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CEDIA Keynote Highlights Past, Present, and Future of Streaming Wars

Your customers have unmet needs, even if they don’t know it.

Greg Durkin, founder and CEO of Enact Insight, took to the CEDIA Expo keynote stage Wednesday night to give attendees a glimpse into the past, present, and future of the streaming wars battled daily by consumers and the integrators who serve them.

“There are unmet needs in the consumer population,” he began, “and it’s our role to find some of those needs so you can better serve them.”

CEDIA 2002 Keynote
Greg Durkin, founder and CEO of Enact Insight. Photo by John Staley.

Launching into a quick history of “fumbled futures” by companies and ventures such as pay-per-view television, Blockbuster, and AOL In2TV, Durkin emphasized how organizations often fail to see the true needs of the consumer—and leave opportunities on the table if they are too stubborn to take opportunities right in front of them. Stepping into the present, Durkin highlighted the challenges of providing quality services to streaming consumers.

“With great quality comes great pricing power,” Durkin quipped. “What impacts quality? Great content, great recommendations, and great viewing experiences.”

With so many individual streaming platforms, each with its own content lineup and exclusive series and movies, consumers are too often forced to use clunky interfaces, leading to frustration and disappointment as they search for their favorite shows.

“Recommendations are needed now more than ever,” Durkin added. “I’m blown away with how terrible recommendations are. More than 10,000 movies and series combined were released last year…and there’s no way I can hold all that in my head, so I need help. I need smart algorithms to navigate this mess.”

Unfortunately, as Durkin explained to the audience, the algorithms used by most streaming services are severely lacking, and often offer no real insight into what consumers want.

Refusing to dwell on the issues of modern streaming services, Durkin turned to the future of streaming entertainment. Referencing “The Integrator of 2027,” a recent CEDIA white paper, he highlighted how an “overarching trend will see a move away from product centricity and towards human centricity, or human integration.” Custom integrators who focus on enabling the user with more hyper-personalized experiences will find greater success in the coming years.

Peering into his data crystal ball, Durkin foresees possible mergers and acquisitions ahead for the struggling Paramount, Roku, and Peacock services, as well as reduced pricing for subscription plans at Netflix and Disney+. He also expects a return of moviegoers to theaters—if not quite to pre-pandemic levels. “It’s been written off a dozen times,” he noted. “It’s not done. It’s a shared social experience…and dynamic pricing is really going to help this industry.”

Other predictions from Durkin for the near future of streaming entertainment include standardization and improved navigation across platforms, as well as the evolution of voice navigation and data collection. He also encouraged integrators to focus less on Facebook and explore more modern social media avenues, such as TikTok and podcasts, to engage and reach their clients.

Durkin wrapped up his keynote with four key takeaways for custom integrators:

  • Your customers have unmet needs, even if they don’t know it. Uncover those needs and address them through human-centric solutions.
  • Define your customers by their preferences and behaviors—and use those specs to target them with your services and solutions.
  • Discovery and curation are more important than ever. Help your customers find quality content, in addition to helping improve their viewing experience.
  • Streamers not focused on quality will continue to lose their customers and the streaming wars.