New alliance aims to address mobile video hurdles as UK demands multiscreen services
| 20 May 2014
Even though the country is rapidly expanding 4G networks to a large base of smartphones and tablets, UK mobile video is still facing serious challenges, says a new consortium setting out to resolve them.
The Mobile Video Alliance (MVA) will endeavour to provide solutions for the current problems associated with the delivery of video content to mobile devices. It will identify, develop and advocate technologies that harmonise the delivery of audio visual content to mobile devices, with the aim of providing a reliable and enjoyable experience for consumers. Founded by mobile operator EE and global interconnection and data centre company Equinix, the MVA has now moved under the auspices of DTG, the UK industry association for digital television.
"Video is already the biggest driver of traffic on our 4G network, and that is only set to grow and grow. A superfast network and high performance devices make mobile video a reality, but we now have to work with content owners and broadcasters to really enhance the customer experience," commented EE network strategy manager Matt Stagg. "The MVA provides the opportunity to do that, and make a real difference to the way people consume video on the go."
The initiative was launched at the DTG's Summit in London by Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries Ed Vaizey who said: "The Mobile Video Alliance is an exciting new initiative that will dramatically improve the experience of watching video on mobile devices, opening up new opportunities for consumers, broadcasters and content providers."
At the event, Vaizey also presented the conclusion of an 18-month collaborative industry project, the Future of Innovation in Television Technology (FITT) task-force which aimed to clarify a number of important issues, opportunities and challenges facing the UK television industry.
Many of the recommendations were guided by consumer trend data and projections that showed that although viewing to the main television set remains stable, it is increasingly augmented by viewers choosing to watch on any device, any time both inside and outside of the home. The task-force believes that these trends coupled with the increasing connectivity of devices, people and content create massive business potential for UK media companies. However, consumer anxieties about privacy remain the biggest barrier to realising these ambitions, and this highlights the need for transparency from providers – potentially delivered via an industry-led review of self-regulation – and digital literacy programmes for consumers.
"We will take careful note of the specific recommendations for government and will work closely with the industry-led Next Generation TV Planning Programme," Vaizey added.
David Docherty, chairman of the FITT task-force and of the DTG said in response to the report and recommendations: "The UK TV industry is an amazing success story, with an enviable heritage of innovating in television technology. But it's facing unprecedented challenges to its ability to compete, let alone lead. The FITT report is testament to the resolve that exists within the industry to deliver innovation that consumers and viewers want and to keep the UK TV technology industry globally competitive."
The final report is available at: http://dtg.org.uk/innovation.