PayTV and OTT: From us vs. them to better together

By: Brian Shepard

The digital revolution is completely transforming the content viewing experience of both today’s and tomorrow’s consumer. The emergence of streaming services has shaken up the media landscape and poses both a threat and an opportunity to traditional content service providers. Streaming service offerings enable consumers to binge-watch shows like Game of Thrones in their location of choice as soon as the entire series releases on Netflix – as opposed to the more traditional viewing experience where loyal viewers tune in on a weekly basis to watch a show (and all of the commercials in between) – while glued to the living room couch. Pay-TV providers have felt the pressure from players like Netflix, Hulu, Sling and other over-the-top content (OTT) providers – forcing them to evolve and stay ahead in the digital services race. Until recently, competition has been the main theme between traditional video and OTT providers – fighting for the hearts (and wallets) of today’s consumer. However, we are now seeing a shift towards co-opetition in the media landscape, where traditional and OTT providers are working together to deliver combined services under one interface. The “us vs. them” mentality is morphing into a new “better together” mindset.

Rise of streaming:

The modern-day consumer expects instant access to their favorite television shows at any time, on any device. They also expect their content provider to know where they left off in the latest series they are binging, including when they started watching the latest episode on their TV and then finished on their smart phone while in an Uber to go meet friends. The growth of cord cutters, cord cobblers, and cord nevers – those who expect content on demand, across devices and who don’t subscribe to a traditional cable package – put more power (and revenue) than ever before in the hands of streaming providers like Hulu, Netflix, Sling, and HBO GO. CSG conducted a recent survey, polling nearly 2,000 consumers across the United States who regularly use streaming services to watch video, and found that 20 percent of streamers plan to switch, downgrade or disconnect their Pay TV services in the next 6 months. In addition, 80 percent of streamers report subscribing to at least one streaming video service in addition to, or instead of, Pay TV service from a cable, satellite or IP-TV provider.

The rise of streaming is driving the next round of innovation as traditional content providers look for ways to add value as the aggregator of choice for all types of content and multi-streaming services. 

Just another type of content:

While cord cutting can be an enticing solution for many – especially Millennials, who spend more than 50 percent of their total TV time watching streaming video – Pay-TV is still king. True to their name, legacy providers have asserted their reign over the media landscape, with 83 percent of Americans still subscribing to Pay-TV. Breaking away from the negative connotation of the term, established legacy providers are pushing new levels of innovation. They have been able to capitalize on their market share leadership by seizing the opportunity to innovate and define what the future of video consumption looks like. How have they done this?


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