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Mobile game-changer for OTT

OTT is a means of survival, a huge business opportunity or a weapon to stall churn, depending on where you stand. Either way, not having OTT is not an option.

“To survive, traditional broadcasters must adapt,” said Dave Pendleton, COO of Australian pubcaster ABC at the conference session ‘Is OTT Simply Broadcast Rebooted?’ “Many organisations have failed trying.”

He declared, “We’re losing control of our distribution paths and the arrival of new aggregators has fragmented our audiences. When the likes of Amazon host our content we do not get brand recognition for it. This has forced us to shift away from being a distributor and acquirer of content back to being a creator and controller of ideas.”

The platform for that is ABC’s OTT service iView. “It is strategically important for broadcasters to fade away from the schedule,” he said. “Ultimately demand will be connection-driven, not schedule-served.”

In the Middle East OTT represents less than 1% of TV revenues, yet STARZ Play Arabia’s is expected to grow to $700 million by 2020, of which the company hopes to collect 30%.

“The global saturation of connected mobile devices is the single event which will define OTT and broadcast by 2020,” declared Maaz Sheikh, CEO. “The growth in broadband in MENA, especially on mobile, will drive OTT.”

Gidon Katz, director of Sky’s OTT service Now TV, said, “In Europe OTT is not just a reboot. It is a strategic opportunity for pay-TV to grow the market by opening up new routes to market provided the OTT proposition is distinct and that it keeps pace with change.”

Referring to HBO Now, which MLB Advanced Media (MLBAM) powers, Joe Inzerillo, CTO, said: “I’d be surprised if you don’t see us expand very soon into Europe. We hope to get an anchor tenant and expand.”