Ian Brotherston, CEO at media facilities business TVT (which acquired the Amsterdam-based DMC play-out company from AMC Networks in July 2017) says that 2017 was proving to be a record year for his company. “We do a lot of work with Netflix and their march seems to go on and on and on. This is inevitably a concern to some of the broadcasters we work with. We work with Netflix across 30 markets, and can see them rolling out content across the world.”
Brotherston said, helped by the expansion of OTT services across the world, he expected 2018 to be another strong year.
“Amazon is joining in [that growth], and we work with them particularly in Asia. We see Amazon as a fearsome group and when they get it right, really do get it right. Disney are saying that they will not share their content and instead launch their own OTT. I think Disney has brand recognition in a way that others haven’t. Consequently, I think for the industry in general in 2017 – at least for their dealings with Netflix, Amazon and Hulu – 2017 was a year that cause some concern. But for us it has been interesting to watch.”
“Here in the UK we have seen Sky say they could quit News, and at the same time Disney saying they might buy Sky. It is just one local element of what’s happening globally more and more, which is consolidation. Discovery buying Scripps, and how might the BBC’s half of UKTV play out?”
He added that the facility and services sectors were even more fast-moving, and to some extent bizarre. “We have seen Arqiva planning an IPO, then pulling it, then looking for a Trade sale, then deciding not to do a Trade sale and thinking about it all again. Then there’s Ericsson, but it is now Red Bee Media, except perhaps they’ll be something else soon.”
“For us, in the Service Provider side of the business, we are almost the opposite. As the BBC gets out of Studios, DeLuxe closing Rushes, etc., we have almost become the ‘firefighters’ rushing into markets, which we hope is the right move. We have bought DMC. We are fitting out new offices in Los Angeles to get close to content owners there. Our other content services businesses in Singapore, Australia and Japan will all help.”
Brotherston said that DMC in Amsterdam, with its all IP playout, was unique in Europe. “Lots of people talk about IP but we are currently playing out 88 channels, all in IP, today [and clients include A+E, AMC, FOX, Liberty Global, Scripps, and Sony Pictures.] Give us another month or two and you can expect some big announcements from us in access services, which will be important news for us.”
“For 2018 we expect more of the same, notably in OTT. What’s key for us is the globalisation of content. The question most asked of us is whether we can make their content work around the world, and most frequently asked by our US customers. They admit that they have no idea how to work in Japan, to give just one example of dozens of markets.”
“In the UK there’s Brexit, and it has been suggested that there could be a 2-year transition. I then tell people that to switch just about anything in this business tends to take at least 18 months, so that clock is already running,” added Brotherston.
“For us, we are investing heavily in Japan where I think we are uniquely placed. On an organic basis we expect to have grown some 50 per cent by March 2018. On an inorganic basis, because of the DMC acquisition, we will grow 100 percent. For 2018’s financial year I expect a minimum of 50 per cent growth again. What I believe we are getting right is an understanding of the global market. Further inorganic growth is possible if the opportunities arise, and with geographic opportunities notably in Asia.”