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OTT Question Time #19 – Sweden OTT Special

OTT Question Time #19 – Sweden OTT Special

Sweden – in common with its Scandinavian neighbours – has long led the OTT charge. SVT, the national broadcaster, launched its first VOD product, SVT Play, in 2007, HBO Nordic and Netflix have been active in the region since 2012, and Disney+ went live last month. Now, the country has a flourishing mix of broadcaster, operator, independent and SVOD-led OTT services, the highest penetration of streaming boxes and sticks in Europe and TV still reaches...
OTT Question Time #18 – Assessing OTT Pay Models

OTT Question Time #18 – Assessing OTT Pay Models

All the world seems to be moving to a subscription model – music, editorial, books, gaming, groceries and now even coffee (with Pret a Manger), furniture (with John Lewis) and cycling (with Brompton Bikes). And, of course, TV and movies. But as more film studios, cable channels and broadcasters launch their own D2C platforms, how many SVODs can consumers justify paying for out of their monthly entertainment budgets? That’s a question we asked our panellists,...
OTT Question Time #17 – OTT Piracy & Content Protection

OTT Question Time #17 – OTT Piracy & Content Protection

As viewers increasingly shift from watching linear to OTT, piracy and content protection become ever more important topics of discussion for broadcasters, film studios, operators and service-providers. This isn’t just an “interesting” conversation – one industry vendor, for example, told us that “In some countries, the scale of piracy is such that it matches the revenues of the local pay-TV market”. Commercially, strategically, and technically, content security is a big deal.  That was the focus of...
OTT Question Time #16 – The Future of BBC iPlayer

OTT Question Time #16 – The Future of BBC iPlayer

Tim Davie started his new job as Director General of the BBC last week and amongst the many items in his in-tray will be what to do next with the BBC iPlayer. That was the focus of this OTT Question Time too where, together with Gulliver Smithers, CTO of RampRate and former VP Product Development at BBC Worldwide, Stuart Cleary, Chief Commercial Officer at Zattoo and Nathalie Lethbridge, Founder of Atonik Digital, we discussed: Who’s...
OTT Question Time #15 – Building an OTT Service from Scratch (Part 2)

OTT Question Time #15 – Building an OTT Service from Scratch (Part 2)

At this week’s OTT Question Time (Thursday 3rd September, 4pm UK) we talked Part 2 of how to build an OTT service from scratch. In the previous session we focused on first principles, backend strategy, building for where the audience is and using data to help make decisions and form KPIs. This time we switched to the front end where we discussed: UI / UX across different OTT platforms Content distribution to end-user devices; associated...
OTT Question Time #14 – Building an OTT Service from Scratch (Part 1)

OTT Question Time #14 – Building an OTT Service from Scratch (Part 1)

During this episode of OTT Question Time (filmed on Thursday 20th August 2020) we talked about how to build an OTT service from scratch. Sure, many of the biggest players already have suites of mature VOD products but the subject is still absolutely relevant for, amongst others, operators, film studios, sports rights holders, the automotive and aerospace verticals, content owners, publishers and brands. And even established broadcasters, who have legacy OTT systems, can dream of...
OTT Question Time #13 – PVOD & The End of Pay Windows

OTT Question Time #13 – PVOD & The End of Pay Windows

Premium VOD isn’t exactly new (remember Tower Heist in 2011?) but this year’s lockdown may have accelerated a growing trend amongst film studios and content owners to test simultaneous cinema / OTT release or even go VOD-first. NBCUniversal’s Trolls World Tour, for example, has reportedly generated D2C sales of over $100m; AMC – the owner of Odeon Cinemas in the UK – has agreed that Universal films can stream on digital services after just 17...
OTT Question Time #12 – Is OTT UI / UX Now Fully Evolved?

OTT Question Time #12 – Is OTT UI / UX Now Fully Evolved?

VOD services all over the world are usually built using a toolkit of common features including content discovery and recommendation, personalisation tools (like recently watched, single sign-on and device synchronisation) and player controls (like live restart, forward ten seconds and subtitling / closed captions). In this episode of OTT Question Time we asked whether, with ubiquitous grid layouts and lots of familiar functionality across OTT products, the evolution of these user interfaces is now effectively...
OTT Question Time #11 – The Environmental Impact of OTT Streaming

OTT Question Time #11 – The Environmental Impact of OTT Streaming

At this week’s OTT Question Time we assessed the impact of OTT streaming on the environment. This is a complex, multi-faceted issue and we covered a lot of information including: The current lay of the land: how much OTT streaming is actually going? How has this increased over the past few years and even in 2020 alone as people have been at home more due to the pandemic? What does that translate to in terms...
OTT Question Time #10 – Taking Stock as Lockdowns Ease

OTT Question Time #10 – Taking Stock as Lockdowns Ease

In this episode of OTT Question Time we looked at the TV and on-demand industry through a wide-angle lens as lockdowns in many parts of the world started to ease. Together with Gulliver Smithers, former SVP of Product & Technology at Sony Pictures Entertainment and now CTO at RampRate IT, Adam Nightingale, SVP Commercial at Deltatre and Fred Black, Senior Analyst at Ampere Analysis, we talked about: Whether the high levels of TV / VOD...
OTT Question Time #9 – The Content Aggregators

OTT Question Time #9 – The Content Aggregators

During this OTT Question Time we talked about content aggregators and asked if, with so many movies and TV shows now available to view online, they’re the de facto future of finding and watching titles.  We explored: Aggregator business models (free, freemium, charging SVODs and broadcasters) Building scale and whether aggregators need big audiences to attract more partners or the best partners to grow audiences (the old chicken vs. egg conundrum) The technologies involved in...
OTT Question Time #8: Lessons Learned from the ANZ OTT Experience

OTT Question Time #8: Lessons Learned from the ANZ OTT Experience

In this episode of OTT Question Time we went down under! Together with Kym Niblock, Chief Product & Information Officer at TVNZ, Holly Knill, Group Director, IP & Content Products at Foxtel, and Sam Hall, Chief Content & Commercial Officer at Fetch TV, we explored FTA / Pay-TV / SVOD trends in Australia / NZ and the wider potential impacts of those experiences. For example: Has the pandemic led to a renewal of trust between...
OTT Question Time #7: Building a Profitable AVOD Business

OTT Question Time #7: Building a Profitable AVOD Business

Together with Kasia Jablonska of Endemol Shine Group, Francesco Denti, formerly of Fox Networks and now advising the Web Stars Channel Group in Italy, and Simon Murray from Digital TV Research, we explored the AVOD market opportunity, AVOD platforms, how commercial deals are structured, how data is used to assess and optimise how content is performing and the role in MCNs in creating sustainable AVOD businesses.
OTT Question Time #6: TMT Funding in a (post) Pandemic World

OTT Question Time #6: TMT Funding in a (post) Pandemic World

Our guest moderator, Ben Keen, was joined by Louis Kenna of Liontree Advisors, Mike LaSalle from Shamrock Capital Advisors and Timo Argillander of IPR.VC and together they discussed M&A deal flows, funding start-ups and new content, the prospects for global tech players making increasing investments in the TMT sector and whether the industry will inevitably emerge loaded with more debt than ever before.
OTT Question Time #5: The Future of SVOD

OTT Question Time #5: The Future of SVOD

Together with Simon Murray of Digital TV Research, Maria Rua Aguete of Omdia and Jonathan Broughton of Media Business Insight we talked about SVOD take-up, the average number of SVODs per household, changing consumer behaviours and the elasticity of viewer’s TV / SVOD spending compared to the rest of their entertainment budgets.
OTT Question Time #4: Content Production, Sales & Scheduling in a Pandemic World

OTT Question Time #4: Content Production, Sales & Scheduling in a Pandemic World

Together with Wim Ponnet of Endemol Shine, Emma Tibbetts, the former GM of UKTV Play and now founder of Chuck Data and Mike Sid of Whip Media Group, we talked about the making, selling and scheduling of content in this time of lockdowns and social distancing.
OTT Question Time #3: The Pandemic & The Advertising Paradox

OTT Question Time #3: The Pandemic & The Advertising Paradox

Together with Simon Thomas of GroupM, Leon Siotis of SpotX and Alan Wolk of TVREV we talked about why, when TV and OTT viewing is soaring, broadcaster advertising revenues have plummeted. We also discussed regional differences between the UK, Europe and the US and the prospects for an advertising recovery later this year and in 2021.
OTT Question Time #2: How Have Broadcaster’s Roadmaps Evolved since Lockdown?

OTT Question Time #2: How Have Broadcaster’s Roadmaps Evolved since Lockdown?

Together with Bjarne Andre Myklebust of NRK, Kerensa Samanidis of M&E Digital Consulting and Allan McLennan of PADEM Media Group, we discussed the effect of the various national lockdowns on broadcaster, operator, pay-TV and service-provider roadmaps. Specifically, their operational, product, strategic and technical plans and how they've rapidly evolved in Q1 and Q2 2020.
Five VOD Talking Points – Q2 2020

Five VOD Talking Points – Q2 2020

Are people watching more TV? Will audiences run out of new content to watch? What’s happening with freelancers? The cascading effects of the pandemic. And will all broadcasters survive? Here are some TV / OTT talking points for Q2 2020.
So Who Does Win the OTT Streaming Wars?

So Who Does Win the OTT Streaming Wars?

Earlier this month I suggested that the Streaming Wars should more accurately be described as the Streaming Skirmishes because although this wasn’t a winner-takes-all scenario, and that multiple SVOD services could happily coexist, even if (hypothetically) one champion emerged they’d still then need to tackle the wider threats for attention and eyeballs from editorial, gaming, social, real-life experiences and eventually, AR / VR.  It’s still fun to play the game, however, and try to address...

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Netflix’s technology and development budget has gone from $163m in 2010 to a whopping $1.83bn ten years later – an increase of over 1,000%. Certainly, large chunks of this increase can be apportioned to storage, content delivery and staff costs but what are they spending the rest of the money on? That’s the topic up for discussion at this week’s OTT Question Time on Thursday 21 October, 4pm UK. Together with Tom Williams, CEO of...

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Designing OTT user interfaces and experiences for Smart TVs presents some unique challenges. Compared to smartphones and tablets, which can be deeply personal devices, television sets were – and increasingly are again – where families watch together. TV on a TV is watched from a distance rather than up close. Navigation and search are controlled via handheld remotes or voice. And there’s a whole lot more screen real estate to play with and fill. How do you...

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At this week’s OTT Question Time (Thursday 30th Sept, 4pm UK) we talked about the supercharged growth of the children’s OTT market over the past few years. Absolutely, some of that expansion can be accounted for by more kids having been at home, for longer, during the pandemic but what’s just as interesting is the change in their viewing behaviours (by type of service and device preferences), the buying decisions of parents, and the knock-on...

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It’s sounds like the start of a riddle: what part of OTT UIs do you most use but hardly ever notice? Answer: online video players! Online video players have a gossamer quality about them in that they’re both visible and not. They’re the main way – the only way – that viewers can watch content but at the same time we don’t really see them unless we’re forwarding or rewinding or they’re not working properly....

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A CMS – a content management system – does exactly what it says on the tin, right? It’s a system for managing content. But when it comes to streaming services, and looking at how content interfaces with both their back and front-ends, what is the scope of an OTT CMS? Does it manage, for example, the process by which video files are ingested and transcoded? What about then adding images and other metadata to those...

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One of the best things about linear TV is the sense of a shared experience – of watching, for example, an international football tournament with family or friends and then celebrating (or in England’s case, commiserating!) together. Of tuning in to a worldwide event like the finale of Game of Thrones and dissecting it afterwards, or looking forward to the start of a new season of Love Island in the expectation of intrigue and scandal....

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Despite the resilience and stability of the infrastructure, the defined quality of the output, the guaranteed geographical coverage for audiences, and the decades of client and supply chain experience built up in the process, there was always going to come a time when it became cheaper to deliver content via IP rather than broadcast. Has that threshold been reached yet? That was the subject of this week’s OTT Question Time (Thursday 15th July, 4pm UK)....

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If you’ve ever found yourself confused about content rights, you’re not alone. I’ve been working in OTT since 2005 and I still don’t really understand why, for example, the Tom Holland Spiderman movies aren’t on Disney+ (Disney owns Marvel, right?), why I can’t find the 2019 season of Masterchef UK, first aired on the BBC, to watch on any platform (AVOD / SVOD / TVOD) or why Usain Bolt’s 100m from the Beijing Olympics is...

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“Content is king” – the idea that OTT services need to consistently replenish their catalogues to attract (and retain) customers – is a phrase repeated so often that it’s almost become hackneyed. And yet, for broadcasters, film studios and service-providers, it’s never felt truer. Over the past sixteen months, while lots of us have been stuck at home, we’ve been watching more “TV” than ever before. At the same time, the pandemic has meant that...

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Following the huge upheaval in the television and OTT advertising market last year, broadcasters and AVOD service-providers are now cautiously optimistic about the prospects for recovery and growth. ITV, for example, reported that its total ad revenue was down 11% in 2020 despite a 17% rise in VOD advertising. The company is now “seeing more positive trends”. EMarketer estimates that Hulu’s ad revenues will hit $3bn in 2021, up 31% on 2020. And GroupM has...