Massive: ‘Sponsored UI’ a Key Innovation to Drive Growth in Near Future

by Parks Associates | Dec. 6, 2018

Prior to Parks Associates’ inaugural Future of Video: OTT, Pay TV, and Digital Media conference, Alex Drosin, Chief Commercial Officer, Massive shared insights with the analyst team to discuss what is driving growth in video entertainment and what the biggest impacts on technology will be in the near future.

Alex will be participating on the Evolution of the Consumer Experience panel on Wednesday, December 12, at 1:30 PM. Panelists joining him on this session include:

Lisa Aussieker, VP of Sales, AT&T, MediaKind
Mrugesh Desai, Head of Solutions Engineering, Accedo
Glen Sakata, Product Evangelist, Ooyala

What is the greatest challenge facing the video industry over the next three years?
Bringing live OTT delivery up to the same level of quality as broadcast, especially in sports. We’ve all heard the horror stories; platform spends big money acquiring and promoting a highly touted event, underestimates the capacity required to handle millions of concurrent viewers, and falls short around a critical moment in the match. Often, for the customer, this is an unforgivable offense, and a guaranteed PR nightmare. But for the provider who can get it right, the opportunities are endless – compelling feature sets, such as multiple camera angles and social media integration, improved monetization capabilities through programmatic advertising, and more robust tools to crack down on piracy.

What is driving growth in video entertainment today? How does that change over the next few years?
A move away from traditional TV on the part of youth, serious investment into original content production, the rapid uptake of cheap “living room devices” such as Fire TV or Roku – these are just three factors driving growth in video entertainment, but they aren’t alone. For us at Massive, one of the most important factors driving growth is the increasing understanding and capability to harness audience data to power personalization. For years, TV operators have studied how users interact with their service, but it’s been incredibly difficult to move away from the analytics dashboard and put insights into practice. Now, platforms have begun to emerge that act as a centralized control layer between the front-facing video applications and audience data, empowering operators to deliver targeted user experiences in real-time with minimal engineering involvement. This is key – in a world where content is king, the consumer experience has got one foot on the throne.

What technology will have the biggest impact on your business in the next 18 months and why?
One of the main concerns for many of our SVOD clients is how to break the monetization ceiling. It’s just not viable for small to mid-tier operators to compete from a content and technology perspective with the likes of Netflix when revenue is capped by the number of monthly subscribers you have signed up – they need more tools in their arsenal to facilitate growth. We see one of the most significant opportunities lying in what we call ‘Sponsored UI,’ where operators can build non-intrusive brand advertising directly into the user interface. Where this gets really interesting is when UI real estate can be big and bought programmatically – something we’re currently exploring with a number of different partners.

What is the top growth opportunity for content producers over the next few years? What about for cable networks?
Live-linear isn’t dead. It’s just evolving, and there’s still plenty of money to be made in owning real-time content. Indeed, it’s expected that the number of US viewers subscribed to an IP-delivered live TV service will surpass that of Netflix and Amazon customers by 2023 - around 47% of the market. High-scale consumer events, particularly around sports, politics and reality TV, can still draw in huge crowds and OTT opens up many more opportunities for cable networks to experiment with interactivity and extra content if they have the right tools in place to enable them to do so.

What is one thing that the pay-TV ecosystem needs to learn from the online giants in video (Google, Netflix, Facebook, and Amazon)?
If there were one lesson I would take from FANG, it’s the importance of remaining agile while scaling user growth. There is so much choice now out there for consumers to watch content, it’s not enough for pay-TV providers to rely on what worked in the past to guarantee a secure future. Whether it’s how you monetize, the content you offer, or the user experience you’re putting in front of your audience, you need the tools to rapidly measure, analyze and iterate your proposition when in market based on the changing needs of your audience.

What will pay TV services look like in five years?
You’ll see a lot more aggregation than you do today – pay-TV services brokering deals with their pure-play OTT rivals to act as the centralized discovery platform for all different types of content. Despite the doom and gloom that surrounds the conversation around cable and satellite television, they still command vast audiences of older, more wealthy TV viewers that are extremely attractive to the likes of Netflix and Amazon. It makes total sense for the pay-TV services of the future to leverage their established network and become the home for a myriad of OTT channels, just like they did in linear.

For more information on the Future of Video, visit:

Next: Discussing What is Driving Growth in Video Entertainment with Philo
Previous: How Will the Industry Drive Growth in Video Entertainment and How Will it Handle the Challenges Ahead? Insights from Accedo


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