ATSC 3.0: learning from HbbTV and back

ATSC 3.0: learning from HbbTV and back

HbbTV has already been an evolving reality in Europe for over a decade and in fact the US has put Europe’s experience to good use and has avoided falling into the same common pitfalls in the early stages of launching their own equivalent standard: ATSC 3.0.

22 November 2021
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Hybrid Broadcast Broadband TV (HbbTV) is both an industry standard and a digitalisation initiative for hybrid digital TV to harmonise the delivery of entertainment to the end consumer through connected TVs

On the back of Europe’s experience, the US are poised to launch next generation platforms directly in line with their OTT efforts. However, currently lessons learned from the US’ ATSC 3.0 implementation are bouncing back to Europe encouraging further investment in innovation to keep up with consumer demand. In particular, improving user experience (UX) and personalisation through AI/ML applications and enhancing addressable TV advertising through the introduction of Programmatic models are areas where Europe can’t risk falling behind.

Broadcasters need to start putting a strong focus on new UX case studies to keep up with evolving consumer expectations, derived from other technology such as Machine Learning which continues to improve. Keeping in mind that viewers ultimately turn to their TV sets to watch great content, any attempt at a UX facelift needs to be designed with a few base guidelines in mind. To help increase UX and to keep the viewer at the forefront of planned changes here are a few helpful tips:

  • Think continuity of experience – ensure Next Gen TV encompasses both traditional and on demand TV viewing adhering to common guidelines across different devices and channels (this is a key objective for the ATSC 3.0 consortia in projects like the Phoenix pilot coordinated by Pearl TV focusing on guaranteeing a common layer of UX primitives to be adopted by all broadcasters; 
  • Provide simple, consumable and personalized content – the direction and availability of content needs to combine what’s possible with what’s practical; personalised Smart Watching use cases, consisting of personalised data-driven navigation of content, can be implemented based on ML metadata enhancement, e.g. watching a recorded Formula1 Gran Prix by jumping through most relevant events such as overtakes, interviews, collisions with a preferred race team focus;
  • Video on demand is also providing a platform for two-pronged approach short forms concerning both content and advertising allowing personalization and viral social media distribution; 
  • Viewers are expecting uninterrupted viewing of relevant content – therefore restart and binge-watching functionalities enabled on connected TVs allow for the combination of the UX effects of linear and on demand TV;
  • TV is a shared device and the experience needs to be considered communal - however, some level of customization and personalisation can be guaranteed through companion device pairing with the TV screen;

What are the benefits of targeted advertising? 

It is clear that adverts are also transitioning towards data-driven experiences, as targeted ads make their way to HbbTV with broadcasters quickly realising the addressable advertising potential of Hybrid TV. AI-powered OTT advertising enables contextual advertising, for example, which displays advertising based on video context recognition. 

This is a prime example of the marriage between linear TV and OTT TV and of how user experience on the main screen can fully exploit the potentials of broadcast and broadband convergence, and novel applications based on content metadata enrichment can enhance the personalisation of actions and also simplify the necessary Digital Value Chain process renewal, by shifting the complexity of metadata enhancement to the end of the chain, leveraging the ML engines instead.

Even though Europe set the roadmap for ATSC 3.0, the US has revealed new potential for HbbTV which European broadcasters need to heed in order to remain competitive in global markets. Using the experience of US counterparts, European broadcasters must focus their attention on the next level of user experience and personalisation whilst unlocking the benefits of targeted advertising in order to keep ahead of evolving trends in the HbbTV world.

Oliver Botti
Fincons Group
SVP Executive Sales Director Global Business Unit Media