The move is designed to accelerate and expand the development of Next Gen TV experiences in the U.S. and Europe. Initial projects include the identification and development of leading consumer offerings, business modeling, proof of concept and market trial management, retailer education and service lifecycle management and operations.
This arrangement combines Fincons Group’s expertise deploying Hybrid Broadcast Broadband TV (HbbTV) applications with the Verance Aspect watermark technology, which, Verance said, “enables Next Gen TV experiences to reach 100% of ATSC 3.0 and HbbTV connected TVs, regardless of distribution path (over-the-air, cable, satellite and over-the-top services).”
Initial projects will focus on accelerating Next Gen TV readiness in both markets. Examples include the identification and development of leading consumer offerings, business modeling, proof of concept and market trial management, retailer education and service lifecycle management and operations.
“We are pleased to partner with Fincons Group to provide programmers and manufacturers with additional tools and technologies that help them realize the benefits of Next Gen TV as quickly as possible” said Nil Shah, CEO of Verance. “Together we combine best in class learnings from HbbTV deployments with the ability to maximize the reach, scale and ROI of Next Gen TV in the U.S., Europe and beyond.”
“The convergence of broadcast and broadband enables novel strategies and new revenue streams within the traditional TV space,” said Francesco Moretti, Fincons deputy CEO. “We look forward to partnering with Verance to apply our HbbTV experience to the ATSC environment in the U.S. and include the Aspect watermark into our portfolio for the European market. We’re also excited to announce that we successfully shared our initial versions of Next Gen TV experiences at CES. These were based on direct collaboration with leading U.S. broadcasters and our participation in the ATSC 3.0 Interactive Environment Specialist Group.”
The Verance Aspect technology was selected by ATSC to be a part of the ATSC 3.0 Next Gen TV standard and is currently being adapted for use within the HbbTV ecosystem. By deploying Aspect, Verance said, “programmers gain cross-platform audience measurement data and new revenue opportunities such as audience targeting and addressable advertising; viewers gain more personalized and interactive experiences; device manufacturers gain a new opportunity to market and sell TVs; and advertisers gain linear measurement and attribution capabilities.”
Without Aspect, the reach and scale of Next Gen TV experiences are projected to be significantly smaller. In 2020, only 20% of ATSC 3.0-enabled connected TVs in the U.S. are expected to be able to receive Next Gen TV experiences without Aspect. This is because the metadata and triggers required for these experiences are not carried by cable operators due to their different transmission protocols. Aspect enables this information to be automatically recovered by the TV regardless of distribution path, according to Verance.
Fincons Group is an international IT business consulting and systems integration company focused on the research, development and deployment of HbbTV interactive content and advertising experiences. During the 2018 FIFA World Cup, Fincons partnered with the major Italian private broadcaster, Mediaset, to develop Mediaset Play.The new OTT service combines linear and over-the-top content on connected TVs and enables interactivity through the HbbTV standard.
Viewers enjoyed real-time game highlights on their connected TVs, while also experiencing interactive ads that included the ability to navigate to a mini-site and even book a test drive at the local dealer.
Fincons Group has been involved in many other projects, including the design and implementation of three generations of OTT solutions for the European Sky Group: SkyGo, Sky Online and NowTV in Italy, Germany and Spain. In 2018, Fincons invested in the conversion of HbbTV solutions to the ATSC 3.0 Next Gen TV standard in the U.S.
“We see 2019 as a pivotal year for Next Gen TV market readiness as we look to full market deployment in 2020,” said Eric Anderson, Verance SVP and chief partnership officer. “For the industry to achieve rapid success, it will be vital for both programmers and TV makers to take an integrated business approach combining proven strategy, tech integration, end user service offerings and operations. That is what this partnership achieves.”