Service, content, quality, key for pay-TV ops to beat OTT
Joseph O'Halloran
| 23 May 2014
Even as the threat from over-the-top (OTT) services to European pay-TV providers grows, a survey from Amdocs states that the operators hold a number of aces to fend off the OTT challenge.

The study was run between February and April 2014 and had over 4,000 respondents, including 370 respondents in the UK. Among the key findings from the Amdocs study was that pay-TV operators had to resist the tendency of UK OTT subscribers to reduce their pay-TV spend, or consider doing so.

Nearly half (47%) of UK respondents subscribed to an independent OTT video service with a further 8% of those subscribed to OTT having reduced their pay-TV subscription level, and 17% of those that have not yet done so are considering cancelling. UK respondents rated OTT players higher than incumbent pay-TV providers such as Virgin Media, BT and BSkyB in price (78%), multiscreen capability (68%), recommendation of relevant content (63%) and user interface (71%).

Yet Amdocs feels strongly that pay-TV incumbents in the UK at least have clear strengths in the areas of customer service, content and video quality. It advised that these strengths must be leveraged in order to overcome significant perceived disadvantages in price recommendations, user interface and multiscreen offered by the likes of Netflix and increasingly Amazon Prime. In addition it suggested that pay-TV providers should look to out-perform their competition in content where significant numbers of respondents said they would pay more for outstanding experiences. Furthermore they should look to becoming the aggregator of choice for all available video content, multiple system operator and OTT alike.

The good news for operators, Amdocs asserts is that many UK respondents are disposed to that type of service and some would pay more for such a service. Moreover, given that UK customers were looking for flexibility in their TV packages, pay-TV providers would be serving a significant customer demand if they offered more flexibility in choosing and paying for content that their customers actually consumed. However, one downside, and potential cost, would be that doing so might also require complex bundling.