Will Autonomous Vehicles Increase Video Consumption?

The video entertainment business is not what it used to be. The receiving device once was a television. These days mobile phones, game consoles, personal computers or tablets also are used, and with increasing frequency.

But the range of use cases (and therefore “devices”) might eventually include a much-greater number of use cases. And at least some tier-one service providers believe automobiles, especially autonomous vehicles, will be added to the list of venues.



In the 5G era, where neither latency nor bandwidth will be barriers, use of self-driving vehicles will become possible.

And though many of the use cases are expected to begin with long-haul trucking, autonomous vehicles will create yet another new venue for “watching video.”

“If you’re not driving yourself to and from work to and from Los Angeles anymore, you can sit in the back seat and let the vehicle take you, what do you get?” asks John Stankey, AT&T Warner Media CEO. “You get another hour or two hours to consume great content that you build every day.:

So the autonomous automobile gets added to the venues and devices where video entertainment is consumed. Just as significantly, the hours per day envelope potentially gets bigger, one might argue.

Of course, it also is possible that people simply shift some amount of viewing from other venues to the “auto.” It also is possible that although the venue changes, the device does not. It is obviously possible that some amount of PC, tablet or smartphone video consumption simply gets shifted from a tethered use case (inside a home) to a mobile use case (in a moving vehicle).

Either way, mobile service providers might see upside. So too might content suppliers and advertising platforms also see gains from increased amounts of usage.



“Why am I bullish on building more content?” Stankey says. “Well, I think that the average number of hours that an individual consumes in a given day might actually increase somewhere in the range of an hour to an hour and a half over the course of the next four years because of that shift.”

And several sorts of shifts could happen: more mobile, more vehicular consumption, more mobile advertising avails, different content formats or display parameters (vertical, not just horizontal aspect ratios, to support smartphone consumption).


In the advertising area, we have been accustomed to the idea that billboards and other forms of outdoor, out of home or place-based and transient advertising, but generally not video as the media type used.

But as smartphones increasingly become media consumption devices, so does out of home or outdoor advertising change. The screen is in the purse or pocket, and is as mobile as the human using that device.

It might take some time, but owning Time Warner might allow AT&T to create a new venue for content consumption and advertising.
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