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Telecoms could centralise video content service delivery

Telecoms could centralise video content service delivery

Huawei CEO Eric Xu said mobile network operators are best positioned to serve as a single point of entry within video content service delivery and help content aggregators and service providers add more value to the consumer experience.

Speaking at the Mobile World Congress 2017 hosted this week in Barcelona, Xu also appealed to the ICT industry to adopt a customer-centric approach in order to take advantage of the growing popularity of content delivery through video.

"Consumers always ask for a better experience and that requirement has no limit. In the near future, all the AR and VR-based video businesses will become a new requirement and need for consumers. For operators to go for video play, there are several challenges with the biggest being the fragmentation of content. From a consumer perspective, the biggest challenge is that there is no single point of entry. We know there are more than 1000 content providers globally and more than 600 telecom operators and more than 100 content aggregators. There is a lot of choice when it comes to video content."

Xu says content aggregators are troubled by the large number of operators who they cannot negotiate with individually, while operators find it hard to communicate with content providers for the same reason.

He added that content aggregations are unwilling to give up their billing relationship with consumers as well as their accounts and that adds to the challenges faced by operators. He believes consumers are best served by having one account and one billing relationship to access all the content and content aggregators cannot provide it.

"From a consumer point of view, the best situation is to have a single point of entry - one account and one billing relationship. That is something all the content aggregators and providers cannot do and that is why telecom operators can possibly play that role. They are in the best position to be a point of entry for consumers and if the content aggregators are willing to become a channel at the top of the platform... that will be one of the solutions. We need change in order to engage all the consumers in all the homes."

Customer experience

Xu said improving customer's experiences of video would ensure growth for the industry as consumers are willing to pay more for enhanced video quality and services.

"Consumers can receive ultra-high definition television and HD television as well as standard definition TV. They can also receive a different resolution in content and are willing to pay a premium for a better experience and better content. We believe mobile or fixed operators all need to think about how to make a shift from selling bandwidth and data traffic to selling ultra-high definition, high definition or higher resolution content. From that point of view, video has to become a very important business for mobile operators. If we continue to use the old approach and technical language in engaging the consumers they will not perceive what the difference is."

Xu says 2k and 4k video content is becoming 'the new normal' as more devices capable of accessing such content are being sold.

"There are more than one hundred smartphones that are 2k capable and the 2k display has become the default display from premium handsets. And when we look at the television ... all the TV sets shipped in 2016, forty-six million of them are capable of 4k and the price has gone down substantially. Shipping of 4k TVs accounted for twenty percent of total shipment last year. Content wise, 4k is also seeing a rise as last year there were ninety-five 4k channels globally - which is a twofold increase in the numbers from 2015. It is anticipated that they will grow to one hundred and eighty in 2018."

Xu adds that 20% of content on YouTube in the last year had a resolution of 2k, while 4k content comprised 15% - a sign that consumers expect better content for an improved experience.

He cited a survey of global consumers which found that 82% of users are willing to pay a premium of 10% - 30% more for a 4k experience.

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