The Pay-TV Service Provider’s Guide to 2019 Success - Part 2

This is the second and final installment of our 2019 trends blog series addressing the topics that will be most relevant to the pay-TV market in in the coming year.

The first post in this series addressed advanced data analytics, content protection, Android TV and the service provider’s emerging role as super-aggregator. Here are the final four topics and trends that will be sure to be conversation starters in 2019:

Sports OTT Streaming

Sports leagues, teams and rights owners are working to create unique connections with fans worldwide. Reaching out to fans on any screen, anywhere and anytime has become the new standard for the sports industry. However, in terms of video delivery performance, operations and reach, this can be challenging to accomplish.

But today, working with leading content, cloud and fiber network partners such as TATA Communications and leveraging other Kudelski Group technologies like SKIDATA’s field-proven fan engagement solution, NAGRA is making it a reality with scalable, low-latency streaming technology integrated with NAGRA’s OpenTV Suite, enabling sports leagues and teams to deliver an immersive sports OTT fan experience directly to consumers worldwide, and on any device, including Android TV.

This integrated platform, delivers live OTT streaming from the field to the screen while providing fans with an exciting app and channel-based user experience, from live events, to highlights, stats, fantasy sports and more.  What’s more, the offering also relies on NAGRA’s forensic watermarking technology and anti-piracy services to fight off pirate streaming services, protecting the business model of sports rights holders.


Infrastructure and Network Innovation

As competition intensifies, it is more important than ever to optimize infrastructure and technology investments to ensure the delivery of great products and services. while reducing risks and costs. Key priorities in this area include: rolling out fiber and 5G networks, transitioning to IP-based technology, and leveraging consumer devices for video service delivery, as network infrastructure and billing relationships – rather than proprietary set-top boxes – become the gateway to the customer.

As part of these considerations, cloud strategies are at the top of everyone’s mind. Delivering premium services directly to consumer devices and leveraging back-end cloud infrastructure is essential to the next generation of content delivery. One example is NAGRA’s TVkey Cloud, which is managed from the NAGRA Cloud.SSP, its Security-as-a-Service platform that enables a wide range of broadcast, IPTV and OTT service models. Jointly defined by NAGRA and Samsung, TVkey Cloud leverages the security capabilities of the TVkey-embedded hardware in the TV with sophisticated security management systems in the cloud.

ATSC 3.0

ATSC 3.0, at times referred to as “IP in the sky” between industry insiders, is the next version of the broadcast standard for how local TV channels can be distributed in a connected world. ATSC 3.0 is on track to enable consumers to access local channels for free, supported by personalized advertising, not only on a regular TV screens, but on mobile devices and even in vehicles. While it has already been approved by the FCC and is being tested in Phoenix and Dallas, it is very early in the game. However, as a go-to expert in the industry, NAGRA is set to share its ATSC 3.0 insights and innovations on the subject around the NAB 2019 timeframe. Stay tuned.

Evolving Business Models

Finally, research sponsored by NAGRA shows that MVPDs are transitioning from selling big channel bundles to retailing multiple smaller content packages, such as skinny bundles and direct-to-consumer services. However, neither the existing pay-TV business model nor the contractual agreements with content owners were set up to support this transition. As a result, it will need to be adapted to offer the flexibility increasingly demanded by consumers. At the same time, as the competitive landscape becomes increasingly fragmented, industry executives see a major opportunity to offer a user-friendly re-aggregation of an increasingly complex range of content and services.

While virtual MVPDs are gaining popularity with subscribers, they may not be economically sustainable. Industry executives recognize that it will be challenging for traditional pay-TV service providers to grow in an increasingly crowded marketplace. They anticipate a decline in the conventional and linear ‘big channel bundle’ pay-TV services, with growth instead coming from skinny bundles, personalized packages, subscription OTT services, advanced advertising and content owner direct-to-consumer services, all content sources and features that can be smartly re-aggregated and added to multi-play network bundles and other adjacent Smart Home services.

Preparing for the Future

An effective strategy for success builds on solid bases that includes flexible monetization engines that support multiple models and address different segments. A core component of this is the flexibility of NAGRA’s OpenTV Suite and NAGRA cloud.SSP, as it enables operators to create an engaging user experience that actively drives consumer loyalty and premium content monetization. 

And from a business perspective, as pay-TV executives work to ensure their business strategy is on point, understanding the real-world interests, challenges and opportunities from the players working in the pay-TV market, is essential. This is why the The Pay-TV Innovation Forum, a global research program for senior executives - developed by NAGRA and MTM - continues to be the industry’s go-to source. Now in its fourth year, we can expect the latest findings from the 2019 The Pay-TV Innovation Forum later this year.  The 2018 Global Findings Report can be downloaded here.

It is an exciting time in television with many opportunities and possibilities to consider. Those that prioritize continuous innovation will be able to keep pace and evolve with the quickly changing market and come out on top. However, those that take a “wait and see” approach might find that this mindset will not bode well in today’s consumer-driven environment. The question is, which side of the coin are you going to be on?  For any information on how NAGRA can help, contact us at

Ivan Verbesselt, SVP Marketing, NAGRA