“Continuity of experience” was a recurring theme at NCTC’s 2017 Winter Education Conference. Keynote speaker, Bruce Leichtman of LRG explained that this means creating user interfaces that transcend device, as well as making it easy for customers to discover and view content wherever and how they want. He emphasized that this means creating new ways to access non-traditional programming fare, such as Netflix.
Leichtman recommended that operators find their glue; glue being the items that makes their service sticky. Ease of use and value are two of the glues that will keep customers. Echoing
Altman Vilandrie’s study (see interview with Jonathan Hurd), Leichtman cautioned against the idea of the “skinny bundle” as being a cure-all for those who would cut the cord. He pointed out the typical household has a variety of tastes and it is difficult to serve multiple individuals with a narrow program offering.
Bernie Arnason of Pivot Media provided an overview of the vMVPDs – Virtual Multichannel Video Program Distributors – and different ways operators can respond to the potential competitive threat they pose. Local operations and content is one way to respond and Sean Brushett of Buckeye Broadband talked about how they have long used local high school sports as a “glue”.
He also predicted a boomerang effect with some cord-cutters coming back to cable, when they realize the value of the bundle. For the bundle to be successful, ease of use and good packaging is critical. And packaging goes beyond channel line-up, as it includes other services, such as managed WiFi. Katie Espeseth of Tennessee-based service provider EPB who suggested that, “The war is what is raging inside the home.”
She explained that the network has moved from the edge of the house to the device and the device’s interface. In short, many people have come to understand the hidden costs of home IT management with Do-It-Yourself solutions for WiFi routers and the like. Eliminating the burden of managing the home network is a value that people will pay for, as evidenced the $3M revenue addition EPB has seen since it started providing home network management as a service.
And the common theme, whether the managed home network or unified video user interface is making it simple for the consumer; a continuity of experience that eliminates technology make-work and allows him to enjoy the fruits of the broadband ecosystem.