Traditional TV operators have to adapt to the new competitive landscape by offering their own multiscreen OTT platforms, according to Rohit Mehra, VP Sales Americas at Nagra.
The executive will participate in the next edition of NexTV CEO Latin America, the leading conference to be held on November 1 & 2 in Miami, where he will analyze how OTT pay TV will change the TV business, together with executives of Cablevisión Peru, Digital TV Cable from Bolivia and San Luis CTV from Argentina.
Recently, Nagra deployed its end-to-end solution Conax GO Live in Mexico with Ultravisión, which will launch a multiscreen pay TV service in Puebla. Earlier this year, Uruguay’s Montecable also chose this solution for its McGoLive product. In an interview with NexTV News Latam, Mehra referred to the implementation of this type of platforms in Latin America.
-How do you see the deployment of multi-screen OTT platforms in Latin America? Do you consider that operators should migrate towards this model?
Pay-TV service providers are at a crossroads between OTT add-on services and true digital transformation, where the lines between pay-TV and OTT are blurring. But it’s also an exciting time, making way for the next round of innovation. To grow and thrive, service providers must adapt and become what we like to call ‘smartly digital’ operators – by embracing cloudification, actively claiming the content aggregation role and leveraging data-driven principles to define and evolve their consumer propositions.
Traditional TV operators have no choice but to adapt to the new competitive landscape by offering their own multiscreen OTT platforms to keep their customers from cord cutting and cord shaving. With the investments the likes of Netflix, Disney or AT&T-Warner-HBO are putting into production and original programing, not to mention direct-to-consumer distribution, it now makes it very hard for operators to distinguish themselves with the Live TV and VOD services they have been used to for so many years.
In parallel, the rise in programming fees, driven in particular by higher sports rights fees, are eroding broadcast TV delivery margins for MSOs. This has pushed some of them to focus on becoming ISPs, with a clear focus on investing in network technology to increase bandwidth to the customer, while spending less on TV services. In this race among MSOs towards bigger pipes, they are actually making it easier for OTT players to ride on their infrastructure for free and reach their customers over the top with value-added services. This actually poses a major risk for MSOs. Mr Cable Operator – “you own the pipe”, Mr 5G provider- “you own the pipe”, this sounds great yet your strength is not only as the super highway provider with no toll gate, but also in leveraging the potential of video and TV content to claim the new aggregator role to grow ARPU while also improving customer stickiness.
One way for providers to achieve that business goal is for them to offer their own OTT solutions which aggregate, promote and recommend content across multiple OTT provider catalogs and linear programming, giving the consumer access to a true global On Demand and Live content library delivered across all screens.
-What’s your advice for those who want to launch OTT products in Latin America?
The answer is pretty simple for most operators: it’s about giving consumers a seamless access to the content they love on the device they want, where and when they want it.
In this regard, our Pay-TV Innovation Research program findings show that service providers across the globe are making significant investments to improve their core TV offerings. We see progress in the percentage of LATAM service providers that have introduced new features, with 56% (up from 45% in 2017) of them having upgraded their offerings over the past year.
As a general rule, service providers have realized that it is imperative for their long-term success to invest in new products and services, including OTT, even if the regional economic conditions or market outlook is challenging in the short term.
Then once the decision is made to launch an OTT service, flexible subscriber engagement models, new bundling options and marketing tools, partnerships with third party OTT providers, and a continuous drive to bring in more valuable content, based on customer viewing habits and data analytics, are essential for success.
This being said, other dimensions such as Quality of Experience (QoE), scalability and performance are also important business success factors. Ease of finding content and making it available on any device, ensuring the platform is resilient to peak loads, low latency delivery for live content are some important capabilities to keep in mind as well.
-What are Nagra’s goals for 2019 in the region?
Digital transformation, migration to IP and the fight against piracy will be key, along with helping operators monetize their content and enabling new data-driven and cloud-based business models.
Our newest products, including cloud-based user experience (OpenTV Signature Edition) and content protection (NAGRA cloud.SSP) platforms are designed to help service providers simplify, personalize and improve their business operations.
We will of course continue to strengthen operators’ existing services by giving them the features and tools that can enhance their existing NAGRA platform.