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TIMVISION: the future of TV is waiting to be discovered

Over the years, TIMVISION has carved out a significant space for itself among video streaming big players, particularly thanks to strategic partnerships. With Andrea Fabiano, TIM's VP Multimedia, we explore the prospects for a sector that offers great opportunities stemming from the convergence between the web and content distribution.

09/09/2020 - 04:55 PM

TV and digital technology are increasingly synonymous and TIMVISION is among the protagonists of this cultural revolution that involves every main player in the industry, from traditional media to consumer electronics manufacturers, plus of course telecommunications operators. We discussed this with Andrea Fabiano, TIM's VP Multimedia, who in recent days took part in the Dogliani TV and New Media Festival.   

How has TIMVISION managed to carve out a significant space for itself in the Italian video streaming market alongside giants like Netflix and Amazon Prime?

The television market has changed dramatically over the last three years and our top management felt the need to develop a new strategic approach which in just over a year has begun to produce its first significant results. TIMVISION aspires to become the most important Italian television hub, through which TIM customers, current and future, can easily, comfortably and affordably access the best entertainment content and services available in Italy.

TIM has established major partnerships over the past few months. Netflix, Disney, Mediaset, DAZN, Chili, NowTV have further expanded their already very extensive offer. What is TIMVISION’s distinctive strength?

TIM and TIMVISION are natural partners and, given the value and complementary nature of our assets, we believe they are ideal for publishers and streaming platforms.
We provide them with creative and communicative skills, our commercial network and knowledge and our relationship with customers, plus the TIMVISION Box, a high quality technological, editorial and user experience platform. This platform integrates and ensures the coexistence of digital terrestrial TV with the contents of TIMVISION’s proprietary offer and those of partners who are increasingly confident to work with us and entering into important multi-year agreements, including exclusive ones, as in the case of Disney for the Disney+ service. Furthermore, customers who choose the TIMVISION Box, a device based on Google's Android TV system, are able to access all the apps available in the Play Store and fully customise their experience. We believe we have all the credentials to generate value for our partners, our customers and therefore ourselves.

What is the reason for transitioning to the new logo with the enhanced “TV” acronym?  Is the intention to highlight the value of a strictly TV-based experience which now makes technology transparent?

Playing with the initials of TIM and VISION, Luca Josi developed the original idea of recreating the most popular entertainment acronym to associate it with the TIM brand and therefore instantly and simply communicate that ours is a special kind of television that has all other televisions (and more) inside it, in order to meet the needs of all our customers, as TIM has always done.


Andrea Fabiano, VP Multimedia di TIM, speaking at the TV and New Media Festival in Dogliani

When TIM started working on an Over the Top TV service over ten years ago, one of the gambles we took was to bring the internet to television audiences, particularly as a way to drive the uptake of broadband and subsequently optical fibre connections. Has the gamble paid off?

Television and entertainment in general have always been an important lever for gradually connecting all Italians to the Internet. The gamble has indeed paid off thanks to the great work done in recent years on the broadband network and communication front, featuring commercial offers in which connectivity and services (above all television) increasingly go hand in hand and which the pandemic of recent months has further and decisively accelerated. There remains a lot of work to be done and many new things for us to build and discover, but the direction and the goal to be achieved are very clear.

Many experts and observers predicted that internet TV, freed of scheduling constraints, would diversify the content on offer compared to traditional TV, multiplying it and introducing new languages. Is this really happening?  And how is TIMVISION contributing to this trend?

The television offer panorama has structurally changed: The Internet has created an environment that has favoured an exponential multiplication of the editorial offer, allowing radical innovation to take place: language, content, communication, programming logic and finally experience of use. We have brought in an incredible number of new creative talents and production companies from all over the world. TIMVISION is an active part of this system, purchasing and producing original content, as well as continuing to engage in editorial collaborations with partners to promote and enhance their content among customers.


TIMVISION Floating Theatre's Billboard

The role of sport and live events is increasingly important for OTT-TV, and thanks to agreements with Lega Calcio, MotoGP and others, TIMVISION has always been a leader in this sector. Now, however, Amazon and Netflix are also introducing live services. Should we expect a new battle between the giants, leading to a fragmentation of the offer similar to the one that currently afflicts broadcasting, or will we be able to find a more useful framework for users?

In TV entertainment, not only of the premium variety, competitions and sporting events have always been an important resource for rapidly building an offer capable of sparking the interest of large and highly motivated groups of passionate audiences. Sport has thus far played a secondary role in the field of Internet TV for a series of market-related, economic and technological reasons that are in the process of being overcome. It is however expected to become part of the structure of streaming players. Any further fragmentation of the sports offer will generate a demand for simplification and aggregation from customers. Players that aggregate these offers will be able to provide a very useful and attractive response. And this is what TIMVISION already offers customers today with a commercial offer that allows them to enjoy all the football and sports content of the DAZN and NOWTV services by paying a single subscription through the TIM account, which includes the TIMVISION box and contents.

Over The Top TV is typically a multidevice experience: its accessibility on many different devices is a key to its success and innovative reach in the viewing experience offered to viewers. TIMVISION is also a multidevice service, but lately there has been a significant relaunch on the TIMVISION Box. What prompted you to do this?

The TIMVISION Box is a fundamental lever in our strategic approach. This device allows us to materialise the “hub” positioning we want to achieve in the eyes of our customers, giving it a physical presence. The television offer has grown exponentially, in terms of both quality and quantity, and is accessible through increasingly smart devices: the problem is that moving within this horizon can often be complex and inconvenient for customers. Our answer is the TIMVISION Box, a device based on Android TV technology and therefore perfectly integrated into the ecosystem of our strategic partner Google. It allows our customers to get to know and enjoy the content and services of interest to them in a single environment and with a recently renovated interface. Free digital terrestrial channels, the streaming content from TIMVISION and our partners, apps and games that can be downloaded freely by customers from the Play Store are easily accessible,  presented in an integrated way, and searchable through the Google vocal search engine. The TIMVISION Box is an option for our customers, but is included in the price of premium commercial offers such as NowTV & Dazn, World Netflix and World Entertainment, which integrates Disney +, Netflix and TIMVISION into a single subscription.

For just over a year, entertainment service activities, starting with TIMVISION, have been brought back under the responsibility of the Brand Strategy & Media Department, which therefore now integrates communication, media centre and content. What is the basis of this model and what are its objectives?

The model adopted by TIM is truly unique and responds to a precise vision developed and shared with the CEO Luigi Gubitosi, the Chief of Strategy Carlo Nardello, and the Chief Brand Strategy and Media Luca Josi: creating a creative hub that governs and operationally manages communication, advertising planning, advertising enhancement of business touchpoints and entertainment services through systematic synergies between these activities and cross-cutting projects rigorously designed and managed internally. The new original TIMVISION productions, which will see the light from next autumn, are the natural setting for implementing this vision.

What are the first TIMVISION original production projects?

In the space of a few months, despite the production difficulties caused by the pandemic, we have been able to set up numerous original projects designed by Luca Josi with the dual objective of re-aggregating our customers around their passions and working on TIM's areas of interest. A first ambitious project is the “Riccardo Muti Academy”, in which we followed the Academy organised for many years in Ravenna by the Italian conductor, and sponsor of TIM's latest 5G commercial, to train the conductors of the future. An unprecedented journey into the world of opera and classical music, led by Muti, that improves our understanding and passion for these arts. The second project is linked to the ever deeper relationship between people and animals: with Chiara Giordano in the role of “Doctor Giordy” we will inhabit a country farmhouse where love and attention for animals, even the most unusual, are the absolute protagonists. Another major project is dedicated to primary schools: for each school year, we will release a fun and engaging video lesson with which to revise the main subjects of the school curriculum. An initiative conceived before the outbreak of the pandemic, which now takes on an even deeper significance. Finally, we will be telling the often little known and surprising success stories of small, medium and large Italian companies, beginning with their products.

The streaming services market is opening up new job opportunities for all creative professions, especially those that are keeping up with the new forms of use and new technologies. Who are the most sought after professionals in the sector?

We are witnessing a rapid development of skills and talents in this area of business that need to be developed, integrated and networked based on collaboration models that are radically different from traditional ones. The professional supply chain of streaming services is particularly complex and ranges from typical entertainment world skills, such as those related to content, marketing and communication, to the new skills typical of the complex digital world: from the system of collecting, analysing and using data to customer relations, the relationship with business partners, the design and development of the customer experience and service functions, content management and publication systems and the design, development and management of the platform.