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The Future of OTT Is in Tailored Experiences, Says Android TV

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One size does not fit all, declared Guillero Martinez, strategic partner development manager for Android TV, speaking at today’s Streaming TV Summit in New York City. Successful platforms need to offer customized ways of discovering content and targeting recommendations for viewers. That's why Android TV opened up its platform, letting developers leverage its tech stack and capabilities.

“We’re trying to keep very modular and stay very modular, all so our partners can pivot quickly from the experiences they're building to something that they find—a new trend or new niche that they can target,” Martinez said.

For OTT services, knowing the individual customer is crucial, he said, as is understanding the experience each is looking for. Rather than offering one-size packages like pay TV did, tomorrow's services need to create customized offerings for different market segment. By offering a modular solution, Android TV aims to help providers adapt to changing needs, he said. For providers, the challenge is identifying those market segments and their unique preferences.

“We're just starting to learn what these new segments of customers are," Martinez said. "Before, everyone would just take their traditional pay TV service and look for the content they wanted to watch.  We’re starting to see people that are more demanding in how they want to consume their content, and what kind of content they want to have, and what they want to see on their home screen.”

Martinez spoke on a panel discussing the next generation of TV distribution, and generated some friction when he said set-top devices were better poised to exploit new technological breakthroughs, as people only buy a new TV set ever five to ten years. That didn’t sit well with panelist Mike O’Donnell, senior vice president of Vizio’s platform business, who reminded Martinez, "You know the operating systems can be updated."

Martinez defended himself from the "low blow" by pointing out that advances happen that aren't supported by current TV hardware. For example, a variety of cloud gaming services will soon be available to consumers, and today’s TVs might not be equipped for their technical requirements.

Looking ahead, Martinez said the upcoming 5G rollout could change how people stream their video. At the moment, most households pay for internet twice, for home and mobile. "There's no real reason why it should be like that," he noted. 5G bundles could change that by allowing customers to buy their internet in a single service. The industry is anticipating this new reality with partnerships between TV studios and wireless carriers, he added.

Photo: Guillero Martinez of Android TV and Cory Carpenter of Mobi TV at the 2019 Streaming TV Summit

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