How can Pay TV operators differentiate themselves from new entrants in a home where they have no physical presence in the form of set-top boxes or DVRs and everyone can compete with each other using â€˜justâ€™ a software interface? That was the question posed by Richard Broughton, Head of Broadband at IHS and the Chair for the â€˜Operator as an Appâ€™ session at Connected TV Summit last week. Content aggregation skills, billing, customer relationship skills, customer care more specifically, branding and Quality of Service were among the answers provided by executives from BT, Orange and Deutsche Telekom.
For Alex Green, Director of TV at BT Retail, it all boils down to traditional aggregator skills. â€œAggregation is critical from the user point of view. Lots of people do not know which content owner or studio a particular programme is from so recommendation is extremely important. The operator also sits in a unique place from the billing and customer relationship and customer service point of view.â€
Sally Armitage, Director of Web & TV Products at Orange said: â€œBrand and QoS are important. Our job is not to provide hardware but to provide services to our customer base. We do not simply provide content; we also provide a service. The brand has value and the whole package is important.â€
Oliver Friedrich, Senior Project Manager at Deutsche Telekom Laboratories agreed. â€œIt is the package, and the parts of the package that are not visible to the customer, that are important here.â€
Talking about multiscreen TV more widely, Green confirmed that if there are problems with a connected CE device, customers call BT as the service provider. â€œThey call us even if it is nothing to do with us because that is what they come to expect from their operator,â€ he said.
â€œProviding connectivity is central to the life of the home and as soon as something goes wrong your immediate instinct as a customer is to speak to the connectivity provider, even if the content server has blown up! In a way that is a challenge because we have to deal with the full range of problems but that should also be a core competence for us and it helps us to maintain a relationship with the consumer.â€