Western Europe set for major boost in TV everywhere experience
| 28 February 2018

New European Union legislation bringing borderless access to online content services across EU member states will likely be a driver for leading TV everywhere (TVE) solutions in the region to offer advanced features such as voice activation and single sign-on, says research from Kagan.

The analyst noted that in 2017, content line-ups and service functionality were more consistent with much of the standard pay-TV experience, as support for live TV and video-on-demand (VOD) was almost universal. Among the 68 pay-TV operators it surveyed across 16 markets on cable, digital terrestrial, IPTV and satellite, Kagan found that 99% supported live TV channels in 2017 - compared with 96% in 2016 - and 94% (88%) offered access to VOD content.

Yet Kagan believes the next phase of change will involve operators taking a more comprehensive approach to TVE services, mirroring their set-top box-based offers. Operators supporting out-of-home access to content hit 96% in 2017 but this figure is set to increase as operators can now extend beyond national borders thanks to new European laws established in November 2017.

Kagan suggests that the easing of content portability rules could help drive up usage as well as penetration of TVE applications.
Dutch operators have been among the first to announce plans to terminate geo-blocking for their apps in Europe with VodafoneZiggo set to apply the new rules to its Ziggo Go app, as is KPN NV for the Interactieve TV app. From 1 April 'providers and rights holders' will have nine months to prepare for and apply the new directives.

One of the most interesting trends revealed by the study was that mobile, and smartphones specifically, continues to dominate TVE strategy, with increasing curation as well as functionality such as remote control, which has become prevalent, and voice, which Kagan sees as playing a critical role in making TVE a more seamless experience, in particular from a search perspective. Survey data found that support for mobile reached 99% in 2017 with tablet apps reaching 97% (up three percentage points annually), PCs 91% (88%), smart TVs 31% (30%), with game consoles staying unchanged at 16%.

The Kagan report concluded by stating that the most successful TVE strategies will continue to benefit from more vertically integrated operators with both distribution networks and proprietary content. It cited as key examples PT Portugal in Portugal, Swisscom AG in Switzerland, Canal+ in France, Sky in Italy, Germany/Austria and the UK/Ireland and Telenet in Belgium. Italian ISP Fastweb SpA was cited as the only provider lacking a proprietary TVE service strategy, opting instead to bundle Sky Italia SRL and Mediaset SpA services.