Asia-Pacific Broadcasting (APB) August 2017 Volume 34, Issue 6 - Page 12

12 NEWS & VIEWS August 2017 It is about the content, and more by shawn liew HONG KONG – In the increas- ingly connected world that we live in, smartphones and 4G will act as key catalysts for the growth of over-the-top (OTT) services in Asia-Pacific (excluding China). From 2017 to 2022, an incremental 395 million mobile broadband sub- scribers will be added, with more than 145 coming from South-east Asia, reported Aravind Venugopal, vice-president, Media Partners Asia (MPA). Speaking as he welcomed dele­ gates to the APOSTech 2017 sum- mit held in Hong Kong last month, Venugopal also presented MPA’s prediction that the quality of fixed broadband will “significantly im- prove” to support OTT. During the same period, more than 30 million next-generation fixed broadband subscriptions will be added, with more than 45% of these coming from India. While welcoming these find- ings, Hari Nagpal, managing direc- tor and CEO of Tata Sky, pointed out pragmatically that many in India today still do not have access to broadband. He asked: “We can have as many as 100 million-150 million customers using mobile pre-paid plans. How many days can we get out of them? How do we make our service so attractive that we compel them to top up their pre-paid plan? In essence, how do we find a non-broadband way to increase stickiness?” During the show, there was also a major announcement from Fox, as the company is working with Australian telco Optus to Delegates at APOSTech 2017 listening to presenters discussing a variety of issues concerning OTT, including strategies, business models and relationships between various partners in the ecosystem. launch the National Geographic app in Australia. Subsequent roll-outs will continue across Asia- Pacific and the Middle East, and follow on the heels of the launch of Fox+, an Internet streaming service, in Singa­p ore and the Phillippines. These launches also represent a continuation of Fox’s mobile-first strategy, said Rohit D’Silva, EVP, commercial, Asia-Pacific and Mid- dle East, Fox Networks Group. “We play to our strengths and we con- stantly ask ourselves how we can encourage engagement and get people to come back to us. A clear navigation utility and merging our on-demand and linear offerings is one way forward,” he added. While many content producers and owners such as Fox and HBO are embarking on their own OTT journeys, they stress the impor- tance of continuing with their in- cumbent partners. Jonathan Spink, CEO of HBO Asia, said: “While HBO Go (a streaming service which HBO is offering in Asia-Pacific with partners such as Singapore telco StarHub) has opened up new op- portunities for us, we will continue to work with partners, including telcos. “For companies who want to go directly to the consumers, pricing is key, while there are also rights issues that need to be sorted out.” Another aspect of the OTT eco- system that needs to be improved upon is the business model. Until that happens, accessing the life- time value of a customer will remain a non sequitur, suggested Peter Bithos, CEO of HOOQ. “What you see in the market today will evolve greatly over the next few years. The value of a customer then perhaps lies in how long you are able to hold on to them.” Bithos was speaking together with Michael Fleshman, the newly appointed CTO of HOOQ, who was formerly with the BBC. Position content nearer to the customer, advised Fleshman. “The current OTT model doesn’t match lifestyles — you must adapt models to the way people live their lives. Not every­one has connectivity every day, and do you really understand what your customers want? Under- stand what they want, understand their lifestyles, then cultivate the ability to cycle through various business models and execute them effectively.” HOOQ currently has more than 20,000 hours of content — the biggest challenge, however, Bithos added, is how do you bring all this content to viewers, or more specifically, how do you bring the right content to the right audi- ence? “We believe that it is key to always give the customer the sense of something new, all the time,” he said. Convergence, be it between businesses, technologies or plat- forms, will be a key word for the industry, said Jeremy Kung, CEO and EVP, New Media, Telekom Malay­sia. Within this structure, content must not be viewed as an add-on service; it must be a core business, he cautioned. Having said that, just how much content is enough? How extensive do content libraries need to be in order to attract and retain subscribers? Deepak Mathur, EVP, global sales, SES Video, presented a fact that perhaps offered some food for thought: The top 60 titles fetch about 80% of all video-on- demand (VoD) viewing; the re- maining 20% is accounted for by 45,000 titles. And within a VoD, IP and mo- bile world, satellite still has a key role to play by acting as a content distribution network (CDN) in the sky to facilitate time-shifting, loca- tion-shifting and device-shifting, Mathur emphasised. “Satellite can distribute content in territories with limited connectivity to the backbones, working as a CDN in White Paper @ Implementing support for HDR using software-based video solutions v Video continuously moves forward. Black-and-white video ultimately gave way to standard definition colour. In turn, the limited standard-definition (SD) palette gave way to high-definition (HD) with its higher resolution and more numerous and richer colours. Technology continued to march