5G Force

The Fight for your home and attention continues.. I recall a few years back I made my family get rid of all devices and we focused on our love, health and growth. When we tuned back in a year later, things started to shift, devices changed and our devices were out of date. 

The meaning of people watching TV/seeing a movie has changed dramatically over the past few years. So have the content production, distribution, consumption models.

Filmmakers, broadcasters, studios, content distributors and infrastructure/service providers are rubbing their hands together, confident that there’s going to be an ocean of opportunity to satisfy folks with all the content they want anywhere, anytime, on any device.

IBC’s Michael Crimp and his crew did a great job of keeping everything on an even keel despite the turbulence of big mergers in every segment and the unbridled enthusiasm of the telco folks that “their” 5G was going to be the way folks get their entertainment.

After all, “everyone” had a smartphone, it’s with them 24×7 and they use it for … everything.

Smart Growth – Despite the higher cost, most consumers prefer to use a smartphone rather than feature devices since the ability to make a call isn’t very high on their priority list. IDC projects sales will increase over the next few years and telcos are already planning for the expansion of their data services.

It doesn’t bother them that there are over 3.6B active Internet users around the globe and people are getting used to their OTT (over the top) viewing options.

And they’re inclined to use them … all of them!

OTT Opportunities – While telcos are boringly optimistic that everyone will be watching their content on their mobile device, Ooyala and other monitoring services find that people still consume the majority of their content on the larger screen and after that, whichever screen is close at hand/convenient.

The smartphone might be ever-present and convenient, but a lotta’ folks think bigger viewing is better.

Still, the providers are confident their usage and revenues will soar.

Maybe.

In the EMEA (Europe, Middle East, Africa) region, mobile video play grew to 63.5 percent. In Latin America, it topped 56.3 percent and; in the Asia-Pacific region, video play topped 70 percent.

Behind the curve, about 92 percent of 18-29 year-old North Americans own smartphones and a rising number of older adults (presently 75 percent) have smartphones.

According to Ooyala, there are a lot of indications that mobile video will continue to grow rapidly because more than 51 percent of video starts on smartphones. IDC recently announced that smartphone sales growth will return with overall shipments reaching 1.6 billion devices in 2022–most with larger screens.

While there was a lot of disagreement on how people were consuming their content at IBC, everyone agreed that TV has evolved from a world of limited options to virtually limitless choices.

Around the Globe – In many countries, people don’t have a lot of discretionary income, so they invest in the devices that will serve the majority of their needs. The choice is often a smartphone followed by a TV at home, so viewing times favor TV sets and smartphones.

OTT has allowed the viewer to dictate what they want, how they want it packaged and how they want to consume it.

Now it’s up to media and delivery companies to figure out how to make a buck.

Of course, they all like to get an inside look at how the big kid on the block is doing it.

Netflix, which has more than 130M subscribers in 190 countries, shows there is a difference on how people sign up and how they view their content.

Sit Back, Enjoy – Netflix has found that subscribers may sign up for the viewing service on one of their screens, but actual content consumption might be different. For example, in Thailand, most folks signed up for mobile viewing, yet the majority of screen time is spent with a TV.

The global subscribers consume a large chunk of the cable, broadband and wireless bandwidth requiring 4 Mbps for HD streams and 8-12 Mbps for UHD (4K) streams.

Sounds simple enough for content distributors and delivery folks to figure out, but they often overlook that Netflix has spent a lot of years and money to refine how they compress data for streaming and how they decompress it for viewing – on any device.

In addition, they invested in the development of a globally distributed CDN (content distribution network) to minimize the distance a viewer’s content choice must travel – faster, more responsive refresh; consistent quality.

Investing in Service – To expand their viewers around the globe, Netflix not only aggressively invests in high-quality content but also in an infrastructure that ensures quality content is consistently delivered. The company has developed a strong network of servers around the globe to keep folks entertained. Quality of delivery and service is something studios, channels, distributors and cable/telcos often overlook.

The network also “knows” the most effective and efficient data stream the user’s device can handle and will fine tune the stream for optimum enjoyment in real-time.

But IBC’s Crimp is right about being so bullish about 5G because it will deliver content 20X faster than with 4G; and that will be vital, not just for content streaming (not that our kids care) but for the rollout of IoT (Internet of Things), which will have more than 20.4B “things” connected and communicating by end of 2021

So, it’s kinda’ important!

And for the M&E industry it’s really important.

Enter G Force 5G is a game changer and disruptor technology!

Yes, it’s true that the technology is proven, and the specifications are being ratified and that standardization issues are being addressed.

Content  providers will provide an early use case for 5G as well as the opportunity to deliver content directly to consumers is the new normal. It should, because mobile broadband subscription is growing in leaps and bounds and Ericsson predicts that by end of 2021 more than 60 percent of the mobile traffic will be video.

Growing Service – Mobile broadband is growing rapidly around the globe because fixed infrastructure is costly to install and maintain. However, mobile wireless is less expensive and can be quickly deployed. We launched Gaia 5G in 2020 as a response to the COVID 19 which proved that despite the proliferation of wireless devices, connectivity itself was lacking. So we are doing our best to close the digital divide. 

It’s sort of a no-brainer for global telcos.

but ! Networks are still rolling out! 

Still, people aren’t sitting around twiddling their thumbs waiting for the telcos to install all of the small cells in their neighborhood, so they can enjoy their content.

It’s pretty good right now.

According to Zenith, people around the globe will watch 25 percent more mobile video than last year. However, 60 percent of video viewing takes place at home via a fixed line broadband connection.

According to speedtest.net, the global fixed broadband download was 46.41 Mbps and wireless was 22.81 Mbps.

Yeah, we know, those are averages and your speed may vary … significantly.

Take the U.S., for example.

It’s in sixth position with broadband with 96.91 Mbps broadband download and ranks 48th with 27.4 Mbps wireless download.

Both are still good enough to download a viewer’s Netflix 4K movie in a few minutes as long as everyone in the household isn’t doing the same thing at the same time.

Outside of Speeds the Force is here! What content creators need to know is, the options to deliver content are now better than ever! Imagine content around the world being streamed on a private wireless network? It’s coming so creators get to creating 5G is here !

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