The past week saw OTT disruption entering a new phase with announcements by Philips, RTL and Sky – with the latter causing SES and Eutelsat stock taking a beating.
The week started with TP Vision, the makers of Philips smart TVs, announcing a deal with Improve Digital to serve personalised commercials to viewers – offering advertisers direct access to consumers, bypassing broadcasters and distribution platforms.
Then, RTL in the Netherlands announced it was offering real-time bidding to advertisers on its on-demand and catch-up service RTL XL. Using the SpotX platform, acquired by RTL some time ago, it offers advertisers also direct access to viewers with individualised messages.
On Thursday Sky surprised the world with the announcement that it would offer its whole range of products, both linear and on-demand, as an OTT service over IP. They are the first major European operator making this move, likely signaling a trend that other major satellite customers (such as Canal) might follow suit. Another player, the M7 Group, is already rolling out hybrid services across a number of territories it serves.
The Sky announcement sent shockwaves in the industry, with Eutelsat and SES (Astra) stock taking a severe beating.
With the European ambition to bring broadband to every household in the Union, the satellite industry indeed faces tough competition as on-demand viewing is best delivered by IP, not by satellite. But the OTT developments are also bad news for traditional players including broadcasters and distribution platforms, especially when combined with the shift from linear, live TV to on-demand viewing for movies and TV-series.
If you have an IP capable TV set there is no need for a STB or satellite receiver anymore, and you need only a broadband connection. On my Samsung I can directly access all Netflix, RTL XL, Uitzending Gemist content and stream it. If I would buy a linear OTT service on top of that, such as Knipper from T-Mobile or KPN Play here in the Netherlands, there is no more need for an old-fashioned cable or DTH service as well…. you just need a very good broadband connection.
There is a reason why Ziggo/Liberty is now adding all these apps to the Horizon box, to lock in the subs – until the viewers realise they can get the same stuff with their smart TV, with or without an Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Roku or Chromecast.