their data packs.

He said: “In general terms, we are seeing a gradual shift towards mobile-centric video and mobile-centric viewing.

“Video mobile viewing is up to 4 hours and fixed TV viewing down 2.5 hours [per day]. There is a generational spread; millennials and younger favour tablet and mobile and the older generation are focused on quality of the big screen.”

Content competition on-high-demand

The requirement to capture consumer attention across genres, platforms and content is growing constantly. “From the media’s perspective, no matter if you’re a big player or a small player, if you are providing a pay-TV service the focus has to be on becoming a much more challenging and disruptive environment to please the consumers,” Frost said.

IBC2017 conference session: What Will 5G Mean for media?

Frost explained the mature business of television, that has transformed over notable eras: black and white, analogue, transition to digital and now emerging into the internet era of television. He said: “It is a new era: so much is changing all the time and driving that transformation.”

What’s next?

Streaming video on-demand (SVOD) services have enabled new entrants that have created a disruptive force across the television industry. “It is IP central from a delivery perspective.”

We are seeing huge changes in the value of bundles, smaller bundles that challenges advertising and that advertising dollar is slowly shifting towards online. The monetisation of TV is becoming more and more squeezed. The sector benefiting from this is the content business, ie the production business.

“Technology enables what the media industry can focus on,” Frost said. “Cloud: is the greatest technological change that is now applying itself to the professional, video and media industry. We’ve seen the IP impact and the shift on infrastructure and workflows, the drive to become more agile.”

How does 5G fit the media landscape? “5G solves some of the logical problems. With the new services that are coming, you need faster network and capacity to cover that – but of course who is paying? Where does the money flow for it?” Frost said.

IBC2017 How 5G will drive progress in the broadcasting, media and telecoms industries at the C-Tech Forum: 5G