Watching television is no longer just a linear experience, as all of us know. Consumers have myriad choices when it comes to what they want to watch series, movies, sport, live broadcasts and on-demand content. The market is constantly evolving with the emergence of new players, particularly in the OTT space, and changing business […]
Watching television is no longer just a linear experience, as all of us know. Consumers have myriad choices when it comes to what they want to watch series, movies, sport, live broadcasts and on-demand content.
The market is constantly evolving with the emergence of new players, particularly in the OTT space, and changing business models of existing players just consider the announcement of the 2016 launch of a streaming service in the US by the BBC. And if industry analysts are to be believed, this is only going to grow. According to Infonetics Research, the global set-top box market is forecast to be worth more than $19 billion by 2018.
Regardless of how content is received by the viewer, via terrestrial, satellite, cable or internet streaming, the fact remains that content providers are looking to find new ways to not only monetise their offerings, but also raise the levels of interaction.
In the living room, the driving force behind this user experience is undoubtedly the remote control.
In recent research conducted by Trendbox DB on behalf of Universal Electronics, it was found that of viewers in the UK, Germany and France, there was an average of 3.3 remote controls per household. This is in no way surprising, considering that 75% of respondents also had other devices (like set-top boxes, DVD players, games consoles and computers) connected to their main televisions.
One of the ways around the multiple remote conundrum is the universal remote. In the research, 25% of respondents used a universal remote, with 32% of them finding it easier than using multiple remotes to control multiple devices. Interestingly, the volume control buttons are those most used on the remote, and almost a third of all consumers admitted they only used a few buttons because they didnt understand what the rest actually did.
The confusion around remote controls doesnt stop there. One of the main user challenges is the confusion around switching source, or navigating between TV, set-top box, games console and other components like a DVD player or amplifier. In fact, 34% of respondents said that they struggled to get the right picture onto the screen. This inability to properly access content can have detrimental consequences for manufacturers in the financial sense. 10% of these respondents said they contacted support to help them change the source. The number may not seem high, but when you consider that each call to the contact centre could last several minutes, thats time agents could be spending on other income-generating activities or answering other customer queries.
Its not all doom and gloom, however. The remote control can be used to simplify the user experience. If it is easy to use, content providers can take steps towards making sure their content appears where it should.
A key part of the simplification process relates to navigation. For set-top-box operators and OTT content especially, the ability to search is crucial. A number of methods can be used to find content, depending on the type of remote control. This includes voice, hand movement and gesture control, using keys and track pads, or even apps that can turn smartphones into remote controls.
But getting to the point where users can search for and interact with the content they want begins when the remote is actually set up. This process is particularly important when it relates to a universal remote that controls everything including the TV, DVD player, set-top box and console.
While many users might get installers to set up the remote control during the initial installation process, what happens when components are added to the stack, or if remotes get broken or lost?
Consumers, regardless of what theyre controlling, want a remote that is easy to use. This is reflected in the research, with 80% of respondents agreeing. This isnt always the case, as the more choices viewers have, the more complex their watching journey becomes.
Menno Koopmans is Senior VP Subscription Broadcasting at Universal Electronics.