The rise, relaunch and redemption of traditional broadcast TV alongside digital players in the OTT world was a popular theme discussed during IBC2017. 

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Netflix VoD

Is it getting easier or harder to launch an effective VoD service in today’s world?

Staying competitive and making money from VoD is a major challenge, not helped by poor bandwidth a panel agreed during a Platform Futures session.

Ivan Verbesselt, SVP Group Marketing at encryption specialists Nagra, threw a number of other challenges into the mix, not least content protection.

“But you also have to ask how many brands or OTT options can the customer actually cope with? People can self-bundle but this will only lead to massive fragmentation.”

Netflix and Amazon Video are facing global competition from companies based in India, Italy, France and the UK who discussed the OTT disruption to broadcasting.

Analyst Ben Keen moderated a panel that explored interesting variations in how smaller and localised operations are competing and thriving in the OTT space.

Eros International President Europe and Middle East Pranab Kapadia told delegates the key differentiator for Eros was it deliberately capitalising on its 25-year archive and experience as a leading Indian studio.

He said: “We have 68 million registered users, and three million subscribers who want to see our movies. We release about 60 a year for a $2 subscription in India.”

OTT streaming is challenging pay-TV and free-to-air operators alike. However, viewing habits show robust linear TV consumption and an explosion in mobile viewing.

EBU Senior Manager of Delivery and Services Peter MacAvok explained the relaunch of DTT services in Germany based on DVB-T2 and HbbTV could be the shape of things to come.

So, what next for broadcasters? Executives from ITV and Channel 4 told delegates during their conference session a successful future, they predict, is blending traditional broadcast scheduling with data in order to meet the expectations of their audience.

ITV Commercial Director Online Faz Aftab said it is all about individual personalisation on a mass scale, saying “one size is not going to fit all”.

“To retain our editorial voice and continue to curate our content whilst also making use of the immense data and insight,”  is the driving strategy behind Channel 4’s OTT on-demand video business model, Channel 4’s All 4 Head of Product Sarah Milton said. 

“The word broadcasting has come to be commonly accepted over the years as meaning ‘one-to-many via a transmitter’, a true definition of the term is ‘to cast or scatter in all directions’,” wrote IABM Chief Technology Officer Stan Moote for IBC365.

Ultimately, Moote said: “It is not about the technology, it is about suiting the needs of the end-user”.