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Cable leaders call on channels to avoid OTT temptations

Cable industry leaders at the CTAM EuroSummit in Budapest called on content providers not to damage their relationship with service providers by adopting an over-the-top distribution model today.

Speaking on a CEO panel at the event, Thomas Franzen, CEO of Swedish operator Com Hem, said that cable operators “have a business that works well”. He said he found it “annoying” that Com Hem sometimes found itself charging subscribers for content that is freely accessible on the web. He added, however, that operators had to respond to the demand of viewers to have access to content at times that were favourable to them on multiple devices. “We also have to respond to that ourselves – we are working on extending the relationship with the customer.

Johan Flykt, CEO of Finland’s Welho, said that he saw some evidence of a “rush to OTT” by content providers. “It’s to do with the fact that players have not had direct access to end consumers before, but that business model is not sustainable in my view,” said Flykt.

Responding, Eddie Nelson, managing director of Sony Pictures Television Central Europe, said that content providers felt they had to respond to market demand to view their content where on-demand platforms were not developed by service providers. “We have a website that shows some of our content,” he said. “I operate in central Europe which is a bit different. We have 1,600 operators. Of those, in every single country, about one to five is involved in VOD or SVOD. The others can’t address [that demand].” He said Sony made catch-up content available on its website but pointed out that it was also open to operators to deliver that content too.

Levente Malnay, general manager of channel provider Chello Central Europe, said that content providers should o give up a be cautious about disrupting existing relationships. “Every single programmer is looking into new opportunities, but we are not so crazy as to give up a business model that works well with relationships and understanding of how to drive value.”