Carlos Miranda, CTO at Dish Mexico: ‘The vMVPD model will be consolidated, but not in the short or medium term’

Another of the panels that was developed during the last Nextv Series Mexico’s virtual edition was called ‘Pay TV moves towards a new OTT era’. There, several key topics related to the issue were discussed, including DTH and OTT strategies; Hybrid STBs, vMVPDs and the new competition with cable; as well as new challenges in content security.

For the discussion, Dataxis gathered a team of industry executives who are experts on the matter, such as Carlos Miranda Matzumoto, CTO at Dish Mexico; Natalia Arboleda, Consulting Sales Manager at Verimatrix; and Cristiano Benzi, SVP Global – Professional Video at Eutelsat.

‘From a technological point of view, our industry is immersed in the world of entertainment. This way, what I notice is that the entertainment industry is the one in transition, due to digital hyperconvergence. Now, as part of the entertainment industry, I do not see pay TV in a transition process, but in a transformation process, Miranda said.  ‘What I see in the TV industry is a hyperconvergence of content, because the available platforms no longer only include TV shows. Many of the most consumed content are short videos, video blogs, courses, and others. It is another type of content that is being produced, consumed, and that we must collect on the platforms for which we are responsible. This is not the future, it is the present. We are living a continuous process of innovation. Flexibility and being capable of reacting  is required to be part of this world’, added the executive.

Regarding how he analyzes the current migration towards a new OTT era by pay TV operators in Latin America, and the role of Verimatrix in this process, Arboleda stated that ‘we see two main drivers in the migration process to OTT: on the one hand, the loyalty and retention that operators must have today, closely related to having more content alternatives. Additionally, independence of the access networks is required. Those are the drivers that we see mainly in the transition to OTT. The main challenge lies in analyzing how to have a flexible platform that can be managed based on uncertain forecasts that are more difficult to determine in OTT. From that point of view, the role of Verimatrix has been related to creating a way to keep content safe, because it is on the part of content providers; and also the money flows of the operators, which can be affected by piracy. To make it flexible with uncertain forecasts, there are options in the cloud that allow flexibility and that speed to react quickly to changes in the industry and consumption patterns, being able to do so in a safe way, protecting both users and to operators and content providers’.

‘Verimatrix was a pioneer in the IP part, when no one was betting on it, and the idea of ​​cable operators and traditional systems was still deeply rooted’, said Arboleda. ‘In addition, Verimatrix bet on having large amounts of integrations, because we understand that one of the most important things for the operator is having content alternatives available’, she added. In addition, the executive said that ‘today, STBs are required to be hybrids, largely due to the need to continue making use of the traditional networks already deployed, both cable and satellite, which must continue to be used because they are large investments, but they want to be promoted with other types of extra services, such as interactive services that are being given with the OTT part; or content aggregations in third-party applications such as Netflix or Amazon Prime Video. Whatever the way to access the content, the important thing is that the content is protected’.

In relation to the emergence of vMVPDs and whether they will remain over time, Arboleda stated that at Verimatrix they see “a trend for these types of services to continue to exist, and they have many advantages’. Likewise, Miranda stated that ‘it is a trend that I do not think will reverse, but its consolidation will not be immediate, because there are many problems. One of them is legal, because the discussions that have taken place in the regulatory entities of each country regarding what to do with this content that is distributed directly through the network, where the owner of the media is a third party one, will take time to be homologated and established as a standard way. The other is linked to technology infrastructure. There are large regions of the planet that do not have the service with the level of quality and affordability for the final consumer. If a technology of this type cannot be massified, it cannot be made profitable. This issue is going to end up consolidating around the world, but not in the short or medium term’.

In addition, regarding the role that satellite will play in the growing use of 4K and higher resolutions through OTT services, Benzi stated that ‘as satellite operators, we are working a lot on 4K, with initiatives to help customers, operators, and provide technological support. For example, we have helped RAI (Italian Radio Television) launch its first 4K satellite channel. It is the first case of a national public operator to launch a quality service. In general, in satellite traffic, 4K has not been a great success so far. There are many operators that launch 4K productions and want to launch channels, but they do not have a very strong editorial offer. It is much easier to develop 4K channels and content on demand, through a 4K platform, if you have enough bandwidth. It is very difficult nowadays for satellite operators to feed a channel entirely in 4K’, explained the executive.