Navigating the rapidly evolving viewing environment is increasingly complex for both users and media providers, as competition for audience attention intensifies.

Service discovery

We have more viewing choices than ever and so many more ways to watch, but it is still difficult to discover how to access audiovisual media services on different devices and displays.

Finding a particular programme can be frustrating, as we are often forced to fight our way through multiple menus and similar but separate user interfaces on various screens.

As viewing moves from traditional broadcast channels to the online world, there has been no standard method for devices and displays to discover services or for media providers to promote them to users.

This presents a significant challenge for previously predominant broadcasters. They are losing their share of viewing in the face of increasing competition for the attention of audiences and attempts by other powerful players to aggregate the user experience.

With billions at stake, the ability to connect viewers with the programmes that they want to watch is the key to unlocking the multiscreen experience.

The problem with current approaches based on individual apps is that media providers must deal with many competing platforms and consumer electronics companies to secure distribution and prominent presentation of their services.

While manufacturers aim to produce products for global or multinational markets, many media services address national or regional audiences. This market fragmentation causes friction and limits economies of scale for all parties.

Despite the growing popularity of online video, many people still rely on traditional television brands, which are often strongly identified with familiar channel numbers. These are associated with viewing habits and a sense of shared experience and cultural identity that remain relevant in the modern media market.

There is a real risk of losing the simplicity of an open competitive ecosystem, in which any device or display can access any available service, whether it is free to view or part of a subscription. This is a crucial concern for regulators that seek to maintain the prominence of public service media while encouraging innovation and the development of new forms of distribution.

How can we manage a smooth transition from broadcast channels to online services while maintaining the usability, accessibility, and availability for all users that open standards have previously delivered?