Prague, June 26, and probably one of the first ever conferences about OTT that went beyond the now boring “threat or opportunity” debate we hear time and time again.
Perhaps one of the best things about the event, which was in fact billed as a ‘pre-conference’ ahead of the Digital TV in CEE conference, was that its focus was almost entirely on Central and Eastern Europe and what OTT means for the region’s TV industry.
CME started off proceedings by providing an interesting overview of its Voyo service, which was launched in the Czech Republic at the beginning of last year and is now available in all six of its markets. Take up of the subscription-based offer – it was initially free – has been good, with 55,000 customers in Q1 and a much higher figure expected at the end of this quarter.
However, its prospects are to some degree being dampened by such problems as piracy and low purchasing power.
A Polish perspective on OTT was meanwhile provided by Toya, the country’s fourth largest cable operator, as well as Atmedia, which represents a total of 100 TV channels in the country, Hungary and the Czech Republic. Toya has now been operating an OTT service for two years, while Atmedia urged caution about the prospects for OTT in the region, at least in the short term. Its reason for doing so was the fact that it took thematic channels a number of years to become viable from the advertising perspective and the same now probably held true for OTT, with the online video ad market, though growing impressively, still at a low base.
Subsequent presentations showed that OTT is already very much of a reality for such companies as Telekom Slovenije, while others, including IKO Media, are expecting an increase in revenue by adding OTT to several producers’ portfolios. Interestingly, HBO Go was described as a type of OTT service.
There was also discussion about the importance of social TV and Content Delivery Networks (CDNs), with the latter’s importance underlined by the forecast that IP traffic in the region is expected to triple from 2011-14.
While it’s still early days for OTT in CEE, with a big question mark hanging over how services will be monetised, its future undoubtedly looks promising.