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Succeeding in Video by Enhancing the Viewing Experience


Succeeding in Video by Enhancing the Viewing Experience

Todays hotly contested pay-TV market is getting increasingly aggressive. Multiple OTT services are competing to capture market share as the transition from traditional pay-TV services to internet-based services keeps accelerating. But these market dynamics are also creating an environment where regional US pay-TV service providers could enjoy a clear advantage.

This was the focus of the recent Light Reading webinar, Getting Personal: How Regional & Local Service Providers Can Succeed in Video by Enhancing the Viewing Experience. Moderated by Light Reading's Cable/Video practice leader, Alan Breznick, the webinar featured panelists John Warmath, CEO of 1Tennessee; Dustin Twyman CTO of 1Tennessee; Michael McLaughlin, CTO of IPVconnect; and Rohit Mehra, Sales VP of NAGRA. All participants shared their perspectives on consumer expectations, the profitability potential of pay-TV service, the benefits of switching to IPTV and how to select the right partner to achieve your objectives.

A market driven by consumer demand

Kicking off the conversation, Breznick queried the panelists on what consumers are seeking and expecting in a pay-TV service today.

McLaughlin weighed in on the challenge with his customer base, mainly consisting of private communities and MDU-type environments, looking for compelling reasons not to just think of IPVconnect as a broadband service provider but also as a provider of video services. Given the crowded video space, IPVconnect zoned in on providing a package of services that distinguishes them from competitors, featuring localization, custom channel options and PPV options.

People are looking for a more and more complex feature set, content aggregation, content discovery, and they want it in an intuitive, easy-to-use package, added Warmath.

Unique opportunities for local and regional providers

The key to all this is the matter of profitability. When asked if pay-TV services can still be profitable for local and regional providers, the panelists shared their perspectives.

You have three strategies, kill TV, let it die slowly, or invest to stop the attrition that everyone is seeing. This depends on the provider but, a substantial number of our customers want to do business locally. If we can provide a product and a service that lives up to their expectations, they're going to do business with us, especially when it comes to seeing local sports and news. It really comes down to providing that product that fits their expectations and moves seamlessly between services they're choosing are with the ability to use their own devices, stated Warmath.

Twyman added, Competitors such as Hulu or YouTube TV now cost $70-80 by themselves and don't give you all the content that we can provide the customer. And, with the box rental costs not associated with the new service on the CAPEX side, I think it is a more profitable situation. Traditionally, you would have spent all your money on the CAPEX side and keeping the headend going.

Reaping the many benefits of a compelling consumer offering

Along the way of implementing the new solution, the panelists uncovered surprising insights with both consumers and their own teams. These learnings shed light on how smaller service operators can create a compelling consumer offering with many benefits.

The television is not the only platform anymore. It has amazed us, particularly in the plus-55 community, how open and excited they are about being able to have different viewing options. When we first introduced this to our customers, we thought our take rate for devices such as Firesticks would be really focused on our younger tech' community. But what has been a shocker is that our plus-55 community is successfully using the Firesticks today, noted McLaughlin.

Twyman added, This product can be launched in less than 30 minutes for a whole house. And, you're giving the customer DVR services from their mobile device, their iPad; there are just so many different variations of what you're giving the customer that they would never get from a traditional system. Once customers experience it, they don't want to ever go backward. Additionally, 1Tennessee has experienced a pleasant surprise from a technician side of things as well. No one wants to go into a house and rewire five boxes that will go away in the future anyway.

Final words of advice from the experts

When asked how do you overcome the financial hurdles to make the transition to IPTV? The panelists each shared advice for operators considering the switch.

Do your research. Find a good solution provider that will work with you and help you fill some of the holes that you don't already have on your team, some that will be committed to making it happen, stated Warmath.

McLaughlin added, There are many legacy providers out there claiming to do IPTV. But when you look underneath the hood, it's basically an add-on to what they have been providing. Although there's a significant investment in this, at the end of the day, the return on our investment we feel is very reasonable. If you're looking at a smaller customer base, it amazing how affordable this is.

NAGRA plays an important role in helping operators transition to IPTV to serve consumers and customers better. We work with its partners to deliver a fully-featured hybrid streaming solution powered by the OpenTV Video Platform. The solution enables operators to optimize the customer experience against their local requirements. With a low-touch market entry proposition, this turn-key solution is designed to deliver the benefits of a tier-1 solution without the hefty price tag.

The webinar is accessible in its entirety to learn more from panelists on how your pay-TV business can benefit from this inn
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