Five pay-TV trends operators need to know about right now

couple watching tv
Ivan Verbesselt, SVP Marketing at NAGRA, highlights the key trends pay-TV operators should look out for in the coming months and years.

By Ivan Verbesselt, SVP Marketing at NAGRA


With the lines between traditional TV and OTT blurring more and more, it’s clear we’ve already seen the start of a significant transformation in the pay-TV world.

But this is just the beginning. Pay-TV operators still have plenty of work to do ensure the next wave of digital transformation brings positive change, not just disruption.

Here are five key trends pay-TV operators should look out for in the coming months and years – after all, they could prove the difference between success and obsolescence.

1. Super-aggregation

Success will largely depend on a service provider embracing its role as a super-aggregator – a player that’s consumer-facing, boasts a large user base, and is primarily a branded content distributor. Elegantly blending in the locally relevant OTT services it’s also one that offers consumers plenty of choice and convenience, plus flexible packages and pricing.

If operators can’t deliver on this, consumer loyalty is at risk and monetization opportunities are limited.

We’re moving towards a platform-agnostic world of distribution, where content is delivered across all networks and devices. And luckily, pay-TV operators are well-positioned to take on this super-aggregator role.

2. The cloud

Service providers face a tough challenge. They have to offer valuable content across a range of different devices, all while keeping it secure.

The answer? The cloud. With a unified and flexible platform holistically managing content security and monetization, operators can actually turn security into a business enabler, not an inhibitor.

The future lies in a multi-tenant, cloud-based security platform that can scales and deliver the latest security and monetization technologies “as a service”. But a smooth and pragmatic transition path from the incumbent reality of on-premise systems to SaaS deployment models is just as important as the cloud-centric end game.

3. Streaming piracy

In a broadband world, a content value protection strategy wouldn’t be complete without tackling piracy head-on.

And with streaming piracy heavily impacting the M&E industry at a global level – especially live sports – a smart approach is to effectively mark content delivered through set-top-boxes (STBs) and consumer streaming devices.

This way, operators can trace the source of a leak, using anti-piracy services to monitor, track and take down pirates.

4. Data, analytics and AI

While lots of other industries have harnessed data as the new currency, pay-TV has been comparatively slow to adapt. Few have been able to properly collect and use data to gain proper insights.

But data, analytics and AI are the keys to automating and improving customer service operations to reduce churn, delivering more relevant advertising, personalising content recommendations, and helping companies optimise the full value of their content portfolio.

Through sensible use of proper insight, operators can deliver better business results and free up resources for next-generation platform investments.  

5. New business models

There’s no denying the challenge for traditional pay-TV service providers to grow in such an increasingly crowded marketplace.

And as the findings from the latest European Pay-TV Innovation Forum has found, executives more than ever agree that pay-TV operators need to transform their business, creating and delivering the full range of digital products and services that viewers today demand.

Similarly, as telcos continue to roll out IoT strategies, competition for M2M connections is increasing – there is clear trend toward combining core connectivity offerings with other value-added services.

It’s an exciting time in television. There are plenty of opportunities to consider. Those that prioritise continuous innovation will be able to keep pace and evolve with the changing market and come out on top.