how pay-TV operators can thrive in a cordless generation

ANGACOM 2017: Making the cut: how pay-TV operators can thrive in a cordless generation

Millennials and Generation Z’s will soon be the dominant age bracket, but these tech savvy consumers are already reshaping the pay-TV landscape. After years of steady growth and being relatively unchallenged, pay-TV operators in mature markets, such as Europe and North America, are facing the chop as younger audiences cut the cord.

Originally, the cord-cutting phenomenon was confined to the United States. However, in recent years it has crossed the Atlantic and the snip of the scissors is starting to resonate across Europe, with the hardest hit being the Benelux and Scandinavian markets as well as some areas in Central and Eastern Europe.

Case in point: Germany

Western Europe appears to be bucking the trend and Germany’s pay-TV market, in particular, has seen steady growth. Germany is one of the largest TV markets with the largest and best-financed public broadcasting system in the world. Since 2012, its pay-TV market has grown 30% and last year alone the number of subscribers increased to 7.8 million.

Of course, just because Germany’s pay-TV market is currently flourishing, it doesn’t mean operators should avoid looking for new ways to enhance their services to attract and retain subscribers. We will be attending ANGACOM in Cologne to discuss how German operators can retain a competitive edge in a market that is competing with an unprecedented number of service providers, by focusing on the following three points:

  1. Getting to know the end-users’ needs better
    Consumers are using more sources than ever before to access content and this is creating an abundance of data, around 2.5 billion GB a day.  Operators need to harness this data to identify consumer’s habits and tailor their services accordingly. Besides the portfolio optimization, effectively utilising this data, operators can retain a competitive edge by driving personalisation and recommendation, which will ultimately enhance the consumer experience. For example, a fan of Orange is the New Black is more likely to be interested in Stranger Things rather than a period drama. However, by supporting the full range of public, private and premium content sources operators can offer easily more than “safe” options in order to let subscribers discover new content.
  2. Providing easy access to both personal content and external sources
    In the TV Everywhere age, it is crucial that operators enable media distribution on all devices and between all screens. The proliferation of personal devices, such as smartphones, laptops and tablets, means consumers expect content to be available anytime, anywhere and on any device. Furthermore, end-users love to access content “right-away” without the need of remembering where to which content is available. Operators and content brands can cooperate to enable a one-stop solution for content consumption, applying a shop-in-shop system for the accordingly integrated brands as well as lowering the costs to reach the end-users. Thus, creating one solution to access all types of content from private to premium is key.
  3. Not compromising on security
    Whilst operators need to provide consumers with seamless access to all types of content, they must also fulfil the latest studio obligations on security and content protection.

Enabling easy distribution of content across all devices of a service including e.g. place-shifting functionality and maintaining the necessary level of security is the key to providing such services without headaches. In 2014, we launched ACCESS Twine™ to address this growing requirement and to be able to apply multiple Digital Rights Management and Conditional Access technologies within one single solution. Last year, we also extended our partnership with Verimatrix to ensure that there is a future-proof solution that caters to all media sources and all devices without requiring operators to invest in costly solutions for each.

Whilst the cord-cutting phenomenon is a concern for pay-TV operators, there are steps that can be taken to recapture the eyes of the cordless generation. By using the right technology, operators can enhance their services and ensure they remain competitive in a rapidly changing TV landscape.

Published by Robert Guest

Robert is VP Product and Content at ACCESS Europe, with a focus on HTML5 platforms and media sharing solutions, including industry specific extensions such as HbbTV and W3C Vehicle APIs, so that ACCESS customers can deploy standards based state of the art products. He has been involved in projects with major customers in both automotive and TV and ensures a customer focused development strategy for ACCESS. His role involves working with telcos, middleware suppliers, STB OEMS, automotive tier 1s and automotive OEMS to ensure that ACCESS products deliver the features needed in these fast evolving markets.

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