Monetizing Premium Video Content over 5G
The insatiable appetite for sports can become a critical catalyst to help drive premium content revenue for 5G networks.
The 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan will be a spectacle and celebration of sports and culture in the way only the Olympic Games can be. It will however, also be a continuation of how 5G can power new capabilities, as showcased already at the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics. There is no question that the growing portion of CSP revenue attributable to video is linked tightly to the growing service delivery capabilities in the post-TV monopoly age. The entertainment experience that CSPs can now offer related to sporting events and other time-sensitive activities is about to be further catalyzed by the emergence of their 5G networks, with CSPs delivering a more interactive experience for fans that surpasses regular TV programming and even Video on Demand (VoD) services.
As such, a new revenue stream opens for MNOs in the ‘digital services’ class and one which comes with a premium price tag. Sports rights are big business for broadcasters; they already have an established fan base, and the concept of paying large pay-per-view extras is a well understood concept among consumers. 5G, in this instance, is becoming a tool by which CSPs are suddenly able to provide the most advanced coverage of an event.
5G Impact on Sports and Coverage Innovation
There is a large existing appetite for additional content around sports coverage, which may be in the form of live match analysis, favorite player stats and tracking, social media input, real-time statistics, multi-angle footage, 360-degree streams, and in-game betting. Consuming this additional content on a mobile device is currently a somewhat joyless experience, akin to watching any standard definition (SD) online content. 5G has the potential to radically change that mobile customer experience with a 4K video stream with all of the above advantages, but also with augmented and virtual reality capabilities. Another key attribute of 5G is the low latency it can achieve to ensure the video stream from the sports is almost live.
When all of these features are added together, the viewer experience is significantly enhanced on smartphone and tablets, and also there is the option of the full immersive experience on a VR/AR headset, for those willing enough to have goggles strapped to their heads for inordinate periods of time.
The Perfect Showcase for 5G
According to UK research firm Telecoms Tracker, 35% of CSPs worldwide are planning to time their 5G launches to coincide with sporting events. Many of these (23%) are aiming to launch just before the Tokyo Olympics. Among European MNOs, 80% will launch their 5G services in time for UEFA Euro 2020 next summer. CSPs are planning on using these events to relate complex technology to tangible new mobile experiences. Given that research has consistently shown that there is little point in advertising to the general public how an operators edge-computing capabilities are now enhanced under 5G, this is an opportunity to relate the image of 5G with something other than a faster version of 4G. A real ‘now you can do this’ moment for consumer engagement.
Enabling CSPs for these high-revenue digital services
The complexity of personalization is a recurring theme in the 5G story, providing customized bundles of features and services, in real-time, in a cohesive way is in itself a huge showcase for the BSS and OSS making it possible. It is often presumed that with new network technologies that the OSS is doing all the complex work, but 5G is all about the digital services that it enables. So the personalization profiles at work in a use case like this mean that the BSS plays an equally complex role, and the interoperability between the two must be tight.
The effect of the 2020 Olympics may be that once the service level capabilities of 5G are out in the open, a wave of service innovation can follow. Once the technology and the showcase service can be shown to be the key to access premium revenues, the telecommunications industry will jump on the bandwagon, and turn this into revenue generating service models that truly take advantage of 5G network capabilities.
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