Gernot Jaeger, Chief Officer of B2B at Zattoo, talks about five major challenges and trends for IPTV and OTT services.
More devices, ever increasing complexity, tighter security requirements, growing user expectations and business models under pressure – these are the challenges many network operators are facing when launching their next generation IPTV / OTT services.
The challenges are huge. However, they also present an opportunity for those who are successful in standing out in the market with great TV and entertainment services. Zattoo is a leading provider of TV-as-a-service with a fully hosted and managed end-to-end approach. The company provides services to more than 25 network and platform operators in Europe and the US. Gernot Jaeger has been leading Zattoo B2B operations for the past seven years. In the run-up to the Mobile World Congress 2019 (MWC) in Barcelona, he describes five trends that are shaping the industry as well as the scope of Zattoo’s service.
1. Android TV is taking off massively.
More and more operators are turning towards Android TV Operator Tier as an alternative to Linux based set-top boxes. Existing and announced large-scale deployments of TV services build around an Android TV STB are also setting the course for medium-sized operators.
Zattoo has been an early adopter and extended their hosted and managed end-to-end platform to include White Label applications for Android TV Operator Tier set-top boxes in its service scope. In Barcelona Zattoo will present the latest generation and the range of services that are set to launch with a European tier-1 telco in just a few weeks’ time.
2. Apple TV is now a serious option for disruptors.
The powerful Apple TV box has proven it can be at the core of a truly disruptive TV and entertainment offering. This has been demonstrated impressively by Salt: As a latecomer to the TV market, the challenger among the leading Swiss network operators launched a truly disruptive TV service together with Apple and Zattoo in 2018 with great success. Other operators are set to follow Salt’s lead. Zattoo will be showcasing the latest generation of the Salt TV service live at MWC.
3. 4K and OTT / Unicast have come together.
4K VOD content via OTT has been around for a while, but 4K live streaming was lagging behind. Again for Salt, Zattoo recently launched 4K live and non-live content in their all-Unicast / OTT setup. Some of the first channels in 4K / UHD include Stingray Ambiance, Now 4K, Festival 4K and Insight TV. More channels will follow soon. With 4K, Salt is now leveraging the full capacity of Apple TV as a 4K device. The 4K channels are also part of the live demo of the Salt service at the Zattoo booth in Barcelona.
4. Personalisation is the new recommendation.
User expectations for content discovery or personalisation present network operators with a massive challenge: The bar for customer expectations around usability and discovery is set by globally successful OTT services like Netflix – and users won’t settle for much less anymore. At the same time, personalisation and discovery open up new and attractive options for monetisation and upselling. For this purpose, Zattoo has developed a ‘General Discovery Engine’ with a unified user interface to discover content. The Discovery Engine allows a dynamic display of upcoming content, live TV content as well as catch-up and VOD content. The content is not bound to specific sections in the user interface but can be arranged flexibly based on a complex rule system.
5. Disruption needs control.
Even though it makes sense for many operators to outsource their state-of-the-art TV service rather than build it on their own, control remains key. It is mandatory in a SAAS model for operators to have full transparency, visibility and control over their own IPTV / OTT service including live data and dashboards on QoS and other KPIs. For this purpose, Zattoo has built Bridge – a sophisticated command center, providing deep live insights into usage and QoS data. Bridge is already being used by a number of network and platform operators and Zattoo will be happy to share insights and the latest developments at its booth at the MWC.
Zattoo will be presenting its entire service scope with live demos at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona (Hall 5, Stand 5D10).