Connected Broadcasting and its impact on screen size

Connected broadcasting is undoubtedly changing the TV landscape, but it isn't just replicating existing use-cases on different screens.

Connected Broadcasting is about more than bringing the large-screen to the small-screen, or vice versa.

Connected Broadcasting is about more than bringing the large-screen to the small-screen, or vice versa.

Connected broadcasting is undoubtedly changing the TV landscape, but it isn’t changing it consistently.  Increasingly, connected broadcasting isn’t just about replicating existing use-cases on different screens, and the really successful formulas will make use of different tools at different times.

For example, these graphs tell an interesting story. The first, from Ofcom, shows the different usage patterns across different devices, where large-screen is primarily linear with some on-demand, and small-screen is mostly on-demand with some linear.

Ofcom shows the different usage patterns across different devices

Source: Ofcom, The Communications Market Report, published 7 August 2014

The second, from Ooyala, shows how connected viewing is smoothing out the traditional prime-time viewing peaks, becoming much less concentrated in the morning and evening, as people watch during their daily commute and lunch breaks at work. It also illustrates how connected viewing migrates between devices types during the day.

Ooyala, Global Video Index, Q3 2014

Source: Ooyala, Global Video Index, Q3 2014

What does this mean for successful connected broadcasting strategies?

Firstly, connected broadcasting is about more than bringing the large-screen to the small-screen, or vice versa. Instead we need to take the best bits of the underlying usage modes and translate them across to different screen sizes.

Linear, for example, isn’t just about large-screen. This viewing mode has several key advantages:

  • Time-sensitive content, like sports, news and appointment viewing (i.e. shows that have generated a buzz and which premier on broadcast before on-demand services)
  • Ease of access – sometimes consumers don’t know what they want to watch, and just want the enjoyment of viewing “what’s on”.  This is a reflection of the fact that consumers aren’t always in the mindset of actively searching through on-demand libraries – they want the curated access that EPG schedules bring

Equally, on-demand isn’t just about the small-screen, and this viewing mode also has some key advantages:

  • Convenience – when consumers know specifically what they want to watch, they want to be in control of exactly where and when they watch it, making use of the biggest screen available to them
  • Choice – what linear offers in ease of access, it lacks in depth, and sometimes consumers are in the mood for depth of choice.  Binge viewing to catch up on an old show that your social group is buzzing about is a common example

The challenge for connected broadcasting is to avoid simply replicating broadcast use-cases on IP or imitating VoD-based services, but to distil the inherent benefits of broadcast video into connected viewing modes. 

If well thought through, connected broadcasting can bring the benefits of on-demand to the linear viewing mode, and vice versa.

Connected broadcasting can also bring together the three main TV generations – the free-to-air generation, the pay TV and PVR generation, and the Netflix generation – which until now have been growing increasingly fragmented. This can be achieved by making linear look like on-demand, and on-demand look like linear – and over time increasingly blurring the distinction between them. 

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