There is a proliferation of services being birthed in the in the digital video industry and the question in most minds is: Where are we heading?
It’s a question with a lot of answers.
During a panel discussion at the OTT Video Executive Summit in New York City, Steve Harnsberger, president of OTT Digital Services, suggested that the industry is moving from a broadcast world to a transaction world where consumers will pay only for the “channels you want to see.”
“None of us wants 500 channels, “ said Harnesberger, who pointed out that the pay-TV industry has been slow to unbundle content because “that’s how they make money.”
But change is coming, much of it driven by Netflix, which he referred to as “Channel 1 of the Internet,” and it will mean result in better value for the consumer.
That transition, said Amit Ziv, VP of EpixHD, will be confusing, initially, for consumer.
“There is growth on the other side of the table,” he said, pointing to more evolution in the pay-TV and transactional video-on-demand spaces.
Sudhir Kaushik, senior director of product management at Ooyala, pointed out that some operators and broadcasters have been concerned that OTT products – like HBO Go and TV Everywhere – pose the risk of taking viewers away from their core business.
“It’s not a zero sum game,” that will lead to an all a la carte world, he said; instead, the future f TV is likely to be a hybrid one that includes OTT as part of the pay-TV package.
And, he pointed out, innovation – even including back office support – will be crucial to growth in the industry.
There’s little doubt the pay-TV industry is in flux, changing as the ecosystem evolves and seeing OTT as more friend than foe.
Does that mean that Comcast will someday bundle Netflix to consumers? It’s possible.
A recent study from TNS purports that pay-TV subscribers who also stream are more likely to add to their services than to subtract, pretty good motivation for operators looking to leverage their high-margin broadband, especially as margins – and subscribers – to their video services erode.
For content providers evolution is overwhelmingly positive, with programmers and content owners currently are taking the lead.0