As Northern Sky Research (NSR) stated in its Global Direct-to-Home Markets, 4th Edition report, over-the-top (OTT) services are coming to direct-to-home (DTH) markets around the world.
This year, the Super Bowl (the largest TV event in the United States) will be available over the Internet in near-HD resolution. Netflix alternatives continue to boost content libraries and expand into new markets. And rumors of an Apple-powered TV service continue to point toward a 2012 launch (click here for more information). All signs show 2012 will be the start of a significant convergence between traditional and OTT services, which is a trend DTH platforms must address going forward.??
In 2010 and 2011, DTH operators in developing markets introduced value-driven offerings that provided tremendous growth for platforms, particularly across Latin America and Eastern Europe. Elsewhere, DTH operators continued to deploy HD/DVR hardware and branded non-linear offerings, enabling synergies between DTH and OTT services. However, as mentioned in NSR report, the near-term gains in subscription revenues in emerging markets could represent a significant risk if DTH platforms cannot retain these new subscribers.?
What To Do?
To solve this issue (and to diversify revenues), some DTH operators have taken steps to deploy advanced wireless Internet services. Already, DIRECTV’s Sky Brazil announced a new 4G wireless Internet offering for 2012 in selected markets, the first steps toward advanced media distribution service. DISH Network in the United States continues to remain silent on plans for spectrum it acquired in 2011, but it likely will include a media-distribution component. These new distribution networks will help enable a new synergy between DTH and OTT services.
Such bundled business models as Sky Brazil’s will help attract and retain high-ARPU-generating subscribers, and provide an alternative revenue stream in a period of tough economic conditions and slowing subscriber growth rates. Although ARPU growth will be driven mostly by HD and DVR deployments on a global basis, NSR believes these new services likely will enable a converged media experience, and will be a key factor in attracting and retaining customers for such DTH platforms as Sky Brazil’s.
The Bottom Line?
Last year, many DTH platforms introduced traditional linear DTH offerings into new market segments across the globe, and DTH subscribers in 2012 will have access to a wider range of non-linear offerings. Such bundled offerings as Sky Brazil’s also will help blur the line between linear and non-linear offerings, and they will complement revenue streams for DTH platforms. Given these growing trends, it now is clear that convergence is front and center for DTH platforms worldwide.
– Northern Sky Research