Next TV: Appetite for Streaming Video Growing Faster than Industry Can Adapt

Panelists cite ‘anxiety’ but note progress along with the turbulence
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The appetite for streaming content keeps growing, but consumers’ eyes may be bigger than the industry’s stomach, at least at the moment.

That was one of the main takeaways from Wednesday’s panel session “Media Disruption and Opportunities of OTT and Streaming Video” at the Next TV Summit. From user authentication to ad monetization to the future of the set-top box: all of the top-line issues were discussed with a mixture of optimism and caution. The demand is clear, but the supply is fraught with difficult choices, especially for traditional players honoring traditional relationships.

“There’s an anxiety distributors and content companies have about becoming a layer of software on top of the TV experience,” said Scott Rosenberg, VP of business development at Roku.

Moderator Aden Zaman, managing director of media and advertising for Samba TV, kept the discussion moving through various thorny topics, including the viability of the set-top box, sweeping changes in dynamic ad insertion, and the task of keeping fickle consumers in the fold.

“The biggest issue is one of authentication,” argued Tom Sauer, VP of video business and original content development for AT&T U-verse. “When consumers don’t remember assigned email addresses or passwords, that drives calls to our call centers. And that adds to our costs.”

Philippe Steinmetz, director of home and content for Orange Group Marketing North America, said it is interesting to note how commonly people forget their MVPD password for TV Everywhere but easily retain Netflix or other password information. “It’s because you bring a different relationship to those services,” he said.

Once consumers are logged in, there are multiple ways to serve them content, pointed out Neil Katz, VP/editor-in-chief of The Weather Channel Digital Properties. “People come for the weather and then stay and consume other kinds of content,” he said.

Michael Quigley, VP of business development and multiplatform distribution at Turner, said monetization remains a challenging goal that depends on improvements in measurement.

“We are pressing our friends at Nielsen,” he said. “They have said they are going to roll out multiplatform measurement this year, and we applaud them for that. We will applaud even louder when it’s out there and working.”

Katz said data mining is helping improve the “intelligence” of programmatic ad buying. The company’s Weather Effects tool, he said, “helps marketers understand the right buys to make depending on weather patterns.” When it rains, the theory goes, ad dollars could pour.

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