Pay-TV multiscreen will stave off OTT

Despite the dire competitive threat posed by OTT services, pay-TV operators can thrive by investing in additional service offerings that should include multiscreen services to more than make up for the erosion in their customer base, according to IHS Screen Digest.

Speaking at the IHS PEVE Entertainment 2013 Conference, Guy Bisson, research director for television at IHS, noted that although European cable operators have lost 1.4 million households, they have gained 17.8 more revenue-generating units (RGUs), during the five-year period from 2007 through 2012.

While cable operators in Europe and other regions are expected to lose more households in the coming years, RGUs will continue to increase, driving revenue growth for the industry. The attached figure presents the IHS history and forecast of cable households and RGUs for the 27 countries of the European Union.

“The pay-TV industry today is facing an increasingly competitive environment that is not helped by the recent entrance of platform-agnostic OTT services like Netflix, Amazon and others,” Bisson told the audience at PEVE. “To stave off this threat, pay-TV operators during the past few years have been offering services based on the triple-play of television, Internet and telephony. However, operators now need to offer new services, including mobile telephony, Wi-Fi access outside of the home and multiscreen, OTT-like access to video on the move. These services will be required for pay-TV operators to continue cultivating new RGUs in the future.”

“If a pay-TV operator is facing competition from Netflix, multiscreen represents the first step in fending off the competitive threat,” Bisson said. “By making pay-TV less TV-centric—i.e., allowing access on tablets, laptops and smartphones, and enabling TV to be moved around the house and on the road—multiscreen becomes an attractive alternative to OTT. However, to deliver multiscreen content effectively, pay-TV operators will have to take the next step, investing in their own content-delivery networks (CDN).”

“Embracing the CDN will become increasingly important for pay-TV operators as a means of delivering mass-market television to multiple platforms over the Internet,” Bisson said. “As operators add multiscreen services to their portfolios, building CDNs makes sense and allows them to transition their operations into a lucrative new area. By doing this, pay-TV operators can transform the Internet from a threat into an opportunity as well as open up new business opportunities by servicing the content distribution needs of their content partners.”

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