Emmanuel Gabla, member of the Council and president of the working group “New services and Internet”, went to the United States to from May 7th to last May 11th take the measurement of the evolutions of the audio-visual sector. Connected television is now a tangible reality.
After a first mission in July 2010, Emmanuel Gabla, member of the Council and president of the working group “New services and Internet”, a mission at the United States between the 7 and on May 11th, 2012 carried out, accompanied by François-Xavier Meslon, and futurology director of studies of the Council. This travel aimed to better measure the evolutions concerning the sector of television and the impact of the development of the connected terminals. Within the framework of its work on connected television, the Council indeed wishes to have a better knowledge of the evolution of the uses of the televiewers, to analyze the strategy of the operators and to apprehend the possible obstacles with the development of new models of business.
The program, prepared in connection with the culture sections of the embassy of France, led the representatives of the Council to New York, San Francisco and in Silicon Valley. They met leaders of TV channels (HBO, NBC Universal, Dicovery Communications), an operator telecom (Verizon), actors of Internet (Google, Boxee, Netflix) and persons in charge of structures of technological survey and research and development (Technicolor, Orange Labs, the BNP Paribas Workshop).
Multiplication of new services
Connected television is a tangible phenomenon, which accelerates and can change the unforeseeable audiovisual landscape of manner. The development of very fixed high-speed and mobile (4G), the generalization of new families of terminals (connected television sets, top set box [cases decoders], intelligent game consoles, telephones and shelves) already started to modify in-depth the modes of consumption of television. These terminals give access to a profusion of audio-visual contents in any place and constantly.
One thus assists with the multiplication of new services known as “ over top the ” which, for some, is already largely used:
- 26 million American homes is subscribed at the video service with the Netflix request, which gives access, with the help of a subscription of 7.5 $ per month, with a broad catalogue of films and series. The subscribed hearths use this service on average 29 hours per month;
- Hulu, undertaken codétenue by NBC Universal, Walt Disney Company, News Body and Providence Equity Partners, offers two television services of correction and video on demand, one free and the other paying (Hulu More);
- the chains develop their presence on Internet by proposing a growing number of contents on their site or applications for shelves and game consoles.
A modification of the chain of value
The new uses permitted by the multiplication of the connected terminals can modify the chain of value on all the levels: production of contents until their distribution near the public.
This technological mutation is likely to accelerate the fragmentation of the audiences, while at the same time the duration of daily listening of television remains with an elevated level (4 hours 53 minutes, according to Nielsen). For the paying chains, the distributors (operators of the cable, satellite, Internet access providers) continue to play a central role of referencing and remuneration of the editors (more than 90% of the American homes are subscribed with a paying television offer). This is why the digital strategy of the TV channels remains often careful, trying to arbitrate between the defense of the existing economic model and the need for adapting the offer to the evolution of the modes of consumption of the contents.
An economic model to be built
Vis-a-vis the competition of the actors of Internet, the challenge, for the TV channels, is to preserve their televiewers and their subscribers while continuing to propose strong and new contents (property of the catalogues and protection of the signal) and by improving “the experiment user” by the provision of their contents on the unit of the terminals, accessible constantly (TV Everywhere). The example of service HBO Go, presented during this mission, illustrates this strategy.
Vis-a-vis the abundance of the contents available, the actors of Internet want as well as possible to accompany the televiewer in research by programs answering its waitings. They develop simple interfaces of use, chart in a precise way the catalogues of audio-visual contents and create fine and powerful tools of recommendation.
The potentialities of these tools could be measured at Google TV, Boxee and Technicolor. The respect of the personal data and the private life seems a central objective. The laboratory of Technicolor works on solutions making it possible “to blur” the profile of the users, without to deteriorate the quality of the recommendation.
Lastly, the market evolutions remain dubious: the strategies of the actors are in constant evolution and, especially, the economic model of connected television remains to be built.
The mission of the Council was rich lesson for the reflections undertaken on a scale as well national as European. The Council cordially thanks the culture sections for the embassy of France in the United States and the consulate-general of France with San Francisco for their participation in the organization of this study trip.
Companies and people rencontrées___________________________________
In New York
• HBO : Robert Zitter, Executive Vice President Technology
• Boxee : Executive Avner Ronen , Chief Officer
• NBC Universal :
Glenn Reitmeier, Vice President Advanced Technology
Jennifer Pirot, Vice President DIGITAL Distribution
Emily Powers, Director Business Development
• Discovery : Jean-Briac Perrette, Chief DIGITAL Officer
• Verizon : Chris Boam, Director of International Policy Public & Regulatory Affairs
In San Francisco
• Labs orange : Gabriel Sidhom, Vice President Technology Development
• Google : Vincent Dureau, Head of TV Technology (Google TV)
• Netflix :
Josephine Choy, Counsel Senior, Business & Legal Affairs
TJ Angioletti, General Associate Counsel - Technology & Transactions
• Technicolor : Jean Bolot, Director Research & Technology
• The BNP Paribas workshop : Jérôme Rastoldo, strategic analyst.