Research: Innovation ‘top priority’ for pay-TV executives

The latest findings from the 2017 Pay-TV Innovation Forum, the survey of pay-TV industry executives globally, suggests that 76 per cent of respondents believe innovation is a top priority, citing the launch of new products and services as the best way to maintain and grow their businesses in a highly competitive market environment.

The research, carried out by content protection and multiscreen television solutions specialist NAGRA, and MTM, a leading international research and strategy consultancy, surveyed senior pay-TV executives around the world, investigating their views on the main growth challenges facing pay-TV businesses and the most important commercial opportunities that lie ahead.

Increasingly, many operators are witnessing a slowdown in revenue growth, with 46 per cent of respondents reporting difficulties maintaining growth – up from 40 per cent in 2016, with competition from other content distributors (84 per cent) and OTT providers (70 per cent, up by 22 per cent from 2016) as key challenges. Content piracy is also a significant challenge for pay-TV operators, with 54 per cent of respondents agreeing that it will lead to greater pressure on the industry over the next five years and less than a quarter (24 per cent) believing it is a diminishing problem.

Seventy-four per cent of those surveyed believe that innovation has become more important to the pay-TV industry over the previous 12 months, and 92 per cent of respondents agree that launching new products and services will be integral to driving growth. Half also stated that building strategic partnerships with content providers will be key to ensuring their future.

Operators are already taking steps to be more competitive, having launched or planning to introduce new services over the next five years, including virtual reality or 360-degree video content solutions (52 per cent), mobile-first TV services (70 per cent) and standalone OTT and SVoD platforms (85 per cent).

“These initial findings indicate that pay-TV providers globally recognise the tough environment in which they operate,” said Simon Trudelle, Senior Director, Product Marketing, NAGRA. “While at first it may appear that they are facing a more competitive marketplace, with pressures from new entrants and pirates, it’s encouraging to see that 76 per cent believe innovation to be a top priority and over nine in ten agree that launching new services will be critical drivers to growth. By developing new innovations, accelerating business transformation and building strategic partnerships with content providers, operators can ensure they are fit-for-purpose into the future.”

“The initial results from this survey and our forums with industry executives around the world confirm the widespread perception that the pay-TV industry is facing increasing competition, not only from legitimate commercial services but also from illegal pirate services,” said Jon Watts, Managing Partner, MTM. “By continuing to innovate through investments in new app-based solutions and OTT services, as well as developing new packaging and pricing options for consumers, operators are investing for the future. Best-in-class providers should be well positioned to grow, but the challenging market environment is set to continue.

The Pay-TV Innovation Forum’s final research report will be available in September 2017.

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