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Controlling Video via your voice will be the next billion dollar opportunity in Voice

The Voice ecosystem is still nascent, but we already have two billion dollar wins. Largely driven by the Amazon Echo and Google Home, voice will add over a billion dollars in revenue to both streaming music subscriptions and home automation in 2017.

The next market to be super-charged by voice is media and TV. Both cord-lovers and cord-cutters will digest and pay for different content when hands free video comes to your home. We are on the cusp of Google Home and Google Cast synchronizing, and Amazon Echo and FireTV will eventually play well together. Early adoption of Xfinity’s Voice Remote show Voice-driven viewing is delightful – it is time to get ready for billions of dollars to change hands because of voice-driven viewing.


The macro trends: US Consumers still love their Network shows, but the digital shift is happening

The slow move to cord cutting

As you can see from the chart above, digital video is gaining share of the day. While cat videos still go viral, it is mobile viewing and digital-only shows that are causing this shift. In Silicon Valley, AppleTV and Roku are popular, but on average these devices only grew from 9 minutes in 2014 to 13 minutes of daily viewing time in 2015.

Pay-tv is still a $100 billion market, catering to around 100 million subscribers.


The TV Cord is still alive and well


Large players are preparing for the future, but ‘fast followers’ are aggressively pushing digital video

We are seeing the pay-tv players plan for the future, with Dish Network buying Sling TV and DirecTV Now offering a digital solution for $35 per month. However, both companies suffer from Innovator’s Dilemma and are showing signs of letting these services wither on the vine.

The ‘fast followers’ are ready to go after this market, with PlayStation VUE pulling no punches. Both Microsoft and Sony will spend billions to own the new ‘cord-cutting’ population.


Sony going after the Live TV Market

Sony going after the Live TV Market


However, TV is still a ‘hits’ business, where consumers follow and pay for the hottest shows. That said, the hottest show sources are changing rapidly – Seinfeld (NBC) and Grey’s Anatomy (ABC) are being replaced by House of Cards (Netflix) and Game of Thrones (HBO).

We are seeing this happen faster than expected, with a major hit to ESPN last month – losing 621,000 subscribers in October. ESPN used to drive which provider to buy and which package to choose – those days are over.

With non traditional network hits becoming more prevalent, the existing pay-tv providers have never been more vulnerable.

The Digital TV shift accelerant: Voice

Major winners in this TV shift include Google, Amazon and Apple, and Voice will be a key component of their push to own the home.

Voice will be a key component because traversing different video sources and networks is painful. The days of ‘input source’ and remembering channel numbers are over.

Voice is the BEST interface to navigate media from multiple sources and multiple networks.

We have seen early success of Comcast’s Voice Remote, but Amazon Echo + FireTV and Google Home + Cast are going to open the floodgates.

Amazon has a strategic advantage with compelling original and exclusive Prime content, but if Google Home + Cast + YouTube is a delightful experience, watch out. We will find out when Google Home goes live in December (Walt Mossberg says it works okay, not great… yet). Regardless, the future of the Voice First Minority Report will be here by end of Q1.

That is why VoiceLabs built the world’s first hybrid voice bot: an autonomous agent that understands natural language, and responds both with voice and visual. Media companies need to be ready to provide compelling visual experiences that utilize voice. These experiences should utilize existing investment in content, but take a novel and compelling approach that consumers enjoy. Voice-responsive media platforms are coming to millions of homes – be ready for this opportunity. Whether you want better discovery through Google Home, or build apps on top of Fire TV or Apple TV, being voice responsive is a must.

We are just getting started – get ready for billions of video dollars to shift due to Voice

The big thing to remember is the first pitch was just thrown, and this battle will definitely go to Game 7, extra innings. This market is over $100B in the US alone, and Voice will cause billions of dollars to shift hands.

Very soon, instead of watching a movie on Uverse, you will watch a YouTube show because Google Home makes it delightfully easy.

At a dinner party when someone raves about Narcos, you will go home and ask FireTV to play Narcos, and it shows you how to turn on the Netflix subscription to start watching. Later, you ask your Echo or FireTV for a movie and buy it through Amazon, instead of through Uverse or Xfinity.

The bigger picture: Voice re-invigorates the battle for the home hub

There has been a fight for the ‘media hub’ in the home for the past 20 years, but never have the stakes been so high nor the incumbents so ripe for disruption.

It is going to be a wild ride, and billions of dollars will shift over the next few years. Voice is a key component in this shift. Buckle up.

Adam Marchick is the CEO of VoiceLabs, a company dedicated to evolving Voice Applications in the home, car and on the go. VoiceLabs’ initial product is an Amazon Voice Analytics service, which is now the most widely used Alexa service and serves as the foundation for data-driven growth products.

VoiceLabs works with great companies as they adapt to the millions of consumers now using their voice to interact with services, providing engagement and monetization solutions in the emerging Voice ecosystem.