Interview with Industry Leaders: Alexandre Britto, Digital Transformation Expert, Brazil

Alexandre Britto, digital transformation advisor for various Brazilian pay-TV and telecommunications companies, shares his views on the challenges faced by pay-TV operators and OTT services across Brazil.

The Pay-TV Innovation Forum is a global research programme for senior pay-TV and content executives, developed
by NAGRA and MTM, and designed to catalyse growth and innovation across the global TV industry, at a time of
tremendous change and disruption.

As part of the programme, we are publishing a series of interviews with leading TV industry executives from
around the world to explore their views, perspectives and experiences of innovation. In this interview, Alexandre
Britto, digital transformation advisor for various Brazilian pay-TV and telecommunications companies, shares his
views on the challenges faced by pay-TV operators and OTT services across Brazil.


What are the core challenges facing pay-TV operators in Brazil?

There is a huge move to OTT solutions. It used to be very expensive and complicated to distribute content through
traditional ways and now, with OTT, you can produce and distribute content far cheaper and easier. This has resulted
in far more services being available today. However, we still have many areas with poor internet connection and the
market needs to take steps to mitigate this, if growth is to continue.

There are regulatory challenges as well. We have a strict law around the distribution of content (SeAC). It states that
any distributor of content requires a license, which producers of content do not have, preventing the creation of
Direct-to-Consumer (D2C) business models. However, the law is currently under review - one interpretation of it is
that OTT distribution does not apply, but that is just one interpretation.

Another challenge is providing the right technology solutions for consumers. The major pay-TV operator in Brazil
operates legacy set-top boxes that lack the sophistication of smart TVs and smartphones and updating these
technologies will be expensive. However, this can be viewed as an opportunity for operators as they must
increasingly develop services designed for all ages: younger and older generations.

How do you think these pay-TV operators can reach new audiences?

Customers want a combination of local and global content. I want to be able to watch Game of Thrones on the same
platform or device, and with the same user experience that I can watch local news. To achieve this, the large
operators need to partner with smaller OTT services, rather than try to kill them off. This is because many smaller
providers offer the local content customers are interested in. These big, traditional pay-TV companies know their
customers, they have big CRM databases, and the smaller ones have more niche and local content. So, there are
very good partnership opportunities, if they are willing to work together. 

One of the key strategies I believe pay-TV operators should pursue is the aggregation of thematic services and
content, such as documentaries. In the future, operators will provide additional services like gaming and music,
educational and distance learning content too.

What threat does piracy pose in the region?

Piracy is a big problem in Brazil. We are trying to get stakeholders together to mitigate piracy because I don't believe
we can eliminate piracy completely. I don't believe there is a single action that will solve the problem either. However,
my view is that we can bring together content producers, providers, and distributors to collaborate and be more
effective in the fight against piracy. There are already some technical collective actions that are gaining traction
which, added to other political and cultural actions, can have a strong effect.

What new technologies do you see impacting the pay-TV operator landscape in Brazil?

New technologies can have a big impact. Artificial Intelligence (AI), data and analytics capabilities will be very
important for improving user experience and increasing engagement with pay-TV platforms. You can use data and
analytics capabilities to predict whether a customer will be watching a certain program at a certain time of day on a
certain device - big screen or phone. Leveraging AI capabilities to help you understand the content consumers are
interested in can then be used to improve user experience by improving recommendations, the user interface or even
content acquisition. Also, another one of the most exciting opportunities for data is the potential for advanced
advertising solutions that can target consumers at the right place and the right moment, in the right way.