Smart home integration key to smart TV success

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In a joint presentation with Statista Research and Analytics at IBC last week, FFalcon Technology, a part of TCL Group, revealed that the TV market has entered a new generation, where smart TVs are set to penetrate the global industry via smart homes.

With global smart TV shipments set to reach a total sales value of $250 million by 2023, and the number of smart TV users estimated to be $762 million by 2020, the smart TV ecosystem has more than doubled in the past five years.

The presentation, entitled ‘The Revenue and Business Opportunities for the Smart TV Ecosystem’, was based on a new whitepaper FFalcon Technology had co-released with Statista at the event. CEO, Tony Guo, highlighted that, due to saturation in the TV market, the connected home is the next revenue opportunity, thanks to artificial intelligence (AI) and the internet of things (IoT) offering new monetisation potential via their integration on all smart TVs and other devices.

Compared to AI, Guo revealed that IoT is a more useful business tool for the smart TV industry overall though, as AI is more centralised while IoT makes it possible to distribute on a wider scale. He also discussed how the media industry is being restructured as the content globalisation cycle becomes ever more shortened, thanks to instant access and better availability over a variety of streaming media players, such as Netflix.

In the past, Guo acknowledged, global audiences had to wait a long time for a regional movie or show, but nowadays, thanks to streaming media players, people can consume content at almost the same time as it’s released, without any region restrictions. Today’s distribution sequence and channels also no longer conform to the old ways, he announced, thanks to shows and movies now being launched online.

Guo highlighted that, although the smart home market is still far less valuable than the mobile internet, the rise of AI and IoT is set to bring far-reaching significance to the smart TV’s development within connected homes – something he indicated was required as smart TVs look set to hit the glass ceiling. The business value behind the smart TV market of the future will be the integration of more content providers he noted as, by 2020, OTT video services will generate $30.64 billion and the market size of mobile payment will reach $2,000 billion.

Eike Hartmann, Head of Research Projects at Statista, confirmed that the business value behind the smart TV ecosystem will become invaluable as internet penetration soars. Seen as a key driver for smart and connected devices, internet penetration in the Middle East and Africa in 2012 was the lowest of all regions, at just 17 per cent, he noted, but looks set to reach 41 per cent by 2020 – a significant jump of 59 per cent.

The GDP per capita growth between 2010 and 2020 sees Asia-Pacific becoming the most profitable region (46 per cent), followed by North America (33 per cent), Europe (23 per cent), the Middle East and Africa (9 per cent) and then South America (6 per cent).

North America’s internet penetration growth is the lowest, at just 6 per cent between 2012 and 2020, while Asia-Pacific and South America are set for rapid increase at 49 per cent and 40 per cent growth respectively Hartmann revealed. Europe will see steady growth in internet penetration, reaching 82 per cent, from 64 per cent, by 2020 – an anticipated increase of 22 per cent over the eight years.

Consumer electronics’ revenue is falling, from $1,040 billion in 2014 to $928 billion last year, and television revenue is having a similar decline, from $141 billion in 2014 to $105 billion in 2017. Hartmann admitted that this was due, in part, to competition forcing the average price of TV sets to drop.

However, he went on to note that the usage of connected devices in North America (39 per cent) exceeds those in China and Europe (both 29 per cent) and the vast majority of people in the US using smart TVs, streaming media players, smart speakers and the internet tend to be between 30 and 49 years old – so the US professional age group is still a big market for brands and players. In Germany, the number of people aged 50 – 64 using smart TVs and the internet but who do not have streaming media players or smart speakers is yet another business opportunity identified within the whitepaper.

Around one-third of the total internet population is connecting their smart TVs to the internet, which is slightly higher than streaming media players, Hartmann revealed, but while smartphone and TV consumption is growing, the whitepaper found that streaming video consumption is seeing a decline in linear TV viewing. Hartmann conceded that while this trend is advancing in the US and China, overall, audiences spend more time watching linear TV than they do digital, so linear TV is not dead yet and nor will it be for the foreseeable future.

The whitepaper results showed that regional distribution of unique users of OTT video services in 2020 again has APAC (43 per cent) as the most dominant region, followed by North America (33 per cent), Europe (17 per cent) and the rest of the world (7 per cent). However, the regional distribution of revenues from OTT video services is 57 per cent in North America, showing that the average American pays more for those services than people in APAC, which was 15 per cent revenue from 43 per cent users. Europe and the rest of the world’s revenue distributions were more in line with their unique users, at 24 per cent and 7 per cent respectively.

Success in the smart TV ecosystem will be in partnerships and development to offer unified UI, as linear TV remains important so supporting it is imperative, the whitepaper concluded. Other keys to success were integrated devices and supporting integration of digital consumer devices to improve users experiences, and apps that enhance the true value of the TV. These were all essential the whitepaper showcased to ensure players and brands stay ahead of customer demand, offering a variety of streaming services rather than providing a limited selection only.


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