The union of big television networks, enough to compete with Netflix and HBO? | Innovation


The televisions have not remained idle before the arrival of the platforms of streaming. The HbbTV (Hybrid Broadcast Broadband TV) technology is an alternative to broadcasters Europeans that is on the way to set up in Spain, which has created some expectation in the audiovisual sector. With this hybrid DTT technology, the Internet is used and content is provided on demand and on second screens, improving the viewer's experience of free-to-air television. The idea of ​​the future in Spain is to value DTT so that linear television can converge with the internet and thus attract other users. For example, the youngest.

In this line was presented a few days ago LovesTV (pronounce yourself You watch TV), a content platform with HbbTV technology driven by RTVE, Atresmedia and Mediaset España that provides added value to the offer of free-to-air television. A first step, not easy at all, that brings together millions of users and that can encourage other televisions such as Forta or private channels to join the initiative. LovesTV was awarded in November at HbbTV Awards granted in Berlin because, according to the jury, "it transforms the way people watch television on a large scale". For Albert Cuatrecasas, CEO of Cellnex Spain, the developer of LovesTV, the platform stood out among the 45 proposals presented because "we add to the linear television all the most user-friendly features. The others were specific applications of its broadcaster; ours is collaborative, free and improves the user experience. "

With LovesTV, for the moment, the content display of the last week is offered, the possibility of going back and starting a program already started, a programming guide and the option of recommending contents. The remote control hides buttons with functions (the blue button gives access to the platform, for example). Nearly two million television sets with HbbTV technology 1.5 or higher can already access LovesTV in Spain (brands such as LG, Panasonic, Philips, Samsung and Vestel). The system does not require installation or download as its infrastructure is part of the DTT standard.

For Concepción Cascajosa, professor of audiovisual communication at the Carlos III University of Madrid, the most interesting thing about the HbbTV "is to propose a deferred television consumption model in a country like Spain where this type of tool has not had much penetration". But it affects the fact that there are still few TVs with this technology and the users who have it consume content through their video on demand services. "A real bet for their own video on demand platforms would have been much more logical," he explains. "At the time, the chains opted to sell their content to these platforms, losing exclusivity, in some cases so that viewers could consume them a few weeks after they were broadcast. Once lost that distinctive character, this only serves to perhaps capture a user who still can not afford a payment service ", adds Cascajosa.

In the future strategy is that the HbbTV is implanted or not in most homes. "If you develop the standard HbbTV model powers interactivity. In some countries in Europe they are ahead of us. We have to empower TV manufacturers to support us and bet on this technology, "explains Eugenio Fernández Aranda, Director of the Technology and Operations Division of Mediaset. "The user has to interact, which is what young people like. To be able to see something else in the phone synchronized with the TV or to be able to vote, functionalities that are not ours but that mark them the standard. The problem is that we have a TV park that has to adapt, "he adds.

LovesTV's timid start ("we make television and we want to promote television, what we do") is just the beginning of a platform that aspires to much more, reinforcing the concept of watching television on TV, as Fernández Aranda says: " We are reinventing television and improving it to try to make the family feel around the television again. We do not compete against Netflix nor are we even enemies among us. The data show that if you give an added value to a program, young people will watch television again ", ditch.

The programs no longer only focus on television, they also have a vision transmedia. LovesTV wants to cover the new consumption habits and provide, therefore, that the viewer interacts. For Elena Neira, professor of communication studies at the UOC, the key to seducing the digital viewer is to give cohesion to the contents "without having to dive for different apps and with functionalities typical of the SVOD ecosystem ". And he thinks that the future of this technology "will depend on the ability to generate a engagement real with its programs, to boost the consumption of peripheral contents ". The big challenge is "to develop a real Advanced TV advertising model. Sacrificing the advertising load in favor of less frequent and longer, but more relevant, breaks, as Hulu does, in which users of the advertising version outperform those who prefer to pay more for a Hulu without ads. "

  • The answer to Netflix?

In principle, the LovesTV advertising blocks are the same as in the open. The next step will be digital advertising, something that does not affect the contents of RTVE, as Pere Vila explains, Responsible for technological strategy and digital innovation of the public channel. "In the private sector, the issue of digital advertising and flashforward, but it is not used in RTVE and we have that in mind ". Among the possible improvements highlights "accessibility issues, as we already do with Spain direct Y Heart, a matter that will have to be agreed between all, and the audience measures. Although the television is anonymous, it does have large volumes of data, and you can know if there are a million televisions that are watching the same program ", espeta. For Vila, LovesTV "is not a group to stand up to the platforms of streaming", Because its advantage is that" our content only we have. You may have a movie or a series missing, but the offer is overwhelming. "

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So in the short term functionalities will be improved and work will be done "in what can be seen not only on the HbbTV but on any device", as Arturo Larrainzar, director of strategy of Atresmedia, comments. "I do not like to read certain headlines that defined us as the Spanish Netflix because it takes away the identity of the platform. The competition stimulates and it is undeniable that the viewer needs a non-linear consumption offer. It is a handicap that is at home watching DTT and not give something that demand, "he says. In the content, he says, lies his main hook and he advances that the exclusive content on the platform is not among his proposals for the future. "What we have to give is a proposal of value, additional, with different contents. We have no plans for any investment related to exclusive formats of the platform, more than anything because there are already more than 1,000 million euros in LovesTV, which is what the three televisions have invested, "he adds.

In short, the HbbTV technology is making headway in Spain, for example, with LovesTV, "a sort of vitaminado teletext", as described by María González, director of Xataca, who has not been convinced by the proposal. "That these big chains are now associated to bet strongly on their own platform is not a surprise, but rather a defensive movement expected from the circumstances of the sector. We have already seen it in Europe with chains and groups from several countries partnering to produce content. What is more surprising to me is that they have opted for HbbTV technology - an old and little-known technology - instead of a app or universal platform for any television ". González predicts that "in the case of LovesTV, the logical thing would be for us to see the jump to a video platform under pure demand and through app" Time will tell whether TV manufacturers and consumers, increasingly accustomed to using a Smart TV or devices such as Chromecast, are targeting the HbbTV.

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