A hidden subtext to ANGA COM’s first international content panel was whether the Smart TV was friend or foe.
Wilfred Urner, the managing director of the SES-owned HD Plus observed that since he was last at the Cologne trade fair some five years ago, the majority of set-top box manufacturers had disappeared, replaced by new companies.
Marc Antoine d’Halluin’s M7 isn’t quite ready to depart from the set-top yet, but 20 per cent of its subscriber base is opting for the new OTT services where it is concentrating its efforts with the manufacturers Samsung and LG.
Thomas Christensen, CEO, Nordija, remained concerned of the willingness of the TV manufacturers to continue to support apps when they wanted the consumers to renew their purchase every five years. Christoph Vilanek, CEO, Freenet Group, went further saying manufacturers didn’t always support existing standards.
But in Germany, where consumers remain suspect about paying for their TV, it wouldn’t be long before the elephant in the room was addressed. HD Plus’s Umer was blunt: “The challenge to move subscribers to move the value to HD is not as evident if the channels do not push the offer themselves.”
Vilanek was clear. HD simply isn’t enough. “When we ask the customers when they churn in sport it is a benefit, but not enough to pay for the regular programme,” he said.
As Umer explained, HD Plus is trying to add additional value through both catch up, and Restart.
D’Halluin said that Netflix had created the Gold Standard of operator apps (OppApps) and it was a challenge to persuade the viewer not to head there first. It was a point supported by Jean Marc Racine of Synamedia: “We do not believe it is going to be broadcast and OTT… you want viewers to have OTT and catch up not just Netflix and Prime, but the local channels.”