We’re kicking off 2021 with the latest episode of The Business of OTT - a conversation between Chris Linden and Jeff Miller, during which Jeff predicts that 2021 will be the year re-aggregation of OTT services will begin, with the operator at the heart of this.
Jeff reflects that 2020 accelerated a lot of thinking about over-the-top content. For the past three or four years it has been in a phase of disaggregation. Content providers around the world have been creating direct relationships with subscribers. They are creating user experiences and more content to deliver to those subscribers directly, which has been at the expense of the pay TV operator. This growth of OTT content has been disaggregating subscribers - they have been getting their content direct from content providers, and less from the aggregated service of cable and pay TV operators.
This is a trend Jeff believes will begin to slow down because we’re now beginning to witness subscriber fatigue over the amount subscriptions and content sources that are required. Consumers are beginning to feel the loss of the convenience that pay TV services offer, where all the content is available at your fingertips where a single user experience and guide are available to search for content that you want to watch that you don't know which channel or services it’s on.
Operators are in a really good position to provide a single bill, a single sign on across multiple apps, global search and recommendations across many apps. For example, you’re simply looking for the Queen's Gambit, because you’ve heard some good things about it. You have no idea that it happens to be a Netflix series. How do you find it? In the past, you would go to your guide and you would enter ‘The Queen's Gambit” and it would find it. This is going to be an important functionality, as even more content becomes available and the operator can provide it.
Furthermore, a single billing setup will become more important. One of the biggest recent announcements was that Warner Media will run content simultaneously on HBO Max and in theatres. When theatres are open again, this is a major shift in business model. It also further demonstrates the importance of OTT apps to subscribers. But how many subscribers are going to want to pay continuously for HBO Max simply because there's a first run movie during a particular month? The ability to simply turn on and off of these subscriptions is an interesting proposition that operators can support by aggregating a single sign on of OTT apps, with a single bill. That’s why Jeff predicts that 2021 is the beginning of re aggregation.
Check out the complete interview below