The pay TV industry is currently undergoing a major transformation. The rise of the OTT model, the fast changes in consumer behavior and new forms of piracy are creating both opportunities and challenges. In Latin America, industry players must adapt to this new landscape, at the same time as they face regional business difficulties, and financial uncertainty.
José Alcacer-Mackinlay, sales director for Latam at NAGRA, addressed some of these issues during the panel “The future of pay-TV in South America” at the NexTV Series Argentina conference last month. The debate had the contribution of important members of the industry, like Fabiana Orlotti, CEO of Montecable, Rodrigo Aliaga, Director of Digital TV Cable, Victor Cantero, Gerente General y Presidente de la Cámara de Cable Operadores del Paraguay, and Carlos Wilson Director of WilTel Comunicaciones.
Together they discussed some of the main challenges facing operators and content owners in the region including hybrid linear and OTT models, aggregation of OTTs and channel unbundling, piracy, new strategies for VOD and solutions to increase ARPU and to reduce customer churn.
NAGRA was been one of the very first players in the Latam market to bring in a complete end to end Hybrid Linear/OTT pre-integrated solution, for operators of all sizes. This solution is being constantly developed to add new features on the OTT side with a single sign-on solution offering to watch different channels bundled alongside operator VOD.
The panel also brought forward the need for operators to smartly bundle multiple OTT services on the consumer STB, not only to improve the customer experience unifying multiple sign-ins across OTT accounts and devices, but to also reduce prices with the operator’s negotiating power with the OTT as well as its capability for simplifying the billing of multiple services. A better transition across live and OTT content, with AI/data generated recommendations, has became the key to improve user experience, preventing the cord shaving/cutting. One example is the intelligent bundling of live sports along with Sports related OTT content. Many operators are looking at this as a way to keep customers on the operator user interface.
New VOD strategies are also necessary at a time when content is becoming more expensive, and operators need to shelve out a lot of money to have available on demand content from major networks on their offering alongside the live linear broadcast content. Also, sports rights are going through the roof and it is becoming increasingly hard for operators to profit after securing content rights.
When customers subscribe to broadcast channels of these networks, they expect on demand content to be available for free.
The NAGRA Conax GO Live solution allow the streaming of live TV to iOS and Android devices, expanding TV offerings outside the fixed network footprint. By adding VOD and SVOD to their platforms, operators can provide a better experience, and more content options for those subscribers that are only interested on specific events. These tools are important to increase ARPU and to retain customers. But it should also be associated with special bundling offerings, freebies, and other engagement / loyalty programs, to create an environment where the customer feels their investments are paying off.
Alcacer-Mackinlay also spoke about the specific challenges linked to piracy in the region, specially for live broadcasts, and pointed out: “Live sports are one of the bastions of traditional TV, but we see that with the improvement in broadband access, live sports will be offered as a streaming service”. In this context, it’s paramount to think about integrated security for the full protection of content. For example, NAGRA watermarking solutions are the go-to option for operators and content owners who wish to protect their investments and mitigate losses by tracking and quickly shutting down pirate distribution.
All these transformations bring enormous challenges for the industry. But they also benefit the consumer putting them at the center of the viewing experience in terms of content selection, better services and control over what to watch, how and when. This improved experience is becoming the rule now in the world, and Latin American players must adapt fast in order to remain competitive.
For more information on NAGRA solutions and services for content monetization and protection, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.