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For Virtual MVPDs, the Answer is Relevant Content and the Right Interface

NEW YORK — A mix of the right price, more relevant content and a user interface that doesn’t look like a 1980s spreadsheet are key drivers to the future success of over-the-top, virtual MVPD services, a panel of experts said at the Next TV Summit.

The latest kids on the block — Hulu’s Live TV and YouTube TV — were launched at price points of $40 and $35 per month, respectively, less than half the $80-plus monthly charge for traditional TV. But during “The New TV Distributors” panel discussion, Tim Connolly, Hulu senior VP, head of distribution and partnerships, said a combination of strong content and better technology will win the day.

“The user experience on your cable service basically hasn’t changed in 15 years,” Connolly said, adding that at Hulu, they jokingly call the typical cable electronic programming guide “Excel for your TV.”

Connolly said Hulu Live is targeting millennials with a recipe of low prices, a modern “this generation” user interface and, within the UI, the ability to bring together live TV, on-demand, DVR and subscription VOD in one place.

“The users don’t care where [content] is, they just want to watch their show,” Connolly said, adding that while Hulu Live is clearly missing some networks, customers are getting tremendous value for the price point.

YouTube TV and Google Fiber director of content partnerships Heather Moosnick agreed, adding that content that is relevant to younger users is key. “There’s a lot of fan content on YouTube where they get very deep into their passion for content,” Moosnick said.

She pointed to the estimated 20 million millennials who are cord-cutters or cord-nevers, and that 30% of millennials say they will cut the cord in the next year.

“That’s a huge shift in behavior and willingness to pay,” Moosnick said.