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Growing space emerging for ‘middle ground’ pay TV offerings

There is a growing space in the pay TV market for ‘middle ground’ players with relatively low-cost offerings, providing something more than free-to-air TV but less than a full pay TV service, according to Justin Hewelt, global director, Pay Media.

Speaking at the IBC conference in Amsterdam, Hewelt said that the price points for pay TV show growth in “the middle ground”. He pointed to the success of BT Vision and Yes TV by Fetch in Australia.

Major pay TV operators are also looking to move into the value market with the likes of Sky’s Now TV and Sky Ticket offerings, and Foxtel Now in Australia as well as Dish’s Sling TV, Hewelt pointed out.

Streaming services are now becoming the primary way of receiving TV in some households. Sky Q will launch a service with now dish next year and Sky has already launched an OTT TV service in Spain, he said.

Hewelt pointed to examples of companies targeting international markets with OTT offerings such as YouTube TV, Sling TV and Hulu. Sling, he said, had targeted diaspora and minority audiences with much more flexible pricing than cable.

YouTube TV , targeted at millennials, costs a hefty US$35 a month, but offers a range of unique features like a dynamic real time mosaic as well as Cloud DVR.

In France, Molotov has over a million subscribers with a mix of live free TV and paid for cloud DVR, upselling to  an extended channel line up., with Cine+ and OCS available as premium options.

Hewelt said that people can now access a growing number of services over a growing range of devices. There is also a growing number of free as well as pay options, as evinced by the success of over-the-air TV in the US.

Pay TV operators have responded with a range of measures such as loyalty schemes and using data to better serve their customers, he said.