Pay TV Operators vs. Communication Service Providers (CSPs): Why data management will be decisive for the media industry

The epic battle between Pay TV operators and Communication Service Providers (CSPs) for the relationship with the end customer in next gen media consumption will be fought country-by-country. No matter which technology prevails in a given market, a solid storage and data management strategy will be necessary to succeed. This blog will focus on the US and Western Europe.

Pay TV and over-the-top (OTT) web-based subscription services vs Connected TV and Cloud offerings

Pay TV Operators are winning in the US:

In the US, Pay TV operators have traditionally had a wide subscription base. Moreover, High definition (HD) TV was introduced to the US market relatively quickly because it is more compatible with satellite and cable, the dominant technologies US.  Quick access to HD and exclusive content rights were a potent mix that helped Pay TV providers access secondary screens with the age of multiple end-user devices.

Because of early broadband access and a healthy start-up culture, the US has a rich OTT web-based service market that proved strong enough to coexist with traditional Pay TV providers.

In the US and Canada, many end-users subscribe to Pay TV as well as other OTT services.

CSPs are winning in Western Europe:

Many Western European countries enjoyed full analogue terrestrial TV coverage. The lack of broad Pay TV cable and satellite-based services presence in Western Europe stalled the development of HD-type capabilities.  Satellite companies, cable companies and CSPs (who had deployed xDSL access) all had the same starting point when HD was rolled out in many countries. By partnering with local content providers, CSPs have been able to leverage their important household penetration rate and win.

Broad penetration of Connected TVs and Cloud-based media and entertainment offerings are additional factors that help CSPs dominate these markets.  Often, the CSP’s cloud-based offerings include services from OTT providers.

In this model, the CSPs have been able to retain the relationship with the end-user and offer additional margin-rich services.

Why will storage and data management grow in importance? 

  • Digital asset management: As demand for movies in digital, CGI & 3D grows, content providers must have the ability to create, distribute and convert into video format for larger and more diverse audiences. Digital asset management, knowledge management and data analytics will become strategic assets. 
  • De-linearization of media content consumption: When TV was only about broadcast, consumption was linear, meaning it head a clear and predetermined sequence and tape- or reel-based format. DAM was straightforward and easily managed in the distribution systems. Now content consumption is non-linear, meaning that it is consumed according to the desire of the individual customer.  Content is stored as files on video servers or hard disks. Advanced editing and distribution capabilities are a standard requirement for any serious player in the media industry.
  • Content management and distribution:  Media management systems & contextual usage of media will create increasing need to store data in a way that provides context and possibility of reuse. Intelligent data curation and archiving will be a must. The growing CRM, OSS & BSS demands will make storage analytics that will help turn curated data into intelligence & knowledge essential. 
  • Billing: As competition mounts, so do partnerships, joint-ventures and other constellations. Even if end-users are willing to pay for content, figuring out the business models and payment processes will require advanced data retention, analytics and storage solutions. End-users and legislators will demand higher security measures as partnerships and constellations evolve.

About the Author: Elizabeth Press