Over the top (OTT) is a term used to refer to content providers that distribute streaming media as a standalone product directly to viewers over the internet, bypassing telecommunications, multi-channel television, and broadcast television platforms that traditionally act as a controller or distributor of such content. Pay-TV operators (DTH/Cable) are exploring the opportunities to launch their own OTT services due to the reasons below:
Ownership - Because OTT services allows users to stream videos from any device using the internet, this model offers the best opportunity for video-focused businesses to build a profitable online OTT platform they control distributing content that they already have rights to.
Subscriber retention - A recent study conducted by Velocity MR has revealed that 8 out of 10 TV viewers in India are will consider ditching their existing Cable or DTH operator and adopt to the new digital age of OTTs or Over The Top players such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hotstar and others. With similar trends also being seen rest of the world, having the ability to additionally provide OTT content creates opportunities for Pay-TV operators to deliver more services to consumers and grow their customer bases.
Having a single subscriber management and billing solution for Pay-TV and OTT subscribers can be one of the crucial solutions for operators. With flexibility and choice synonymous with OTT, a single subscriber and billing platform like Hansen ICX allows Pay-TV operators to:
Offer different Business models:
- With Subscription video on demand (SVOD), customers pay an affordable monthly fee for access to an OTT service, which is usually a larger and non-specific library of content. The key benefit of this model is that operators can seamlessly convert their existing products in Pay-TV to OTT platform.
- TVOD, or Transactional Video on Demand business model is where the operator creates a product and sells it for a once-off price. An example of this is pay-per-view where customers pay for specific video content. The benefit of this model is that due to the once off payment nature, operators can sell each content piece at a high-ticket price, commanding higher profits for each sale.
Implement Flexible Billing models to meet customer need:
- Prepaid and Post-paid - Operators could choose their preferences in billing models based on different OTT business model. A hybrid billing model can be adopted using Hansen ICX to better fit with business needs.
- Cross-discounting - Offers or promotions of DTH or Cable can also be applied to OTT subscription.
- Bundling - Allow bundled services and price for Pay-TV, SVOD and TVOD.
Provision/authenticate by username or to specific devices/MAC address:
There are different technologies used in OTT business - some require provisioning on specific customer owned devices (MAC address), while others only require user authentications so that user can watch content anywhere, on any device. Hansen ICX gives the operator the flexibility to:
- Support multiple devices and/or usernames per account
- Manage customer owned devices (mobile phones, tablets, PCs, etc.)
- Support different content per username including multiple usernames on a single account
Third Party Integration
OTT products have characteristics and rules unlike traditional Pay-TV, whereby the deployment of new content can typically be initiated in hours. Generally, this is due to the static or predictable nature of the content. With a strong framework and an open API, Hansen ICX provides a strong capability from front-end/self-care to backend integration with OTT. This seamless integration ensures that benefits ICX delivers to operators, such as Product bundling and discounting can be easily extended to the OTT customer an operator has.
With a significant part of the world’s population still not having access to reliable high-speed broadband access, the traditional DTH and Cable Operators in these markets are in the near term not significantly threatened by the expansion of OTT. However, this position is starting to rapidly change as we see more roll-outs of OTT enabling technologies targeting cities with high population densities. As, OTT services continue to expand, the most desirable outcome from a traditional operator’s perspective is providing their customers with the opportunity to consume hybrid services. This would have households opting for a mixture of satellite and/or fibre content, in addition to OTT services. This is a trend that is underway in some of the most developed markets in the world and is driven by a combination of factors. These include, the continued negotiated ownership of exclusive content rights by operators and their ability to provide flexible viewing and bundling alternatives to their viewers that a standalone OTT operator cannot provide.
As a Pay-TV operator, if you are looking to keep your competitiveness with a central Customer Care and Billing system that allows you to expand your business models and add OTT capability to your existing offerings, please talk to us about Hansen ICX.
Edwin Sun is Senior Business Consultant for Hansen's ICX - the ultimate customer care and billing solution for Pay-TV operators that is scalable, functionally complete, and built for media monetization ecosystem. Edwin has over 10 years of experience working with ICX and translating client business needs with the functional requirements.