Digital TV Business 2018 Outlook and 2019 Predictions

The last year has undoubtedly shown a major transformation in the digital landscape. Increasingly growing globally, the players in the industry continue to innovate and revolutionize, with digital media behemoths and technology giants growing steadily competitive, leaving conventional media companies to tumble as customers continuously step away from traditional TV.

Meanwhile, millennials continue to show evolving viewing habits and behaviors, driving viewing to a different direction particularly to non-linear and multiscreen platforms. As younger and more tech-savvy viewers continue to use a wide array of devices, this has significantly motivated notable changes in technology and paved way for more opportunities in the distribution of video content.

A Retrospective Look at Digital TV in 2018

Streaming Services Continue to Dominate Digital TV Landscape

Over-the-top service providers have been for some time now at the leading edge of the digital transformation of media and entertainment industry, giving rise to a growing range of streaming services and, in turn, rivaling traditional media companies. In fact, while a 2018 study by a media research firm showed that there are still consumers who prefer to pay for cable TV subscriptions, the number of ‘cord-keepers’ has continued to show a downward trend. Additionally, digital media experts reported that viewers are replacing traditional cable packages with streaming services demonstrating a major decrease in the number of subscriptions faster than projected.

In the European OTT market alone, a consolidation among regional broadcasters has been a key theme with the goal of making for an effective competition against global giants

Following this decline is a huge increase in the number of subscriber growth for streaming services including Netflix, leaving at its wake long-established traditional media providers scrambling to catch up. Nevertheless, regional OTT in many markets have given global OTT video providers a challenge in a tug-of-war for viewership. In the European OTT market alone, a consolidation among regional broadcasters has been a key theme with the goal of making for an effective competition against global giants.

Intelligent Ads Still on the Rise

Digital targeted advertising has become more sophisticated over the years and 2018 has particularly shown growth in innovation regarding data analytics and personalization. There had been mixed opinions by industry experts in how this can be ultimately advantageous, with some stating that addressable ads work better with traditional TV and that hyper-targeting ads run the risk of excluding a wider pool of relevant customers in search of a perfect potential consumer.

Technology innovators have been looking at gathering and analyzing data to effectively tailor marketing content based on a user’s physical attributes through facial recognition

Despite that, this has not prevented innovators from employing more advanced methods in collecting data and hyper-targeting ads to deliver customized ad content to a very defined audience across different platforms. In fact, among various factors, technology innovators have been looking at gathering and analyzing data to effectively tailor marketing content based on a user’s physical attributes through facial recognition.

Artificial Intelligence Powered Systems Remain a Trend

One prevalent theme that has been becoming a trend among industry giants is the utilization of virtual digital assistants. As AI-powered systems, such as Siri, have revolutionized technologies by giving them human attributes and, thus, fundamentally changing mobile experience for users, digital and traditional media have also followed suit.

TV operators have employed voice-based search and voice command interaction as a game-changer for user experience where voice control sits prominently alongside, if not takes over, the conventional remote control. Such emerging popularity of voice-based systems has been propelled by the success of devices marketed by digital media leaders Google, Amazon and Microsoft, and as speech recognition technology continues to advance, it seems it’s only a matter of time before it becomes the norm.

Digital Media Trends to Watch Out for in 2019

Connected TV to Become More Prevalent

The momentum connected TV had in 2018 has sparked its acceleration for the year ahead. With the growth of streaming audiences and continued advancements in technology as support, connected TV is poised to become more prevalent and is set to become one of the ever evolving digital media’s landmark avenues. Over the last two years, usage of connected TV has been consistently on the rise reaching over 20%, increasing the number of viewers who use TV for streaming digital content from 11% to 22%. Industry experts have projected that there will be 97.7 million US households, or 194.4 million viewers, with connected TVs by 2020. This has also presented rich advertising opportunities in Europe with connected TV advertising expected to be worth €250m in 2020 for the UK market, €240m in France and €105m in Italy, according to market studies.

Subscription Video on Demand Use Projected to Further Increase

In this fast-paced digital media landscape, consumer viewing behaviors have changed beyond recognition. From what used to be casual viewing habits have evolved into a more complex pattern where viewers are happier to ‘binge-watch’ — consume longer, more elaborate TV and video content that demands more attention. The rise of SVoD use is not showing any signs of slowing down which arguably suggests that the notion of broadcast TV is becoming irrelevant in the near future. A report by Western Europe OTT TV and Video Forecasts claims that the growth in SVoD subscribers is projected to increase by 11 million more in 2019 with some 69.3% of Western European TV households to subscribe to SVoD service by 2023.

Marketing Takes a Turn Towards Artificial Intelligence and Chatbots

In recent years, marketing has been heavily transformed by AI with companies turning away from simple marketing strategies and shifting their focus on making use of this technology, enabling them to reach hypersegmented target audiences in more powerful ways. It is the leading technology where marketers expect the most growth over the next two years.

Bots built into virtual assistants and mobile devices have equipped industry leaders the means to predict customer behaviors and preferences, allowing them to create a highly personalized consumer journey and customer experience for users

A report by Salesforce Research shows that AI is already being used by 51 percent of marketing leaders with more than a quarter of marketers planning to commence utilization of AI this year. Furthermore, AI is tipped to increase economic growth by 1.7% across various industries as well as productivity by 40% or more by 2035, according to a study by Accenture Research and Frontier Economics. Chatbots, powered by AI automation, are presently widely used AI in marketing, which has dramatically reshaped how customers manage their relationship with businesses. In turn, bots built into virtual assistants and mobile devices have equipped industry leaders the means to predict customer behaviors and preferences, allowing them to create a highly personalized consumer journey and customer experience for users.

The digital tv and media landscape has demonstrated progress by leaps and bounds over the last year. With the ever shifting and growing demands of consumers and innovation-driven industry and technology leaders to meet those demands, such growth at this consistently rapid pace promises even further evolution for the years to come.