A lot of the transitions that are happening in the industry at the moment haven’t necessarily been triggered by COVID-19 – some of the big trends around cloud and IP have been around a while and were always set to play a hugely influential role in the way we work in the coming years. We can already see this in the way the industry has increasingly embraced the shift from SDI to IP-based delivery methods across a broad number of markets.
Nevertheless, the effect of COVID-19 has certainly increased the level of urgency with which these transitions need to take place. Under ‘normal’ circumstances, we could expect the majority of industry players taking around a five-year period to make these sorts of shifts. Now there is simply no time to waste – it has compressed these transition periods from years to months.
Adapting to the ‘New Normal’
However, as my MediaKind colleague Damien Montessuit, SVP and Regional Head, EMEA, recently commented: “constraints are good for innovation and creativity!” This has certainly been the case for our customers, and we have seen a number of short-term factors and long-term trends that have impacted the way they operate throughout the content chain. In one of my recent blog posts, I explored what broadcasters and pay-TV service providers could do at a time when the vast majority of live sporting leagues and tournaments have been either postponed or cancelled.
This is extremely pertinent to all markets, but particularly APAC; an enormous part of linear TV consumption in this region is driven by either live sports or fresh, episodic regional content. But once you take away the sports stars and the actors from their working environment, you’re left with empty schedules. Over the past few months, service providers, content owners and broadcasters have had to look and invest in alternative methods of production and distribution of various forms of content.
As we move into a new internet-based, mobile-centric era of media, it’s clear that the popularity of streaming is only going to continue to rise. For APAC, it’s a real leveller for content delivery; even countries that would traditionally be seen as less developed in terms of broadcast infrastructure are now thriving through streaming methods. Whether you want to watch the big game on television, or to conduct a business video call with a colleague, streaming is now ubiquitous throughout the region.
The future of OTT – what does it look like?
The IABM’s APAC Regional Report provides a wealth of information around general trends in the OTT market and I highly recommend reading it in further detail! For me, two things stood out:
- Sports rights costs reached $5.5 billion in APAC, with sports revenues (TV and online channels) reaching $5.2 billion. Of the total sports revenues, over 20% came from OTT platforms.
- The OTT sector is growing rapidly in APAC – and it’s being driven by the massive online video viewer base – now standing at 1.43 billion. This accounts for over 50% of the world’s online video viewers.
When considering the huge financial figures and large numbers of viewers, we must consider the type of experience viewers are receiving. Streaming delivery must now aspire and reach broadcast quality levels. This means achieving high picture quality, low latency (in the age of social media, delays in content delivery can ruin a live viewing experience if notifications arrive ahead of the content) and a scaled delivery, which is able to avoid reductions in the quality of experience (such as buffering).
There is also an opportunity to transform current day business models. We talk often about the importance of personalization and the need to offer greater flexibility and enhanced capabilities which replicate the volume and value of digital services. However, traditional live offerings are reliant on the advertising industry – and the streaming market has yet to leverage its full potential. Advertising is about scale and aggregation – so how do we compile that data together and better understand consumer behaviors at a time when many services are fragmented from one another? The challenge of subscriber churn is a major challenge for all OTT service providers, at a time of such great market congestion.
Join me at the OTT Virtual Summit!
Next Thursday, July 2 (10.35am SGT), I will be discussing the wider future of OTT alongside a fantastic virtual panel of media experts at the AVIA OTT Virtual Summit, which includes Sushant Sharma, VP APAC, Conviva; Greeny Dewayanti, CEO, Genflix; Anil Nihalani, Head of Digital Products & Technology, MediaCorp; and Unmish Parthasarathi, Founder, Picture Board Partners. Together, we will be addressing the impact of COVID-19 on video streaming and sharing various insights and best practices that can help best retain current customers and acquire new ones.
To attend the session (which is free to AVIA members), please click here.