Fragmented viewing habits drive evolution in multiplay
Ovum has released analysis on UK consumer multiplay purchasing drivers that showed that, while bundles remain popular in the UK, younger audiences have viewing needs that are not being addressed through existing bundled TV services. OTT video is only slowly being introduced into bundles, while current usage levels have driven audiences to collate these services themselves, often augmenting rather than replacing traditional pay-TV subscriptions.
Among current purchasers of multiplay bundles in the last 12 months, OTT video was the service most frequently added, while pay TV was the service most frequently dropped. Among audiences who don't currently purchase a bundle, some 40% cited a lack of interest in pay TV as the reason they didn't buy multiplay bundles.
The ubiquity of pay TV in bundled options suggests there is potential to attract audiences who don't buy bundles by offering evolved bundles comprising fixed and/or mobile broadband with a bouquet of carefully selected OTT services.
Multiplay service bundling has barely changed since the standard dual-, triple-, and quad-play template was successfully established by service providers across the world. However, the dominant commercial model for selling connectivity and content is under pressure: Audience needs are changing, and service providers are slowly experimenting and evolving bundles to address younger demographics for whom the traditional bundled proposition of telephony, broadband, and pay TV is failing.
"OTT video is a key part of the modern viewing diet, and it is a natural progression for service providers to include relevant services in their offering " Ed Barton
Ovum believes that these results are indicative of an industry in transition; service providers are attempting to address the current fragmentation in TV and video sources by aggregating and bundling relevant third-party OTT services. It is no longer possible for one provider to address a given society's broad and diverse viewing needs on a proprietary basis.
Ed Barton, Ovum's TV practice leader, observed, "OTT video is a key part of the modern viewing diet, and it is a natural progression for service providers to include relevant services in their offering. Doing so effectively is critical to the longer-term health of the multiplay bundle.
"We expect to see tighter integration of third-party OTT video in pay-TV UIs, moving away from the current model of distributing someone else's app and toward the tightly integrated paradigm demonstrated by Comcast and Netflix in which service provider functionality, such as voice search and control, is applied equally to Netflix and Comcast content," he continued.
Looking ahead, Ovum expects OTT video to be an increasingly common component of multiplay service bundles, either as an augment to pay TV or, in some cases, as an alternative to pay TV either via pure OTT or by augmenting a free TV service. The level of integration into the pay-TV UI and the extent to which service provider functionality will be applied in varying degrees is dependent on the service provider's commercial strategy and the capability of their infrastructure to enable integration of partnered services.
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