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Pay-TV rivals vie to become the ‘omni-channel’ of the future

Pay-TV operators are facing some tough short- and long-term challenges. That was the conclusion of a panel of pay-TV experts speaking at a Platform Futures conference session at the Forum on Thursday (14 September).

Jeff Hunter, chief architect at on-demand and cloud-based TV service YouView, told delegates: “Unfortunately not everyone can be the world’s biggest pay-TV provider. Those that are destined to be successful will need to be simple, relevant, seamless and indispensable.

The key is to understand the user and personalise their experience. You also need to get smarter – driving insights from the data you collect.”

Hunter added: “For pay-TV operators the battle is on to develop deeper insights into the interests of customers – giving touch points for the provision of a much wider range of services. To, in effect, become an ‘omni-channel’. The battle is on for such companies to make themselves ever-present and indispensable to the consumer – so no wonder there is so much competition.”

Companies such as Amazon and Netflix, which have deep pockets for investment in original content and a lot of data at their fingertips about customer preferences would be in a strong position, said Hunter.

Justin Hewelt, global director of brand product and marketing at PayMedia Consulting, said that OTT propositions are evolving and converging in the current marketplace.

“Now we are seeing the emergence of more linear OTT propositions, and propositions targeted at different market segments, such as YouTube TV, aimed at millennials, or Sling, which targets non-traditional segments and cord cutters, and Hulu, focused on changing the OTT model with new, personalised relationships.”

Hewelt added: “We have entered a landscape where consumers expect to access lots of different content from service providers. For the pay platform operators there is a real challenge to work out who your partners are, when to differentiate and when to collaborate.

Pay-TV ops have been working hard to reinvent their products using personalisation and recommendation.

“At the end of the day for pay-TV it’s about locking in customer relationships you have built up over time. The newer landscape is all about building deeper relationships – in a world in which the use of apps and the popularity of no contract services means that users can come and go much more easily.”