â€œIn the new competitive environment, being a super-aggregator will be an absolute strength,â€ Asanga Gunatillaka, Chief Product Officer at Com Hem declared yesterday, before adding that to stay relevant, Pay TV operators need to help customers find content from multiple sources quickly. â€œThen it becomes very natural to include a service like Netflix. As a super-aggregator, why wouldnâ€™t we offer that option?â€
Com Hem recently became the second Pay TV operator anywhere to announce that it is integrating the Netflix app into its platform, which means surfacing Netflix content in its search and recommendations, among other things. But this is just one of the examples of how the company is looking to set the bar for what a Pay TV service should provide using its new Com Hem TiVo service.
Gunatillaka believes there is a clear opportunity for Pay TV providers who are working in highly competitive markets, like Sweden, to act as the super-aggregator. â€œWe have done a lot of work to understand customers and, for the most part, they appreciate having everything in one place because entertainment for them is a form of relaxation. The primary objective for most consumers is getting to the content they want to watch quickly.
â€œThere are a plethora of solutions out there to access content but many people feel there is a paradox of choice, and they can feel overwhelmed with the different ways they can watch. If you want to find a programme, which service do you find it on and what is the log-in? There is so much choice but there is fragmentation in terms of the user experience. The services out there have effectively provided content silos and people do not consume entertainment in silos. So when we built our new service we knew that having things all in one place was the way forward â€“ we wanted to be a super-aggregator.â€
During a Videonet round-table on December 18, (listen to the recording here â€“ it is free) Gunatillaka gave more insights on the Netflix app integration and the overall strategy behind Com Hemâ€™s â€˜smarter Pay TV serviceâ€™ using its next-generation TiVo platform. He also explained the marketing messages it was using in consumer advertising to explain such a sophisticated platform.
He was joined by Petr Peterka, CTO at Verimatrix and David Sandford, VP and General Manager International at TiVo, two of the companies that helped build the new platform, which launched this autumn. They take a look at the user experiences that define a smarter Pay TV service, the requirements for content discovery and content/revenue protection in a multiscreen setting, and how you can integrate OTT into Pay TV platforms if that is an option operators want.
They also discuss the advantages that Pay TV operators can draw upon when faced with â€˜hyper-competitionâ€™ from both traditional platforms and online services. Petr Peterka noted: â€œThe advantage that a Pay TV operator like Com Hem has is the ability to use the traditional cable and IP multicast networks, which are extremely efficient for live content, and switch to a unicast network for catch-up services or on-demand services. This is something that a pure OTT operator cannot deliver. It is also about the ability to provide a holistic service that hides the differences in the delivery networks and device types.â€
He pointed to the continuing power of linear/live TV, as illustrated by the high levels of activity around live shows on Twitter, and argued that OTT networks do not scale for live or close-to-live viewing. He said the â€˜hybrid platformâ€™ is a big part of the winning ticket for Pay TV operators moving forwards.
The live webcast included an audience poll asking whether leading Pay TV operators worldwide have done enough to get ahead of consumer expectations with their multiscreen services and improved user experiences. 73% of the live audience thought operators are still catching up with consumer expectations, 15% thought operators are in a poor competitive situation compared with OTT, 8% thought operators are meeting expectations and 4% said they are ahead of consumer expectations.
â€œI would argue that Com Hem is an example of a Pay TV operator that is getting into a leadership role here,â€ Peterka said, referring to its hybrid DVB/IP, TV/multiscreen, linear/on-demand, holistic service that now includes a leading OTT integration. The webcast also includes:
- TiVo defining the character and user experiences needed for a smarter Pay TV service, with a look at content discovery issues including universal search and handling metadata
- Verimatrix on how you unleash content on a hybrid and multiscreen platform without making rights management a headache, and how you get the rights in the first place to deliver content consistency across screens
- Much more from Com Hem on the thinking behind its new Com Hem TiVo platform and how it was implemented.
You can listen to the recorded webcast, free, here.