Allente: pay TV and linear content still a strength for operators

Michael Bärlin

Michael Bärlin

Traditional pay TV and a focus on local linear content still has considerable strength despite growth in non-linear viewing and ‘super-aggregation’ of third-party services, according to Michael Bärlin, chief content acquisition officer at Nordic pay TV operator Allente.

Speaking on a panel at the Connected TV Summit in London, Bärlin said that Allente remains committed to a traditional way of packaging pay TV alongside ‘super-aggregation’ of international and local SVOD services.

“Local SVODs are very strong and have a large share of viewing in our markets,” he said. However, “we stick to the bundles”, said Bärlin, “with some flexibili8yt for customers”.

He said that the advantage is Allente knew what it could commit to and could negotiate wholesale discounts with guarantees of subscriber numbers. That delivered value both to supplier and consumers, he said.

Volume commitments to SVOD players to get deep discounts are key, he said.

Bärlin said that local content was “the only really must have content that we need”, particularly in the linear space. However, he said, “international ones also add value” to Allente’s bundles.

He said that the local broadcasters had also launched local SVOD services. The local players had established themselves, if not as number one in their market, at least as number two or three.

Bärlin said he believed “the big screen will remain first and centre” of viewing but that other forms of viewing would likely increase.

“The big screen will remain the most important screen,” he said.

Regarding super-aggregation, Bärlin said that content partners often had both D2C and wholesale teams. D2C teams were often worried about cannibalisation which complicated negotiations with wholesalers.

He said that universal search and a comprehensive UX were important nevertheless.

Bärlin said Allente also offered broadband services but it is not the core product with a high gross margin like that of a telco. However, he said, most of Allente’s competitors are telcos with higher margins on broadband than on TV, which is subsidised to gain broadband customers.

“That is the difficult part of the competitive landscape. The positive part is we really focus on the TV offering,” he said.

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