TV Connect provides trends in Europe, Latin America, and Asia

by Brett Sappington | Mar. 25, 2013

TV Connect provides a great opportunity to catch up on trends in Europe, Latin America, and Asia. Every market really looks to the US to see what tech is coming next and then assesses the impact and likely timeline for that tech to hit their market. A few of the interesting takeaways include the following:

  • Piracy is just killing TV services, VoD and legitimate OTT services in developing markets. Operators are desperate to find something to provide differentiation and cause consumers to pay something -- anything -- for content.
  • While 95% of the content/channels in the US and Canada are the same, that fact doesn't hold in other markets. In many, pay-TV operators have different sets of channels as part of their service. Different markets have differing regulations about content exclusivity, and not all operators can afford to license the same content as part of their service offering.
  • While 4k/Ultra HD is more likely to be commercially successful that 3D, several challenges remain to adoption, including consumer appreciation of the difference between HD and 4k on 40" to 50" screens. If the difference is only noticeable on screens of 60+", how many consumers will actually use it?
  • The portion of the HEVC standard that covers encoding and decoding of video between the operators and consumer devices is essentially finalized. Semiconductor companies are creating silicon now for HEVC. Mobile carriers will likely begin to deploy equipment and phones that support HEVC by the end of the year. Fixed-line HEVC will start to become a reality in late 2014 or 2015. This move is to compress video and save bandwidth space / spectrum, and is not necessarily related to the growth of 4k video. HEVC will happen whether 4k is successful or not.
  • By and large, IPTV players and satellite operators are the big innovators. In many markets, cable operators tend to be waaaaaay behind in the innovation curve.
  • In some markets, operators are seriously considering the option of giving away linear TV as a value add in order to get people to subscribe to SVOD.
  • In Hungary, an "aggression-free" SVOD service has become a very popular service among parents with small kids who want to use it as a cheap nanny/distraction for their kids.
  • Several speakers, panels, and vendors touched upon the UI and the user experience - ranging from recommendations to leveraging the second screen.
  • Some operators and content companies are starting to preach the values of "curated experiences" - stating that too much choice without a way to manage the choice is not helpful to the consumer.
  • Daniel Danker from the BBC made one of the best statements of the week, stating that "everyone is looking to the next thing and the next thing and the next thing in video and multiscreen, but we haven't actually declared victory over the things that we are doing now." (paraphrased)
  • 70% of an operator's CPE costs are tied to the STB. Yes, 70%.
  • Some operators speculated that it may not be such a bad business to simply be the "dumb pipe" and to focus on efficiency of delivery and reducing the cost in the network. You would never have heard that comment as little as three years ago.


Next: CEO of TIM Fiber, Brazil: “Operators should play a key role in offering end-to-end cloud solutions to the business market”
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