Pay TV, not Netflix, to drive future OTT market

now_tv_boxPay TV operators, rather than dedicated online services, will dominate the online subscription TV market in the coming years, according to Strategy Analytics. 

The research firm predicted that the growth of online subscription TV would herald “the end of the first phase of online viewing which saw the rise of on-demand specialists such as Netflix and ad-supported platforms such as YouTube.”

In its 2013 Global OTT Forecast, Strategy Analytics added that though online subscription TV is “only just beginning to make an impact”, it will be the principal driver for OTT spending growth in the next five years, with global spending set to accelerate to US$4.7 billion (€3.53 billion) in 2018 – the lion’s share of which will be concentrated in Western Europe and North America.

“We are entering a new phase in the evolution of TV distribution over the public internet. Pay TV service providers are recognising the defensive imperative in ensuring they have a major say in the development of online TV. Standalone online subscription TV addresses the holdouts who will not be swayed by traditional premium TV offerings by promising high quality content including, crucially, live sport, shorter commitment periods, a lower cost of entry and much simpler installation and hardware requirements than traditional, ‘full fat’ pay TV services,” said Strategy Analytics’ director of digital media strategies, Ed Barton.

Citing the likes of Sky in the UK’s Now TV service, Strategy Analytics said the most successful online TV subscription services will come from pay TV service providers leveraging existing content rights and broadcaster relationships.

It also predicted that startups like Magine and Aereo will generate strong growth and said they would be “prime targets for service providers who are late to the online TV party.”

“While the next few years will see standalone online subscription TV services proliferate there are numerous issues the TV ecosystem needs to work through in the dash to deploy. Content rights and windowing will be impacted on a territory-by-territory basis while deployments will need to be designed in order to minimise cannibalisation of the core pay TV business,” said Barton.

“We expect to see bundling of online TV subscriptions with network access deals and device sales in the drive to build customer numbers. Once these services are established in the marketplace spending will accelerate and that is when we will see the extent to which online subscription TV can truly impact the huge spending volumes pay TV delivers today.”

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