Speaking in a panel discussion at NEM in Dubrovnik, he was responding to a question as to whether such broadcasters should see the likes of Netflix and Amazon Prime as competitors. In his view, the latter are a “frenemy” and the long-term aim should be for FTA broadcasters to monetise their own libraries. This would present a long-term gain and it should be borne in mind that Netflix’s content is quite niche compared to that of broadcasters.
Meanwhile, Petr Dvorak, the DG of Czech Television (CT), said that Netflix has to date had little impact in the Czech Republic. However, this will eventually change and the question is should FTA broadcasters sell Netflix their content or start up their own on demand services – not just in the Czech Republic but in other CEE markets.
Dvorak also revealed that CT has been in talks with the BBC about the use of content found on iPlayer.
All the panellists, who also included Matthias Settele, the general director of Slovakia’s TV Markiza, and Kazimir Bacic, the general director of Croatian RadioTelevision (HRT), were of the view that FTA is still performing well in CEE. Indeed, it remains the main source of viewing in both the Czech Republic (55%) and Croatia (two-thirds).
Smith felt the main challenge in the next five years would be faced by pay-TV channels rather FTA services or pay-TV platforms. Dvorak, on the other hand, was of the view that FTA channels would lose out on a European level due to the activities of telcos.