By Chris Donkin

AT&T eyes spot in social content revolution

Entertainment providers must deliver premium content that is as simple to share as user-generated alternatives and directly engages with the next generation of consumers, AT&T Mobility and Entertainment president David Christopher argued.

“People say premium content is losing popularity. That’s just not true,” he remarked. “We all need to be embracing how consumers are engaging with content and there’s one thing that’s clear – the future of mobile is video and the future of video is mobile.”

“The bad news for us as an industry is if we don’t engage these audiences now, we’re going to miss out on an enormous opportunity. We run the risk of losing these customers to providers who are listening to them.”

Speaking at yesterday’s keynote on connected content, Christopher said his company already introduced a number of consumer-friendly features following integration between AT&T’s wireless service and pay-TV play DirectTV, but added it had “just scratched the surface”.

Integration of Time Warner assets, he said, would enable the company to continue “testing, learning and iterating” a range of next generation broadcast services designed to boost engagement with younger consumers.

He noted millennials and younger people want to consume media which is “simple, social and real” rather than traditional forms of video.

In a bid to tap this market, the company started developing content with “social elements” built-in, such as being able to engage directly with the characters of the show online using social media accounts attributed to the stars of programmes.

“Our merger with Warner Media will allow us to lean into this space even more,” Christopher said.

He added other consumer pain points include issues sharing premium video with friends and a “tyranny of choice on what to watch”. To overcome these, he said, platform providers need to ensure customers don’t have to work to access videos they want to see.