ABI Research estimates that in 2013 one out of every ten pay-TV households had access to applications on the set-top box. These applications included news and information services, service provider specific apps, OTT video, games, and music services.
By 2019, nearly 40% of pay-TV households should have access to similar services and features. Video will remain the focus for entertainment applications – consumers’ penchant for OTT video underscores the importance of video and how operator application libraries will evolve.
Telco TV operators such as AT&T, Verizon, Free, Orange, and SFR are currently leading the market for applications on set-top boxes but activity in the cable and satellite markets is starting to gain momentum, particularly as more companies look to new standards like HTML5.
In the US cable market, for instance, operators like Comcast and its X1/X2 platform is expanding the role and penetration of application platforms to US households – be it through licensing deals (e.g. Cox) or potentially via M&A (e.g. pending Time Warner Cable deal).
Liberty Global’s Horizon platform is another noteworthy service with wider regional presence.
“While a number of operators garner significant media attention, a great deal of activity is happening behind the scenes in the B2B market,” comments practice director, Sam Rosen.“Companies like Accedo, ActiveVideo, Alticast, ES3, FourthWall Media, Myriad Group, TiVo, and Zodiac Interactive have partnered with numerous operators to help bring applications and interactivity to traditional pay TV services.”
Senior analyst, Michael Inouye adds, “In addition companies like Opera and Access, which have established strong positions in the CE and mobile spaces are also targeting the pay TV markets – helping developers reach a wider audience.”