Pay-TV in 2017: What to watch for in the next year

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Paul Molinier, Viaccess-Orca
November 18th 2016 at 12:17PM : By

Viaccess Orca CEO Paul Molinier looks at what's coming up in cloud, mobile, VR and data analytics for the Pay TV market

It's been another exciting year in the pay-TV industry, and if market research is any indication, the coming year will be transformative as well. Over the last 12 months, the cloud model, the development of mobile video, and the emergence of data analytics technologies have played a huge role in helping operators better monetise their offerings and provide a more personalised user experience.

We expect that in 2017, the adoption of these technologies will accelerate, bringing operators closer to the Holy Grail of keeping viewers more satisfied and evolving rapidly to handle new services, new business models, and new types of end-devices.

Future trends

Recent research from the Pay-TV Innovation Forum found that cloud is one of the technologies having the fastest adoption rate by the TV industry. It’s easy to understand why. Using cloud-based TV Everywhere platforms, operators can manage all aspects of the content preparation and distribution workflow from transcoding to packaging, encryption, publishing, recommendations, and delivery, based on an OPEX-based model that requires no specific on-premises infrastructure, meaning operators don’t need to make significant capital investments for equipment and software, and have much faster time-to-market. Next year, we anticipate that an increasing number of operators will deploy cloud-based TV Everywhere platforms such as Viaccess-Orca’s TVaaS.

Another trend to keep on top of is the rise in mobile content consumption. Consumers are now watching video on second screens as much as they are on the traditional TV, and mobile devices are becoming just as important as STBs. 

Even more interesting, virtual reality is making an impact on mobile device usage. Goldman Sachs reports that $3.5 billion was invested in VR/AR technologies over the last two years, a significant amount given that content is still fairly limited. In April, Viaccess-Orca teamed up with French TV channel TF1 to broadcast the world’s first live stream of a football match in 360 degrees and Ultra HD, showcasing the type of premium television experience that can be achieved with virtual reality (VR) technologies. Expect to see more instances of VR streaming in 2017, especially for live sports.

With video content remaining at the heart of our digital lives, the real big challenge for pay-TV operators and distributors is how to enable and monetize premium video experiences. We at Viaccess-Orca firmly believe that content protection and data analytics are the two faces of this monetisation strategy. This is why we chose a new tagline for our company: “it’s smarter, it’s safer, it’s VO.”

As a growing number of consumers view live and on-demand content on mobile devices there becomes a critical need for content security. Over the last year, Viaccess-Orca has ramped up its development efforts and introduced a new generation of fully integrated environments for all types of mobile devices, offering the highest level of security and the best user experience through our Connected Sentinel Player, which supports all common video formats and streaming protocols, including MPEG-DASH, Microsoft Smooth Streaming and HLS.

Game-changing analytics

Finally, data analytics will be the game-changer in the OTT environment. Utilising data related to the television subscriber profile, operators can provide contextually relevant content, increase satisfaction with the service, boost content efficiency, and prevent piracy.

Addressable TV advertising is likely the biggest business opportunity for using data. Granular data with advanced segmentation capabilities could provide considerable value to TV networks (and ad agencies) coping with the limitations of traditional panel-based rating systems. Such advanced capabilities have already proven to be successful by online players like Facebook.

The main challenges operators face include technical issues with the continued growth in TV data volume, velocity and variety; business challenges with the emergence of distribution models that may disintermediate them; and legal hurdles in the context of a growing sensitivity and changing regulations with regards to privacy and personal data protection.

Recently, Viaccess-Orca introduced new analytics capabilities for its cloud-based TV Everywhere solution (TVaaS), providing operators with intelligent data about each phase of the OTT multiscreen workflow — from delivery to recommendations and personalisation, client apps, and devices. Our TV business analytics service features a variety of out-of-the-box dashboards (i.e., revenue, service usage, content, customers, product and services, and devices), while also providing operators with the flexibility to create customised dashboards and reports. A discovery, insights, and prediction tool gives multidimensional visibility into the TV business KPIs and drivers so that operators can identify trends and strategise successful business practices. We see data analytics as the way of the future in the pay-TV world.