So what does 2013 hold for online video? As someone who is immersed in this area 24/7, I thought it would be fun to compile my list of the top five trends that I’m seeing the this booming market- and back up each of these predictions with a link to a relevant, engaging video.
#1 Productions like Netflix’s House of Cards will fuel OTT growth
Content will remain king and in 2013 a ruthless politician will make sure of that. Last Friday, Netflix premiered its highly anticipated production, House of Cards. The show, which stars Kevin Spacey and is produced and directed by David Fincher, is Netflix’s biggest production to date and has been widely promoted to the mass market. It positions the streaming service exactly where Netflix wants to be – as a direct competitor to premium cable channels. The big question is whether House of Cards will help Netflix to achieve its goal of gaining more subscribers. We predict that it will do just that and that House of Cards will be the first show to truly level the playing field for the long list of over-the-top TV providers (Hulu, Apple, Google Play, Amazon Prime etc.).
Watch: House of Cards – the official trailer
#2 Tablets will drive creativity
2012 was the prologue, with more and more giants releasing their own inexpensive tablets. The Jelly Bean OS finally brought consumers an iPad-like user experience – and Google and Amazon complemented this with great devices that were much cheaper than Apple’s. With tablet sales on the rise, PC sales declined. While the post PC-world isn’t here just yet, the trend is clear. In the near future, many consumers will likely choose to buy a tablet before upgrading their current PC. The new tablets are also stronger than ever before and have more storage so they can be used to create content and not just consume it. The result will surely be more creative and productive apps like Adobe Ideas, iMockups for iPad, Cinefly and iMovie. Soon enough, the post-PC world will no longer be a trend. It will be a reality.
Watch: tablets are used for so much more these days – here’s one cool example
#3 Smart TV adoption could kick-start the rise of the ‘cord never’ households
According to Informa’s latest Smart TV device forecasts (November 2012), more than 220 million Smart TV sets will be sold worldwide in 2017, up from the 54 million that were estimated to have been sold during 2012. Informa forecasts that 31% of households worldwide will own at least one Smart TV by 2017, with household penetration much higher in North America (63%) and Western Europe (64%).
A recovering economy, better screens and cool features (Internet connectivity, 3D) are a promising cocktail of factors. OTT content will continue to gain traction alongside traditional pay-TV services during 2013, and cutting the cord could prove to be an easy decision for a small minority. It’s impossible to generalize about cord cutting across geographies because each market is so different, but Deloitte, in its ‘TMT Predictions for 2013’ for North America, suggests that the ‘cord nevers’ – young people setting up new households and spurning the traditional pay TV route – could ultimately lead to a fall in the percentage of North American homes paying for TV, even if the absolute number of homes is more-or-less flat.
Watch: TVs bigger, better at Las Vegas CES
#4 Branded Journalism will take off
Let’s face it – Red Bull tastes like cough syrup. And while many people have never bought a can, it’s impossible to ignore the strength of the brand. One of the key points in the company’s content strategy is creating awesome content (5,000 videos, 50,000 photos – most of it in HD). Much of this content is used by news outlets like ESPN and MSNBC and of course content is streamed too on Red Bull’s own site.
But is it working? The answer’s simple: yes, it is. In the UK, for example, Red Bull featured heavily in a documentary that followed Felix Baumgartner during his preparation for his amazing jump. By providing great video content, brands can interact with consumers extremely effectively. And with the price of content production and streaming dropping, branded journalism is definitely a trend to watch in 2013.
Watch: Red Bull’s sponsored record-breaking freefall here
#5 Personalization will increase
This month Facebook introduced “Graph Search”, which is a weird name for a new feature that would allow you to search within your friends list (e.g. “show my friends who watch Game of Thrones” or “show friends of friends who are single and like Arcade Fire”). And of course intelligent search and recommendations vendors like ThinkAnalytics and DigitalSmiths are already helping consumers to find personalized, recommended content, across multiple devices, based on their likes and dislikes.
The value here is clear: our virtual social circles and our own viewing behaviour provide valuable information that can be unlocked by technologies to provide us with even greater personalization. In 2013, we will see personalized recommendations moving out of the sidebar and onto the core EPG, and serving up all sorts of personalized recommendations from TV shows, VOD and music videos, through to video games and web clips.
Watch: what happens when a personalized search engine goes one step too far
This post was originally published at VOD Professional.