Interxion’s 2014 UK digital media predictions

2013 proved to be a year of rapid technology advancement in online video and the next five years will only further drive that momentum. We’ll see video bringing an even faster, easier and more reliable viewing experience for consumers, with fibre to the home and WiFi as the prime delivery mechanism. They’ll also benefit from an enhanced, simple user interface that will enable access to a variety of content on multiple screens and chosen Video on Demand (VOD) services, to name but a few luxuries. Getting to this level of service delivery, however, is causing significant changes in content production, content management and distribution technology and processes that need to be looked at next year, as 2014 will be pivotal in the development of this space. Julian Wheeler, strategy and marketing director, digital media, is at the helm of the new digital/video paradigm and knows that a solid architecture is key for operators and broadcasters to get to the next level of offering low-latency, high quality video, not to mention VOD services that will help them compete with OTT Pure Plays. So what’s next? Julian looks at what’s ahead and predicts an exciting new stage for the UK industry in 2014.

2014 UK Predictions:

1)    The rise and rise of online video: 2013 was the year we saw video content take its place on the main stage for business units and consumers everywhere. 2014 will be the year of personalization and engagement – from TV Everywhere to pure play online services video will dominate time online, becoming even more mainstream. We will also see a vast increase in the amount of video in online retail and other online sites as companies and organizations compete for presence in search and overall customer engagement.

2)    The year of measurement and ‘Bigger Data’: While ‘selfie’ may have been crowned the buzzword of 2013, among the technorati ‘Big Data’ was a clear winner. What was lacking? Measurement. As TV Everywhere continues to grow, the next major change will be the measurement of online viewing. 2014 will be the year measurement truly infiltrates the digital realm brining further transparency and personalization to sectors such as advertising and traditional TV. It will become mainstream, more easily comparable and merged with normal viewing measurement. In advertising, if you can’t measure it, you can’t sell it, and multiple changes to TV Everywhere measurement from broadcasters and online platforms measuring their own activity to industry standards such as Nielsen, will drive a significant growth in video advertising online.

3)    Real-time bidding won’t be mainstream….at least not this year: Growth will happen, sceptics will adopt and steps will be taken toward the mass market of RTB based on personalization. With the maturity of video, TV Everywhere and measurement we’ll see more one-to-one advertising channelled correctly and further development of a ‘common currency’ around targeted and personalized advertising. This change will be centralized around geography and timeliness. The larger focus on measurement will drastically impact online spend on video advertising, moving us further toward the mass adoption of RTB in 2015.

4)    Home devices will be ‘content consumption’ hubs: Xbox One and PS4 will have a major impact in how and where content is consumed. While historically viewed as games machines, at-home devices will become fully integrated, cross-platform entertainment hubs – everything from online viewing to gaming, TV viewing to social media, all happening simultaneously. This change of usage will further drive the creation of unique ‘home-grown’ communities and celebrities due to social engagement – e.g. the growing phenomenon with players streaming video of themselves whilst playing will grow, with greater numbers of followers for top players and increasing social media interaction during the gameplay.

5)    Cloud delivery of media-specific solutions will fuel the enterprise: As media solutions and services have matured into software products, 2014 will be the year we see far more solution providers migrating from enterprise solutions to cloud based solutions with the emergence of the online market place for media solutions and services. This trend will also be borne out in other markets as incumbents compete against new entrants to bring cloud based solutions to mass-market.

6)    Complex threats will drive cybersecurity and data needs: In 2014 secure IT service will become even more important to the enterprise. As we move to more cloud based IT, more cloud based delivery of solutions and services and increasing amounts of personal and corporate data held remotely, we will see further growth in cyber-attacks. Companies in 2014 will begin putting cybersecurity higher up on their agendas – both those buying services and those building online products and services.

The explosive growth in demand for all types of premium digital content represents opportunities for digital media companies. It also creates tough challenges for every player in the value chain. Consumers want access to any content, anywhere, anytime and on the device of their choosing. They expect the quality and the experience to be faultless. This means that the performance of online infrastructure cannot be compromised. 2014 signals a move towards infrastructure being even more robust, resilient and delivering consistent high performance. It needs to be scalable, with redundant connectivity to ensure optimum performance for increasingly real-time and latency-sensitive entertainment services in order to keep up with the changing times. High performance and connectivity will be the name of the game in 2014.