CASBAA attendees predict future of TV industry

The future of the TV industry took centre stage at the third and final day of CASBAA 2013. IT luminaries joined industry leaders to examine the merits and challenges of new technology innovation, while discussing the industry’s future roadmap.

“The final day of the CASBAA Convention 2013 provided some compelling discussions about the future of TV in the Asia Pacific,” said Marcel Fenez, Chairman, CASBAA. “OTT services, the continuing threat of piracy, the evolution of technology and the changing habits of the next generation of consumers are all playing a role in steering the direction of the broadcasting industry.”

The discussion began with a look at how companies can monetise OTT. Buddy Marini, Managing Director, Hulu Japan asserted that local content is crucial for success. “The big push is to make more local content,” he observed.

Generation C, described by Anthony Zameczkowski, Head of Music, YouTube APAC as those who have grown up with the Internet and generally love to create, collaborate and connect with society, will play a large part of future TV success.

While acknowledging YouTube’s impact, Jeremy Carr, VP, Digital & Syndication, Turner International Asia Pacific said many traditional broadcasters no longer view YouTube as a threat. “We have to try anything available, and understand our audience, our content and market dynamics,” he added. However, Brian Lau, VP, Content & Communication, FOX International Channels noted that the vast amount of illegal content on YouTube and elsewhere online has made it difficult to monetise original content. Lau also added that the audience needs to be educated to value content.

The emphasis on premium content was echoed by Charlie Muirhead, CEO & Founder of Rightster, who said the Internet had given rise to “global niche markets”. “Furthermore,” he said, “high premium content will keep those niche audiences engaged.”

For Tony McGinn, Executive Chairman, MCM Entertainment Group; CEO, Movideo, the future of TV is not YouTube. “Our ultimate job is to pull content back from YouTube,” added Angelos Frangopoulos, CEO, Australian News Channel. When queried whether young audiences had no loyalty to TV channels, participants disagreed. “The young audience worships brands,” said Geraldine Pamphile, VP, International Media Distribution & Global Merchandising Group, NBA Asia, adding that industry players need to produce content that is “truly premium.”

DTH operators agreed. “We use better content to compete, and what we are beating is zero prices,” said Guntur S. Siboro, President Director, Aora TV. “It’s about quality content; if we can provide affordable platforms, people will pay for quality,” said Glen Tindall, VP, Sales, Asia-Pacific, SES, who cited Germany as a good example.

But the Convention also looked at a demographic that has grown up not paying for content. On a panel devoted to “the millennials”, Ben Reneker, Associate Director, SNL Kagan, identified broadband internet connectivity as the generation’s number one communication method. Christine Fellowes, MD, Asia Pacific, Universal Networks International said the pay TV industry needs to “cater to the needs of young consumers who ask for mobility and flexibility.” Ashely Jordan, CEO, Fashion One emphasised the importance of convenience, content, and channel brand in converting viewers to become subscribers to premium content.

Tan Tong Hai, CEO, StarHub argued that the future will be tough for TV, especially with so many “destructive new players” in the market. “We do not know how to handle the piracy issue. Change is also so fast that it is better to hold hands and partner.” Derek Chang, MD Asia Pacific, Scripps Networks called for a strong legal system while Jonas Engwall, CEO, RTL CBS Asia Entertainment Network remarked that “we have to change with the technology.” He added that premium content can be used to fight piracy. Arjan Hoekstra, President and MD, Discovery Networks Asia Pacific, struck a positive note, saying “All of us are strong believers in Pay-TV. We are optimistic and enthusiastic about the future of the industry.”

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