By Kavit Majithia
Viacom boss proclaims era of premium mobile video
Bob Bakish, CEO of entertainment giant Viacom, expressed confidence mobile video is primed for take-off after initially struggling to create monetary value, tipping 5G to take the segment to another level.
In a keynote presentation, Bakish recalled evangelising about the huge potential mobile had in the distribution of entertainment since 2014. While its potential was always clear, he said the journey since then had “not been always straightforward”.
“Consumers seemed to love the convenience of mobile video, but too few of them have been willing to pay extra for it, suggesting we have been working too far ahead of the curve. Recently however, there are signs that it is about to change.”
Following “a false dawn or two”, the Viacom executive pointed to traction both in the number of mobile networks it is working with and the growing size of the subscriber base as evidence that “the time for premium mobile video is now”.
“All the enablers are in place to build a valuable mobile video ecosystem.”
Bakish noted his company has struck numerous partnerships with content players and operators alike in its bid to continue to grow the ecosystem across 4G networks. But to advance the segment further, he said companies must look at the “mobile promise offered by 5G”.
“Following the pre-mobile TV and mobile TV eras, we’re standing on the precipice of the advanced video experience era.”
He explained that this era will combine 5G connectivity, next-generation devices and existing and new forms of premium content, including likely augmented reality, to “push mobile to the forefront of video consumption”.
Bakish added such advanced video experiences will “truly allow mobile to distinguish itself from other delivery networks as an entertainment medium. And it’s something to begin to plan for because it’s not far away.”