APB+ spoke to Yew Weng Soo, vice-president, Sales & Market Development, Asia-Pacific, SES Video, on the increasing trend for ISPs, DTH and OTT players to converge into all-in-one entertainment platforms here in Asia and around the world. Soo is responsible for driving business strategy and commercial activities in the Asia-Pacific video market.
While Over-the-Top (OTT) streaming services are becoming increasingly popular, viewership numbers for Direct-to-Home (DTH) and linear TV continue to see steady growth, especially in the Asia-Pacific region. What are some of the top trends affecting the home entertainment landscape?
Yew Weng Soo: We are seeing an interesting convergence between internet service providers (ISPs), DTH and OTT players coming together to create an all-in-one network infrastructure and content delivery platform. In this way, not only will content providers make a logical add-on for ISPs to attract new subscribers, but ISPs can also provide the infrastructure needed by OTT players to reach new viewers in otherwise unreachable areas. DTH players will also be able to offer their services at a much more competitive price point given the current market pressure and price competition. This bundling approach will also help operators to reach various demographic groups within a market that consumes entertainment differently.
Will DTH viewership decrease, given the increasing popularity of OTT content?
Soo: With changing lifestyles and viewing habits, many have predicted the end of linear TV as subscription-based Video-on-Demand (SVOD) and OTT services grow in popularity. However the results from an ABI Research study show that this is far from true. Worldwide pay-TV numbers are in fact continuing to grow at a steady pace and are expected to hit more than 1.1 billion subscribers by 2024. Similarly, a separate report by Media Partners Asia (MPA) and Ampere Analysis estimates that DTH subscribers in the Asia-Pacific region (excluding China), currently at 105 million, will grow at a steady pace of 5% CAGR to hit 136 million by 2024.At the same time, SVOD subscribers in the Asia-Pacific region (excluding China) will grow from 76 million in 2019 to reach 154 million in 2024.
What are some examples of this convergence between DTH and OTT players?
Soo: This convergence trend is already playing out in markets
like India. Local players such as Bharti Airtel have launched quad-play offerings, combining voice telephony, broadband internet access, DTH linear TV as well as several OTT streaming platforms in recent months.This has also prompted DTH operator Dish TV to announce plans for an android set-top box to match their offerings. Similarly, Tata Sky Binge now offers viewers an all-in-one platform where they can watch linear DTH content alongside streaming content from various other OTT platforms. Further afield, DTH operators Canal+ in France and Sky Deutschland in Germany have also launched ad-driven OTT services on top of their DTH offerings, to provide more content and a more all-rounded entertainment experience for their viewers.
What other advice can you give to the other industry players?
Soo: Viewers today demand a seamless experience when switching between platforms – be it entertainment on OTT streaming or primetime TV, “live” current affairs and sports content on satellite-enabled DTH, viewers demand an all-in-one entertainment package. The key for DTH players then is to stay close to the ground and adapt nimbly to changes in technology, market demand and viewer lifestyles and habits, as with the above examples. In due course, the ultimate winners are viewers at home who benefit from access to more content, more convenience and better viewing quality than ever before.
Yew Weng Soo has over 25 years of industry experience, Soo
brings to SES a proven record of achieving business growth and deep understanding of video customers’ needs. Previously the managing
director of Globecast Asia, Soo has also worked for Intelsat, Loral CyberStar, and Verestar.