By Daniel Nordberg
VP Content, Opera TV
It’s time for yet another Mipcom. Cannes offers a mix of rain and sunshine, so armed with both sunglasses and umbrellas, the Opera TV team was ready for another exciting year of meeting potential partners. This year’s Mipcom felt like the busiest one I’ve attended to date by far . We had more meetings booked prior to the show than ever before and trying to find a seat for an ad-hoc meeting was out of the question. 2016 is the year where OTT moved into centerstage at Mipcom and few other topics were able to compete for attention; below is a summary of this years hottest trends
SVOD is the new bubble
One trend that clearly stood out is Subscription-VOD (SVOD) with a number of announcements covering consolidations, services shutting down and new ones opening.; Toca Boca is taking a stab at the value proposition of becoming a ‘Netflix for Kids’ by launching their Toca TV on iOS. Jim Packer from Lionsgate spoke about their Comicon HQ, Tribeca Shortlist and Kevin Hart’s LOL as some of their initiatives to target on-demand for niche content. Packer points out that one of the key success factors in launching a successful SVOD service is the curation of content.
Distribution platforms have moved to centerstage
There is no doubt that OTT is on top of everyone’s mind with distribution as a main challenge. Consumers expect to get their content on any device, be it – mobile, tablet, Smart TVs or streaming devices. At the same time the licensing ecosystem is changing. Jack Davidsson from 3Vision pointed out that rights holders are no longer necessarily looking to broadcast as a primary distribution medium to generate viewers. For Opera TV this means we can expect even more interest in our HMTL5 based Connected TV platform for launching apps on Smart TVs, Blu-ray players and set-top boxes. What is clear is that it will take more than just simplifying publishing of content and that the distributors will require the ability to easily build out their apps or content streams, as well as a breadth of platforms so they can immediately gain access to a large audience-base.
VR/AR and 360 will increase in importance
We have all been fascinated by GoPro’s VR videos pioneering fantastic sports videos. At this year’s show, Signal Media showcased their Be-Be-Bears and Magic Lantern kids shows in a VR format, bringing the latest technology into kids programming. At Opera TV we understand the importance of pushing boundaries and challenging limitations. We have incorporated VR into our own offerings by implementing 360 video viewing on the big screen and allowing viewers to have a very unique and personal experience by enabling them to use the remote control for navigation.
Short form has become much more than just YouTube
The emergence of new VOD platforms and websites have increased a demand for short form content to fill their services at the same time the production quality of the short form content has increased. We are seeing an increased demand to use our TV Snap product to create Connected TV apps, giving a longer form viewing experience with short form at the same time getting a wider distribution. Challenges here still lie in the curation of content and ability to retain viewers.
eSports is here to stay
A couple of years ago I met with one of the world’s biggest eSports channels and I remember them telling me that their goal was to be as big as ESPN. At time it felt like ‘mission impossible’ for someone who had no idea what was bubbling under the surface. Judging from the amount of interest in eSports both at Mipcom and Sportel this year there is no longer any doubt in my mind that this is now a huge area for growth.. The popularity among consumers on channels like IGN and MLG deployed through Opera TV clearly gives an indication of where the industry is going, and over the next couple of years we anticipate seeing the eSports industry taking one a bigger role not only at Mipcom and Sportel, but in the industry at large.
Finally, to my daughter’s great pleasure, I managed to catch Pikachu, who was there to promote the new Pokemon Sun and Moon series. Unfortunately the security detail informed me that I could not take this Pikachu home with me – and apparently I had not truly grasped the Pokemon Go game. I realize I still have a lot to learn and many more prizes to catch in our fast moving industry. I look forward to meeting everyone again at Miptv in the fall, and hope to be able to showcase many of our new partners on Opera TV.