Crystal ball gazing with Sixty on personalisation, interactivity and disruption in 2019

As the dawn of 2019 draws nearer, SVG Europe chats to Kjetil Horneland, CEO at Sixty, who reflects on the disruptive changes that have occurred within the broadcast and media industry over the last 12 months, and looks forward at how this will impact sports broadcasting into the New Year.

Sixty’s Kjetil Horneland

How will live sports content become more personalised and interactive in line with growing digital consumption over the next 12 months?

In order to keep up with consumer demands and the industry shift towards over the top (OTT) second-screen viewing, broadcasters are constantly looking for ways to maintain and improve audience engagement rates.

One of the ways we will see this demonstrated is through more interactive and personalised content. This is essential for keeping consumers engaged and excited with what they’re viewing. One of the most effective ways this can be achieved is through the development of interactive, ‘viewer clickable’ graphics, which follows the broadcast and includes features such as player stats, live sports updates and interactive quizzes which users can participate in directly on their own screens. It’s all about delivering better viewing experiences on top of what has already been invested in OTT.

Sports broadcasting has for many years seen similar audience interactivity through the rise of social media, with viewers being able to share their thoughts on live matches and games and interact with other viewers. However, these experiences should increasingly become an integrated part of the mobile viewing experience offered to the audience. By personalising digital content, broadcasters can begin to transform the entire user experience.

The use of interactive graphics can enable viewers to tap into these features without having to divert their eyes away from the live match experience. This has the potential to increase viewing duration time substantially and to retain the users in front of the screen.

According to a recent Go-Globe report, now more than 70% of adults are using second screen devices to watch video content, with smartphones being the most popular second screens when watching TV (51%). The biggest attraction to using second screens is to get more information about the show. Still, the challenge today is that the audience has to go elsewhere to find this content. This means that there is huge potential for sports broadcasters to address this need as consumers look beyond ‘one-for-all’ viewing and seek a more personalised experience.

Rather than passively watching a sports match, it’s about gathering all the information these users are looking up and making it available in real time. With these new developments in broadcast, consumers can get more information about their favourite teams, players and leagues through their device, on top of the video stream they are already viewing.

How can interactivity develop to enable new revenue streams in 2019?

Monetisation and targeted advertising have been huge buzz words in the broadcast industry over the past year and with good reason. As traditional linear advertising is stagnating, internet advertising is growing fast, but the broadcast industry still has a long way to go.

All of these trends – personalisation, interactivity and monetisation – work in harmony when developed correctly. When consumers are able to interact with their content, broadcasters gain much more detailed insights into audience viewing habits. This allows them to provide more personalised and contextually relevant ads, providing a better viewing experience for the consumer and maximising monetisation potential for content owners and broadcasters.

With more information being shared online than ever before, advertisers, broadcasters and content owners are being presented with a highly lucrative opportunity to monetise this content; it just needs to be offered in a format where users feel they are getting more value in return.

How will the shift in viewing patterns from linear to on demand disrupt broadcast over the next year?
Certainly, the most disruptive change the broadcast industry has witnessed in 2018 is the speed at which viewers are moving away from linear. In Norway, linear TV viewing dropped by 40% in the age group 30 to 39 from 2017 to 2018 (NRK). Watching TV is simply taking on new forms, as video is consumed across platforms and users are cutting the traditional cable in order to adopt easily available OTT services instead.

The shift towards viewing content on second screens is well documented, whether that be on a mobile phone, tablet or laptop. The Cross-Platform Viewing Time report recently released by IHS Markit found that linear TV viewing time has declined year on year; this is the change the industry is facing.
Still, change also creates new opportunities for the industry. While the aim of first generation TV was to simply watch TV, the second generation was to watch TV wherever the viewer wanted and, on any device available. The next generation will involve a more engaging experience where the viewer interacts with all types of content on their own screen. By creating an individual viewing experience, the viewer participates in a wider media consumption which spans across platforms.

The challenge going forward will be around how the industry embraces this change and leverages the digital opportunities ahead so that they can engage their users in new ways.

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