New technologies met old as this year’s Broadcast Asia conference kicked off with a programme focused on future technologies as Asia’s digital switchover programme reaches completion.
The opening session focused on the business models that can support these new deployments and how operators can navigate the minefield of which to deploy first.
“There are 12 new technologies on the table. Should we take all of them or should we take them one-by-one. How should we decide which one to do first?” said Sharad Sadhu, director of the Asia Pacific Broadcasting Union. He exhorted technology vendors to focus on providing business models within the local market, commenting that “success stories in Europe or the United States don’t really translate into this region.”
The problem of so many choices is leading some operators to consider letting their competitors take the lead, with Aale Raza of Whiteways Systems claiming that many broadcasters may delay investment until the next generation is available, saying “If I invest in an OTT system that costs $1 million how will I get a return on my investment. Should I get in now or wait a year and leapfrog over the other technologies?”
Mock Pam Lum, the CTO of Starhub, reinforced the difficulties of the business case by revealing that “we don’t really see the money for traditional players. For new entrants, yes, because they are getting money from the traditional players, but who has a business model for traditional player?”
Other panelists pointed to the success of broadcasters Channel 4 and the BBC in the UK, but the only panelists who admitted to having a successful business model for new technologies was indeed a new entrant. Jonathan Benartzi, the CEO of Live Asia TV, who provide OTT services to niche communities, shared the secret of their success as the humble set-top box, saying that the “only way to get engagement was to give people a box because then you got the forty-plus consumer mums engaging”.
It would seem that new technologies sometimes rely on the industry staples in order to succeed.