Senior Product Manager Christina Cassar looks at what can be done to deliver that North Star of the entertainment space – a single platform that integrates all of your favourite content
Since the start of my career in the TV product space, one elusive North Star that continues to capture the imagination is the concept of “All in One Place.” This vision serves as a key objective and key result (OKR) for TV product teams everywhere, a promise touted in shiny marketing campaigns and customer communications, and a longstanding desire shared by TV viewers worldwide.
Imagine a single platform that seamlessly integrates all your favourite content, from live TV, movies and shows to streaming services. One core UI which provides a unified and effortless entertainment experience.
TV and entertainment hardware providers and connected TV manufacturers have been trying to break the conundrum through the years. These companies strive to give customers a seamless user experience, but they face numerous complex challenges that need to be addressed.
What challenges hinder a seamless entertainment experience?
The defragmentation of content is one of the main culprits. With the rise of subscription video on demand and direct-to-consumer content services, customers are presented with a plethora of content choices. While this expands customer choice, viewers find themselves subscribing to multiple services, resulting in a proliferation of account credentials and disrupted user experiences (UX).
Throw in the intricacies of content licensing and distribution deals, integration complexities and the general lack of collaboration in the TV and entertainment space and you’re left with a customer problem which is almost impossible to solve.
This existing disjointed experience has significant implications for both content creators and TV providers. When customers encounter frustration, it directly affects their level of engagement, overall satisfaction, and can result in higher churn rates.
By collectively working to improve the TV experience, content creators and TV providers can reap shared benefits, including enhanced satisfaction, and an engaged customer base.
Turning enemies into allies – shifting towards a collaborative TV ecosystem
Fostering an environment of collaboration will be key to ensure TV providers, streaming platforms, content products and right holders work together towards prioritising customer needs and a shared goal of offering a unified viewing experience.
Controversial as it may be, the concept of frenemy collaborations has demonstrated its effectiveness in the past. We have witnessed instances where unlikely alliances have led to remarkable outcomes (from my experience the Netflix and Sky bundling has been a massive success for both partners and has yet to be replicated by any other player in the UK).
Embracing this mindset in the TV industry holds tremendous potential for creating even more benefits for all stakeholders involved. By setting aside differences and forging collaborations with former competitors or perceived adversaries, content creators, TV providers, and other industry players can tap into a wealth of collective knowledge and resources.
A collaborative approach fosters innovation, enables the sharing of expertise, and unlocks new opportunities for growth. Ultimately, embracing frenemy collaborations in the TV ecosystem can lead to win-win situations, delivering enhanced user experiences, driving business success, and shaping the future of the industry.
1. Unlocking open communication will foster stronger relationships
Improving communication between the various players in the entertainment space can reduce some of the existing barriers. Working together to exchange insight and understand the core customer needs will help progress discussions around solutions that can unlock improvements to the existing experience.
Meetings, collaborative workshops, and hackathons can serve as forums when players come together to facilitate the exchange of innovative ideas.
2. Prioritisation of user centric product design will be key to ensuring TV players are delivering experiences that matter
The adoption of user-centric product design can ensure product teams in the industry are prioritising and addressing the needs, preferences, and behaviours of the end-users. When TV and entertainment platforms, content producers and distributors place the user at the centre of their design and development process, they can work together to create the best possible experience.
Collaborating on research, testing, and pooling resources and insight can create a more comprehensive understanding of user behaviours which can shape strategic decisions that resonate with target audiences.
3. Partner integration should be on everyone’s roadmap
We understand the users’ pain points and their needs, so why is partner integration still on the back burner? Content producers and distributors should work with platform providers to improve integration and create seamless experiences.
Capturing APIs to offer complete Continue Watching rails, Saved Watchlists and Search functionality that spans across all the content that viewers enjoy will help improve usability. Integration will further evolve personalisation, enhance recommendation engines, and ultimately improve content discovery.
4. Regulatory changes and setting industry best practice
Support from regulators and industry associations plays a crucial role in facilitating progress towards a seamless “All in One Place” TV experience. Regulators can play a key role in ensuring fair competition, promoting interoperability, and addressing legal and licensing complexities, making progress towards improved customer experiences whilst protecting all parties involved.
By having clear frameworks in place, collaboration can flourish, allowing for seamless integration of content and technology. These efforts not only benefit customers by delivering a more unified and user-centric experience, but also provide a level playing field for industry players, driving innovation and growth.
Will the goal of ‘All in One Place’ ever be achieved?
In conclusion, achieving the elusive goal of an “All in One Place” TV experience presents significant challenges and requires collaborative efforts from all stakeholders in the industry.
By acknowledging and addressing the issues of content fragmentation, licensing complexities, technical barriers, and the lack of collaboration, we can pave the way for a more seamless and user-centric entertainment landscape.
Prioritising user-centred design, embracing collaboration, and leveraging emerging technologies can help overcome these obstacles. By coming together, content creators, TV providers, and technology companies can create a future where viewers can enjoy a unified and effortless entertainment experience.
It is through collective efforts, shared goals, co-creation, and collaboration that we can turn the dream of an “All in One Place” TV experience into a reality, providing viewers with the ultimate convenience, satisfaction, and enjoyment they desire.