The evolution of media consumption

Mervyn Kelly, EMEA marketing director at Ciena, looks at how media consumption trends are rapidly changing, and how the network will need to adapt to cope with evolving service demands.

Tags: Ciena Corporation
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By  Mervyn Kelly Published  April 14, 2012

Mervyn Kelly, EMEA marketing director at Ciena, looks at how media consumption trends are rapidly changing, and how the network will need to adapt to cope with evolving service demands.

The way we consume media is changing more rapidly than ever before. Today, a growing number of consumers are as likely to download or stream content over a smartphone or tablet as watch it on a TV. According to Nielsen’s “Cross Platform Report”, since 2010 there has been an increase of 36.9% in the volume of mobile subscribers watching video on their mobile handset. And there are signs that further change awaits. A recent report by Deloitte has predicted that around five million tablet devices will be sold in 2012 to consumers who already own one, while a range of new services are being launched that connect media platforms with social media tools.

A notable example of this was BT’s recently announced upgrades to its BT Vision service that will now offer integrated social networking options, enabling viewers to share thoughts and recommendations with their social circles. The Connected TV is also predicted to shape media consumption in the near future. With products in the pipeline from giants such as Apple and Google, the connected TV was one of the dominant themes to emerge from CES in January.  Indeed, Futuresource Consulting has predicted that 80% of all TV units shipped by 2012 will be smart devices.

The consumer of today does not just simply watch a film or TV programme. They will stream a film on their tablet while simultaneously tweeting about it on a smartphone. They will surf the web on a TV while Skyping a friend at the same time. Media consumption now takes place over a variety of platforms and is an increasingly communal experience, shared through social networks.

These advances come at a cost, however. If the underlying core network that supports these services does not keep pace with this evolution in media consumption, no matter how advanced the devices used to watch and share content are, the overall user experience is not going to be up to scratch. If operators are going to avoid losing customers to competing service providers with a smoother quality of experience, steps need to be taken today.

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