The Pay-TV Service Provider’s Guide to 2019 Success - Part 1

In this special blog series, we introduce the top trends, topics and considerations that pay-TV service providers need to address as they move into 2019.

With traditional TV and OTT rapidly becoming synonymous, TV is simply considered TV no matter how or where it is consumed. The viewer is in charge, setting the tone for what the market must deliver to enable them to watch the content they love wherever, whenever and however they choose. In this environment, operators are playing catch up. Many are re-considering their product and commercial packages they are offering to consumers, as well as their technology and operations’ platforms, but are unsure of where to begin.

With numerous needs to address, such as integrating various sources of content, running cloud operations and offering more flexibility, players in the M&E space must have the right strategy in place for success. We are now at a stage where operators must drive forward business transformation by adapting to consumer needs and delivering the right solutions to be successful.

In this two-part series blog, we introduce the top trends, topics and considerations that pay-TV service providers need to address as they move into 2019. By addressing each, they can be well on their way to a long-term strategy for business success.

The Industry’s Super Aggregator

A super aggregator is a player that is consumer-facing, boasts a large user base, and is primarily a branded content distributor that delivers superior value for consumers through choice, flexible packages, price and convenience. Driving innovation forward will depend on the service provider embracing its role as super aggregator. This includes onboarding new content and being able to help consumers find what they want to watch easily and in a personalized way. If operators are not able to deliver on this market demand, consumer loyalty is at risk and monetization opportunities are limited.

As opposed to ill-fated attempts to absorb all relevant content into one single catalogue accessed through a monolithic UI, a shrewd super-aggregator will instead take a very pragmatic approach towards blending different OTT content bouquets into a coherent experience.

This is why addressing evolving consumer behaviors and expectations is imperative. Adapting quickly to different usage patterns in various segments of viewers – as we’ve seen with “TV Tribes” – is key to securing broad-scale reach. Users need to switch between multiple services effortlessly with a simple, uncluttered and engaging interface that doesn’t overwhelm them with options.  At the same time, UIs and backend business and security services platforms must create a bridge between content silos. In this world, searching for the one show you want to watch shouldn’t mean having to access multiple apps.

To help the service provider claim its official role as super-aggregator, NAGRA ensures efficient on-boarding of OTT content, effective content value protection and an elegant data-driven approach to content discovery – one that actively drives service loyalty and monetization. We are moving towards a world where there will be a platform agnostic approach to distributing TV content and video, blended together, and made available across all networks and devices.  This is the platform agnostic paid-for-video platform future, and with NAGRA’s cloud-based platform solutions, pay-TV operators are well positioned to take on this super-aggregator role for success.

Android TV

As TV operators are reinventing themselves as super aggregators and working to converge everything into one coherent experience, leading client device ecosystems, such as Android TV, cannot be ignored.  Android TV is a friendly proposition, giving operators the opportunity to have an operator-tier branded UEX, Google TV services, direct carrier billing and more. The possibilities with Android TV are impressive, including cost savings, faster time-to-market, easier access to third-party OTT, direct carrier billing, deep linking for additional search benefits, and advanced voice-driven technology – just to name a few. Even in its most basic form, where complementary OTT offers simply sit alongside the operator UI application, an operator already achieves a baseline “all in one place” aggregation, even more so when one considers the built-in casting capability from a vast collection of mobile apps. However, with its experience with Android TV since 2014, NAGRA knows that while there is a great opportunity, there are challenges that must be addressed.

Operators using Android TV need to create an engaging user experience that actively drives consumer loyalty and content monetization, which can be achieved with NAGRA’s OpenTV Suite, allowing them to deliver personalized advanced TV services aggregating the best of linear and on-demand services. Operators also need to ensure any service built on the platform is secure, protecting both the content owners and consumers’ data. In addition, they must deliver service-defining ingredients that make a compelling pay-TV service. This includes end-to-end multi-device and multi-network content value protection for broadcast and OTT premium content, which is possible with NAGRA’s Security Services Platform (SSP)With this the right technologies in place, pay-TV operators can truly capitalize on the Android TV opportunity.

A Cloud-Based Approach with End-to-End Content Protection

Protecting content is a top priority for any successful player in the TV ecosystem.  However, service providers are tasked with a challenging situation. They must offer this valuable content on different devices with changing business models, and keep this content secure by countering the growing and varied number of piracy threats, while also meeting the requirements of their content providers. A key consideration in this evolution is “the cloud”.

Fortunately, the NAGRA Security Services Platform (SSP) provides a unified and flexible platform for managing all content security requirements, turning security into a business enabler not a business inhibitor. NAGRA is uniquely positioned to deliver a true comprehensive approach – from origin to consumption. And, to address the growing need to move to the cloud, NAGRA’s cloud.SSP is a true multi-tenant, cloud-based security platform that elastically scales and flexibly delivers the latest security technologies “as-a-service”.

And of course, in a broadband world, a content value protection strategy would not be complete without tackling piracy head on with the latest innovations in anti-piracy services and watermarking.  With streaming piracy heavily impacting the M&E industry at the worldwide level, especially for live sports, a smart approach is to effectively mark content delivered through set-top boxes or consumer streaming devices in order to be able to trace the source of a leak, using anti-piracy service to monitor, track and take down pirate services.

Advanced Data, Analytics and AI

While many industries have harnessed data as the new currency, the pay-TV industry has been comparatively slow to adapt to the new analytics and AI-driven world. Few have been able to properly collect, implement and use data to gain valuable insights to improve their pay-TV service and overall business operations. This is a major issue for pay-TV service providers in a world where topline and bottom line pressures are increasing while OTT and social media platforms, such as Netflix and Facebook, have built their success on the ability to capture, analyze and act on data and AI to deliver a consumer-driven experience.

Data, advanced analytics and AI are the keys to automating and improving customer service operations to reduce churn, delivering more relevant advertising, personalizing content recommendations, and helping companies optimize the full value and cost of their content portfolio. To address these business challenges, NAGRA Insight leverages AI to drive subscriber value, content acquisition and management, operations and advertising. Through actionable insight, we help service providers deliver better business results and free up resources for next generation platform investments.

Ivan Verbesselt, SVP Marketing, NAGRA

Here is the Part Two of this blog series, which will address topics such as ATCS 3.0, monetization strategies and sports OTT streaming.