As one of the premier industry events, IBC is always an opportunity to engage with peers and discuss the topics and trends affecting our industry. 2019 was no exception, with a significant focus on content protection and delivery strategies, as well as industry transformation. Here are our top four takeaways from the show:
- An optimistic outlook for pay-TV
Underpinning all the themes from IBC 2019 were the findings from this year’s Pay-TV Innovation Forum. In its fourth year, the annual global research programme shows promising signs for operators prepared to innovate and invest root and branch in their future. Notably, OTT is no longer seen as a threat, with 70 percent believing it will have a positive impact on their business. In addition, many service providers are seeing it as an opportunity to reframe themselves into super-aggregators of content, particularly for sports OTT content.
In a conversation with MESA’s Jeff Berman, Simon Trudelle, Senior Director of Product Marketing, highlighted: “…fundamental things are going to change with the emergence of direct-to-consumer services from Disney and the other major film and TV production studios. That will have an impact on the way channels are bundled going forward.”
However, piracy remains a threat. Both the research and our conversations at IBC clearly show that the industry recognises that more needs to be done, and urgently if it’s to protect itself for the future. Nearly half (48 percent) of executives expect content piracy to lead to greater pressures on pay-TV over the next five years.
Data and analytics are key to realising the opportunities and managing the threats identified by the Forum and the conference. Executives see this as a technology that could benefit almost every aspect of their business.
- Scalable service protection for sustained growth
As the pay-TV industry continues to evolve, there is increasing client horizontalization in terms of how content is being distributed. This landscape is a very real opportunity for operators, as it enables them to address a multitude of devices across different networks. Unfortunately, it’s also enabling wider service threats, particularly pirating of content whose perpetrators are now able steal content from an increasing number of sources and to leverage the very same distribution methods to create a compelling pirate service.
To combat these threats, content protection needs to be re-evaluated through a lens of scalability. In a first step, this can be achieved by supporting small to large operators with unified content security platforms. This includes the ready-to-deploy Conax Contego or the highly flexible NAGRA cloud.SSP which is designed to scale and flexibly adapt according to any operator’s needs. Vodafone Group is a great example of this as they are deploying NAGRA solutions across multiple countries.
Second, to be truly effective and protect against theft, operators must incorporate leading anti-piracy services and forensic watermarking solutions into their operations, especially when it comes to valuable live sports content. By working with providers like NAGRA, operators can identify, track and stop pirates at the source. And, by integrating it into a cloud-based and scalable service protection approach, they can do so quickly and at scale.
Ivan Verbesselt, SVP Marketing, discussed the importance of taking a holistic approach to content protection and all the aspects of NAGRA’s scalable service protection in this interview with Julian Clover of Broadband TV News.
What’s more, as consumers continue to be connected anytime and anywhere to services that are increasingly virtualised along the entire service creation and content delivery chain, the global TV, video and telecom ecosystem is increasingly facing a new daunting reality: a massively increasing attack surface not just for content, but also personal data and consumer privacy. In this interview with IBC TV, Simon Trudelle highlights how fighting crime and piracy is getting more important in the cyber world, as well as the key strategies to adopt policy actions to protect business models in a global broadband world.
- The super-aggregator opportunity
It’s clear that consumers have never had it so good in terms of the volume of content available to them. However, as more and more content owners launch their own direct-to-consumer offerings, it’s also becoming a very fragmented landscape for the user. While it may not be instantly obvious, this is a huge opportunity for pay-TV providers to become super-aggregators of content, scaling their services and bundling offerings to suit the consumer’s needs.
In this interview with Joe O’Halloran of Rapid TV News, Anthony Smith-Chaigneau, Senior Director of Product Marketing, highlights that the OpenTV Suite, OpenTV Platform, NAGRA cloud.SSP and NAGRA Insight work together to enable operators to effectively manage, protect and gain a deep understanding of their content and subscribers, while helping them experiment with packaging and bundling. In doing so, they can ensure their services are compelling and engaging no matter the content source or device.
However, operators increasingly struggle to integrate apps on their devices. They could take the path of least resistance by becoming an app that sits alongside others, but this does not offer true differentiation – they would just be another app. The real challenge is becoming the overarching UI on such a device. And in the case of Smart TVs, a solution like TVkey Cloud gives operators an advantage by offering an operator-branded user interface directly onto Samsung TV sets. The operator’s brand and service is the first thing that consumers see, while also having access to other OTT services. Check out the press release announcing the launch of TVkey Cloud with Germany’s HD+ and the short presentation on TVkey Cloud that Tim Pearson Senior Director, Product Marketing gave to IABM TV.
- The data imperative
We are now very much in the era of data and analytics, and while some industries have embraced it, pay-TV has historically been behind the curve. With many different teams believing they need to control a certain aspect of the data they hold – whether sales, marketing, content buying or anti-piracy teams – there are distinctive silos that must be broken down.
As Jacques-Edouard Guillemot, SVP Executive Affairs highlights in this exchange with Stuart Thomson of Digital TV Europe, for real change to happen, decisions on the data and how to learn from them must move to the board room. By using data and AI-driven business performance platforms, such as NAGRA Insight designed for pay-TV, operators can benefit from recommendations on business actions to help them make better strategic decisions, drive their business more effectively and improve their bottom line.
In summary, IBC 2019 was a year of interesting conversations, and there are signs that the outlook for the pay-TV industry is strong. To remain competitive, it’s clear that the industry needs to innovate and invest in technology, content and its own business. To find out more about any of these topics, the solutions we showcased or to discuss how NAGRA can enable your pay-TV business to scale smartly, contact us here.