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Aggregation: Is it the Future of OTT?

Alex Wilkinson

Head of Sales & Marketing, EMEA & LatAm

September 29, 2020


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In a recent feature, CSI explores the trends that will influence the broadcasting landscape for the decade to come. The evolution and potential of OTT had a hefty write up with input from our very own Head of Sales and Marketing, EMEA & LatAm, Alex Wilkinson, threaded throughout. Alex was joined by numerous other industry leaders in chronicling views as to where the OTT market is headed.In pursuit of assembling a library worthy of their customers’ coin, video providers battle over rights for video content every day. As the OTT landscape becomes increasingly populated, video content is increasingly scattered across the internet and often hidden behind an array of different subscriptions.Consequently, customers are not able to access their favorite films, videos, and programs in one place. This has made the industry increasingly complex, and this complexity has given rise to mass confusion and frustration amongst users as they look for something to watch.

Last year, a survey by Study Finds revealed that it took only 22 seconds for participants to become frustrated if a series or movie didn’t start streaming immediately.As a result, many consumers gravitate towards the service that offers the most extensive content catalog, leaving other platforms unused (or worse, unsubscribed). Alex explains that, “multiple services mean a certain amount of complexity for viewers who ultimately want to switch the TV on and find something to watch”This frustration needs to be amended or the OTT industry risks wasting its incredible potential for long-term growth. The “survival of the fittest approach” isn’t the preferred way forward and luckily, many industry players already seem to have realized this.Customers want one thing; easily accessible content that suits their wants and needs. An aggregated SVOD service is all about solving the need for consumers to navigate between different services before finding something to watch. A consumer should be able to switch on the TV and look and easily find the content they are after, without having to think about where that content is housed.In the same CSI article, Gideon Gilboa, EVP of Product, Marketing and Solutions at Kaltura, explains: “What has been disaggregated will ultimately be re-aggregated, albeit not in quite the same fashion”.Aggregation isn’t a new solution; in fact, it’s what pay-tv providers have been doing all along. Next-generation aggregation looks to bring OTT services under one umbrella – providing user-friendly and easy access to a multitude of platforms.There are two main ways in which the super aggregator model could work:

  1. The pay-tv operator creates their own bundled package including subscriptions to other SVOD services.
  2. The operator enables access to a range of other SVOD services, but the consumer chooses which ones to subscribe to.

Many consumers already use pay-tv applications, they are used to their interfaces, and have a long-standing trust with their provider of choice. These things combined mean that operators are well positioned to assume the role of super-aggregator of SVOD services. Using pay-tv platforms as the base has numerous benefits for all involved:

  • It reduces barriers to entry for new viewers.
  • It offers billing in one location, giving consumers further control to add/remove packages.
  • It brings simplicity to the consumer.

Alex Wilkinson mentions other benefits for operators as “the aggregator model means having more data on what the consumer is watching and how they are interacting with different video services within a bundle.” He also notes that “it shifts control to the pay-tv provider and gives them access to much more intricate viewing data, which can be used to ensure stickiness and reduce churn.”TV’s next-generation form may be more akin to a marketplace rather than a place where content is stored directly. In order for pay-tv providers to maintain a dominance in the sector, they will have to be open to this kind of adaptation. If done well, this switch will benefit everyone involved – streaming services will see lower churn, subscribers will get all the content they want, and pay-tv is put firmly back on the map.The broadcasting market is ever-evolving – and as it keeps developing there will be both winners and losers. As service providers, all we can do is equip ourselves to be on the right side of that coin.

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