Fincons and the major change in the broadcasting landscape
Fincons Group started out as a software house in Italy 39 years ago. It is now one of the leading international players in lT business consulting and system integration.
It supports the technological and digital transformation of many clients in different industries, from media, financial services, energy and utilities, manufacturing, and transportation to public administration as well as international institutions. The Group has built its reputation by delivering tailored end-to-end digital solutions.
"Fincons is a consulting company, family company, 39 years old active in the IT market. It started in Italy and pretty soon expanded in Switzerland, which are now our domestic markets. And most recently, in the last five years, we expanded internationally all organic," says Francesco Moretti, Deputy CEO and CEO International Region of Fincons Group, which covers France, Germany, the UK and the US.
The company threads carefully as it heavily relies on its relationship with its customers.
"We definitely invest and support and back our customer, no matter what, because that's the only way we can achieve the growth," says Moretti. "Having the trust of our customers that can involve us more and more into their huge transformation initiatives."
"We can't afford to fail because otherwise, we will be out of the market. The only way we have grown in the past is definitely having the trust of the people at the customer side that ask us to do more and more over time," he says.
"The way we do business quite openly, we're looking for partners that will provide criticism, will provide input, are willing to engage at a personal level and understand each other's positions, but more importantly, guide each other towards a combined vision," says Senior VP of Advanced Technology, Mark Aitken. "This is walking alongside each other for quite a while to achieve combined success."
According to Moretti, Fincons proposition to enter the US market coincided with what Sinclair was already doing in terms of transforming audience engagement, therefore teaming up was straight-forward.
"And what we found is definitely that they were executing what we had in mind once we landed in the US: creating the first compelling experience to accelerate the adoption of ATSC" says Moretti. "Our contribution come from what we had gained in terms of experience and skillset implementing Hybrid TV Apps in Europe with HBBTV (Hybrid Broadband Broadcast TV technology) that combine awareness of business uses-cases to drive additional monetization for broadcasters both in terms of creating additional AD inventory and leveraging all the content catalogue."
"And the most compelling part of it is definitely the long-term view because the market is still rolling out. Adoption is still increasing, so much more is to be done there. And of course, the dream is really to execute the best part of it."
To achieve its ambition to cater to its customers' ever-growing demands, Fincons established several strategic partnerships, such the one with Sinclair Broadcast Group, which is the pioneer of the ATSC 3.0 technology, also known as NextGen TV.
"We are growing very rapidly in the US market thanks to some key experience and capabilities that we have, especially in the NextGen TV segment, which is giving us the opportunity to be known in the market and then bringing further additional capability that we do have in the IT industry in terms of system integration and software development and supporting our customers' digital transformation," says Moretti.
The company brought its European hybrid television insights into the United States when it started its venture in the country in 2017. The technology essentially combines broadcast and broadband to offer a more compelling experience and engagement in TV to the audiences.
"Essentially, we brought the business perspective of what to do with NextGen and, in particular, our experience was coming from 2013 and 2014 with research initiatives together with European broadcasters that rolled out the first POCs in the HBBTv that were related to interactive audience engagement," Moretti says.
Fincons had its first launch in production with Mediaset, one of its customers in Europe, in 2016. The business partnership offers a broadcast app for the European market that combines personalised viewership of the audience, bringing vertical content and combining addressable advertising. This is a common model for the OTT space. However, it is implemented over the DTV in this partnership.
"It gave the broadcast an opportunity to monetize and maybe sometimes surpass the OTT space giving a more personalised experience of the television," says Moretti. "It is certainly the case that the reason that we've teamed up in several different efforts is the longstanding role that they've had in the European marketplace. They've got decades plus experience in this television interactive environment."
The all-new ATSC technology from Sinclair, according to Moretti, has unlocked the ability to have this convergence of linear television and OTT and all of the tools of the web available in one working environment.
"Speaking about monetisation, which can have a variety of angles, of course, advertising is the first easier part of the ideal placement," says Moretti. "So when I'm looking for something on the TV that's interesting for me, and I can buy it through the television engagement going to a further immersive experience when you are watching a live game, a live sports game in terms of gaming, or even betting where this is allowed."
The technology is able to do it thanks to all the consented data collection that can help the broadcaster offer a much more tailored experience to the viewer.
"Personalisation of the television environment, the big screen environment is important, as well as understanding the nature of that audience," says Aitken. "But with the mobile possibilities of this standard that are being brought more and more into focus, that personalisation is very personal, down to that individual user. So having the foresight to design towards that goal and capabilities is exceptionally important."
This partnership between Fincons and Sinclair, aside from providing new opportunities to the customers, also leverages the skills and position that Fincons has in that market.
"[I am really proud] to team up with one of the forefront leading innovative companies, which is also helping us to really understand future thinking that is definitely fostering our growth. So we are looking to the next 40 years and establishing these long term partnerships with our customers," says Moretti.
"They've got decades plus experience in this television interactive environment," says Aitken. "As engineers, the technology may perform right, but it doesn't take into account the human experience. So lifting this over to that side of the equation has been an eye-opening experience. It's been a rewarding experience that Fincons have brought to the table."