Connected TVs to be key for pay-TV ops to stave off OTT threat

Joseph O'Halloran | 15-10-2013

Research from Irdeto has revealed that smart or connected TVs are the most important devices for operators’ future revenues as they battle against over-the-top firms.

In its survey of broadcast industry professionals at the recent IBC 2013, the media protection, multiscreen and revenue assurance solutions provider confirmed the thoughts of many broadcast industry professionals that over-the-top (OTT) entrants are the biggest threat to broadcasters and pay-TV operators.

Indeed it found that just over half (53%) of respondents feel threatened by OTT plaguing traditional broadcasting and pay-TV options. More or less the same percentage said that subscription-based models are the best revenue-generating stream for premium content, followed by rental (15%), download-to-own (13%) and ad-funded (10%).

In addition, and in somewhat of a surprise said Irdeto, just over two-fifths (41%) of respondents saw connected or smart TVs as crucial to an operator’s future strategy.

Irdeto speculated that this may be due to the variety of content increasingly available on a big screen. It added though that there was no doubt that continued development of a seamless, intuitive user interface was required. Only 33% identified tablets as the most important device for future content revenues, and smartphones were considered the key device by 12% of respondents.

A potential disconnect also emerged amongst respondents regarding the multiscreen priorities of operators and what is desired by consumers. Live sports streaming and a consistent cross-device user experience were what respondents felt was most in demand by the consumer, with 24% of respondents choosing each of these options. Even though only 9% of respondents felt that consumers desired personalised recommendations most, 26% indicated that personalisation was most desired by operators from their multiscreen vendor.

Investigating its core business, Irdeto’s research found that only a fifth cited piracy as the biggest threat to broadcasters and pay-TV operators, and 38% noted that improving existing services was the most crucial aspect in mitigating piracy. A third of respondents felt that shortening content release windows was important, while the same amount felt there should be a broadening of geographic availability. Only 22% called for more stringent protection measures.

“The trend research we conducted at IBC only underscores the increasing importance of compelling multiscreen services,” commented Irdeto’s VP marketing, Godert Burghard. ”Broadcasters and operators must move from the experimentation stage and focus on the multiscreen experience, as that’s what really drives revenue and loyalty. They must also not forget about the threat of piracy, which requires a blended approach encapsulating content windows, geographic availability and consumer education.”