Connected television: the audiovisual engine for Mirada TV

Ińaki Ferreras | 13-11-2012

Connected TV is the audiovisual engine, according to Jose Luis Vázquez, Mirada TV’s CEO and president of Spain’s Association of Interactive Television (AEDETI).

In an interview with Rapid TV News Spain he stated that the Internet is here to stay, and that video on the Internet has opened the door to a revolution (rather than an evolution) in the way people consume audiovisual content. The viewer sitting on the couch waiting for a programme to come on is losing ground while the new user, hyper and informed, is gaining ground, following the paradigm "what I want, when I want, where I want," says Vázquez.

The greatest advance in terms of service is that consumers are no longer tied to programme times, but may come late to an event and enjoy it from the beginning, or dive into the available video file, with search engines or "retro-EPGs". This is the reality of catch-up TV.

“What I want to make available to service users is a wide range of content. Quantity now joins quality in the war for ratings. Do I have the right format as a channel for the viewer who isn’t content with a linear consumption? The range, and above all the ability to search and the presentation of the available supply are critical at this stage,” he states.

Vázquez believes the hyper-connected world allows access to other devices and services in unusual places, which directly influences the design of the formats. It makes no sense to produce for the big screen, when our plans include devices such as tablets or smartphones. He questions whether channels are prepared for this new relationship with consumers and, above all, producers and advertisers. “These elements are joined by the explosion of social networks which allow you to experience what we used to do at the bar or around the TV at home. We watched the programme, we enjoyed it together, we discussed it, and this adds an unexpected social dimension value,” he adds.

It is in this context that new business models are trying to meet this growing demand. Traditional players have tried, with varying degrees of success, as new competitors are claiming a position that didn’t previously exist. Those looking for markets include Apple's iTunes, Netflix in the US, and LoveFilm in the UK. In all cases these novel approaches for distributing content on demand employ the viewer’s Internet connection without a guarantee of quality, whereas IPTV services, in which the network provider grows its offering by adding features like pay-TV, are leveraging the relationship with subscriber management capabilities and connection service, according to Vázquez.

Another model that has appeared on the market is from manufacturers like Samsung, Boxee or, again, Apple. The relationship with the user and the possibility of increasing the functionality of the device created the concept of ‘manufacturer portal’ which allows options like app stores, content guides (linear and on-demand) or media aggregators, he explained.

“This huge market fragmentation, where content providers give multiple pathways to the user, thus seemingly increasing their consumption choices exponentially, is itself very beneficial to the market. Increases in theory help competition, fostering innovation and provide the viewer with new options not previously available. But like any market it has to be monitored to avoid problems such as the abuse of power and, in parallel, a fragmentation that, by the use of proprietary technologies, can guide the evolution of the industry towards a sub-optimal scenario for the consumer,” Vázquez says. In this sense, the emergence of standards for the transmission and display of information or content protection allows for the optimization of investment by different agents.