“When we stared talking about OTT a couple of years ago, nobody knew what it meant,” Telekom Austria head of content, media and broadcasting Nikola Francetic told a packed room on Day 1 of Digital TV Central & Eastern Europe in Budapest. “It is now everything that is delivered over open internet. It is also where everyone expects to see revenue grow exponentially.”
However, he stressed that it was a “pretty crowded market” in CEE. “We see a lot of global entrants into a market that is relatively small with lots of languages.”
He was critical of Netflix’s entry into the region. “The price is too high and the amount of content available is a fraction of that elsewhere. It also doesn’t cross borders, I can’t start watching a movie in one country and finish watching it in another. It also does not offer localised content.”
He said local players needed to be more cautious in their approach. “Why? Because they are all competing with things that are already there – public broadcasters and other linear players.”
There are also telecoms challenges in the region. “From a telco perspective, it is a case of killing your own product. Across the region we have quite a few successful TV anywhere operators. We have some operators who had no content, but now have been able to offer SVOD. Another issue is curations and editorial. It is a new thing to telcos,” he explained.
He described the experience of Telekom Austria’s TAG service, which offers linear, nPVR, xVoD, EPG and time shift.
“One of the critical drivers is live sports and exclusive sports,” he explained. “In Bulgaria, we had the rights to the McGregor vs Mayweather fight, which was killer piece of content.”
In Croatia, TAG has a very good relationship with HBO so were able to offer Game of Thrones, localised, “which was a great driver of our service”.
He also stressed the importance of localisation of EPGs. “One of the challenges is the user experience and keeping it as simple as possible. Netflix is easy to use, it only offers one type of service. Where we are offering several, this becomes complicated,” he said.
He offered six tips for SVOD players in the market:
- You need a localised service
- Work hard on the user experience
- Increase SVOD awareness through good marketing
- Bundle it, so it is perceived as very low risk.
- Pricing, we go way below Netflix US$2 to US$5.
- Leverage relationships with content providers, use their content to do promotions.