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, Carlos Miranda, CTO for Dish Mexico shares his views on how the pay-TV industry is adapting to meet changing customer expectations.
What trends are shaping the pay-TV market in Mexico?
Customer expectations of pay-TV have become more demanding, driven by an ever-greater range of options for how and where to access content. The industry is, in response, becoming consumer-centric: not just in terms of providing traditional customer support, but in putting customer data at the heart of decisions around content, distribution and accessibility.
Whilst OTT has generated considerable excitement in the pay-TV industry, it is important to remember that around 50% of the population in Mexico is connected to the internet - and many of these connections aren’t good enough to deliver video. Therefore, traditional linear pay-TV solutions still have a key role to play.
Previously, the pay-TV operator would choose what type of device or set top box to offer customers. Now we have to adapt our service to integrate with whatever device the customer chooses; whether that’s a laptop, tablet, mobile or set-top box. Each of these devices is very different: the user experience needs to be designed so as to be equally enjoyable on a large TV screen as on a mobile phone.
How has technology impacted pay-TV providers in Mexico and what challenges do you face going forwards?
As an industry, we are in a transition stage: we still suffer from siloes across content providers, delivery platforms, and business strategies. Each service relies upon a large ecosystem of partners whose different technology stacks must be integrated. As a pay-TV distributor, we have to manage our relationships with different content creators and work out how best to coordinate their content with our service.
As mentioned before, we used to keep our technology closed. Today it is the opposite: we want our services on as many devices as possible, through as many partners as possible.
Is the role of pay TV providers as aggregators changing, in terms of the services offered?
Traditionally, the role of the TV provider has been to manage consumer interaction. Now, there are hundreds of new direct-to-consumer (D2C) services from rights owners, social networks, and content creators, across hundreds of apps. Managing these subscriptions is impractical for customers. It also presents a security risk because customers have to input personal information across so many services.
Pay-TV providers can stay relevant by creating a consolidated experience across this fragmented landscape. They can prove their value to customers by helping to manage their entertainment experience through a secure, unified interface.
How will the role of pay-TV providers evolve, with new technologies and data?
We need to consider ourselves as an entertainment business, not just a TV distributor. Viewers are increasingly looking for services that complement the basic TV viewing experience; with social networks, interactive content, and additional features either integrated on screen or on companion devices.
The greater interactivity of new TV technologies provides TV providers with opportunities to understand and respond to viewer tastes through a two-way data exchange. Unlike traditional TV services, which might have offered 100 channels, new platforms make thousands of titles available at any time. TV providers must provide customers with tools to navigate these vast content catalogues to find the best titles for them.
The data generated will help make services develop new products that are meaningful for customers. We want to use consumer data to create feedback loops that inform product and content development, fuelled by artificial intelligence and algorithms to improve the overall experience of the customer.