The broadcaster and OTT “tipping point” is imminent according to Discovery Norway and Swedish Com Hem bosses, who called for aggregation, localisation and collaboration.
As consumers navigate the crowded OTT and linear TV market, traditional broadcasters are too looking to diversify and add value beyond their core offering.
The cooperation and competition among broadcasters, technology companies and digital streaming services were the hot topic during a leadership debate at the recent Northern Waves TV technology conference in Oslo.
As digitisation sets the standard across the industry, new opportunities between pay-TV operators and broadcasters are critical, a number of key exes told the Northern Waves audience.
Discovery Networks Norway chief executive Tine Jensen explained that over time the industry will be forced to drive content to local markets.
She said: “Localised content is key and TV distributors are the differentiator to OTT services. Broadcasters need to protect [content assets] and ensure we have a strong position on financial investors to drive the local content.
“The industry is approaching some kind of tipping point.”
Jensen said that at a local level Discovery Norway offers a deep play streaming service which aggregates content to target younger audiences in the region.
“We need to collaborate day by day and be really focussed. We’ve starting to test the 4K and we do have niche audiences with certain sports who certainly appreciate 4K, there are early adopters and those audiences appreciate it.”
Com Hem head of product TV Jessica Andersson talked about its strategic partnership with Google.
She explained: “We have always seen Google as a partner not as a competitor. My mission is to break down boundaries between content sources and streaming services from linear to VOD catchup.”
The Swedish based digital TV, broadband and telecommunication operator Com Hem is a major player, operating in approximately 39% and almost 1.83 million homes.
Andersson said: “Looking at Apple and Google’s different strategies, with Apple’s hardware focus and Google’s co-operation with operators they’re both reaching vast amounts of consumers. It is very interesting to see how they will continue to do so.”
Pointing to the data analytics, she said: “Aggregation is definitely required.
“We as an industry need to standardise the approach, certainly has helped the output for our operators. It takes time and we have solutions now for production, but this requires a standardised approach and collaboration is key.”
The Nordic region is highly saturated with the subscriber base at capacity. Broadcasters have no choice but to investigate content aggregation partnership deals and collaboration.
Andersson added that sport is the main pay TV driver of breadth of content and deals with digital platforms enables consumers to access content in one place.
Long live linear
Jensen said: “When we talk about the shift from linear to digital, linear is not dying at all.
“Norwegians watch approximately two hours per day, which shows there is the expectation and demand is alive. We strive to be super relevant for the local sports.
“Some programmes work really well on linear and others do not work. We are focused on creating global services, multi trends partnerships with the BBC and offer audiences opportunities beyond the normal live TV signal, we need to offer them more.”
Jensen acknowledged that the minutes are going down on linear, but said this is complimentary with the digital services. Jensen explained that Discovery is offering its audience a unique experience.
She said: “Catering to a fragmented audience is not about cannibalising… We are offering them something else and we are seeing our digital streaming services on the deep play.”
Canal Digital chief technology officer Henke Erichsen spoke with IBC365 on the benefits of collaboration between traditional broadcasters and digital streaming services.
He explained the greatest challenge is for smaller distributors to keep up with the likes of Netflix, Facebook and Amazon who are grooming user behaviour and driving the consumer’s expectations.