Pay-TV – Traditional to Next-Generation Platform


Pay TV industry made a success story with a growing range of services worldwide. The industry invested actively in infrastructure, innovative products and modern technology to deliver amazing entertainment and communications experience to customers. However, today the Pay-TV industry is experiencing a period of disruption as service providers face sluggish growth and challenges from new business models which is intensifying the competition. Despite low subscriber growth, executives expect competition to level-up intensely in the coming five years.

The major challenges impacting the Pay TV industry are:

1.       OTT ecosystem: The increasing affinity towards OTT (Over-The-Top) services, along with huge investments in content and technology is giving a great competition. OTT being internet-based model presents cordless on-demand channels with multiscreen viewing, making big waves of on-the-go entertainment.

2.       Personalized Experience: Consumers prefer great flexibility in making their own channel packs, and viewing time, which further can be analyzed by digital systems for providing a personalized experience with relevant suggestions.

3.       Pay-TV piracy: The Pay-TV piracy results in very huge unrealized revenues of operators, resulting in increased investment in products and anti-piracy measures to prevent unauthorized access and block illegal competitors from the market. The service providers has to rely on regulations and legal framework, external anti-piracy services, and run monitoring services, among others.

In order to respond to these challenges, the Pay-TV industry need to come up with an innovative business model while retaining a profitable core business. The industry has started finding solutions for innovative Product offerings with next-generation connected and interactive technologies, along with online services. Also, the service providers are focusing on crafting unique pricing and packaging, based on varied consumer segments, and establishing relations with content providers.

The innovation potential vary significantly among the providers, from region-to-region. It has been observed that innovation capabilities are much ahead in North America compared to rest of the world. Industry need to identify the gap between leaders and stragglers; and in the scenario where least innovative provider can match the average innovator, we can expect a noticeable improvement in the global industry revenue. The pay-tv market is highly fragmented in EMEA and APAC, thus, holding the biggest improvement potential in these regions.         

Some of the providers have advanced their product offerings by providing innovative features on Set-Top-Box (STB), like the inclusion of 4K videos, IP Connectivity and integration of third-party applications such as Netflix, Amazon Prime videos, and YouTube, etc. In the US about 12 Pay-TV service providers offers the Netflix service in their STB, such as Comcast offers Netflix into its Xfinity X1 STB. In the Netherlands and Switzerland, UPC integrates the Netflix application on its Horizon STB. In September 2017, Netflix and the Orange Group renewed their service distribution contract to extend this agreement to all the countries where Orange is operating.

The Pay-TV providers need to focus on following strategies to sustain in the market,

1.       Partner with content and technology providers to better analyze the consumer need, and formulate offerings.

2.       Develop some mutation in products and services to stand at par with OTT and alike services.

3.       Investing in Internet TV and cloud services for time-friendly viewing could be a great leapfrog.