New packages, new platforms
One key innovation in recent quarters has seen pay-TV providers overhaul their subscription models to provide more flexible packages. In the UK, Sky offers a contract-free bundle that allows users to choose different TV packages and combine them with broadband and phone packages on a rolling basis. In the Netherlands, satellite pay-TV newcomer Joyne is offering a low-cost mix of channels on a rolling monthly basis as part of a service aimed at those with second and holiday homes.
Carriers have also launched new streaming TV packages to cater for consumers’ online watching preferences. AT&T’s DirecTV Now service, launched in November 2016, provides access to cable channels without requiring a long-term commitment. Similar initiatives are apparent in the form of Dish Network’s Sling TV and Sony’s PlayStation Vue service.
Mobile-centric streaming services have also appeared, with the needs of younger users in mind. T-Mobile US’ Binge On, launched two years ago, began the trend toward zero-rated video services delivered over cellular. In July, Three launched the UK’s first zero-rated content package, offering a mix of TV channels as well as OTT video and music.
Integrated carriers are also using their mobile platforms to broaden addressable markets: AT&T’s DirecTV Now service has been made available to AT&T mobile users who have certain packages, while UK-based BT has been providing subsidized BT Sport content on some of its mobile tariffs.
Telco-OTT partnerships on the rise
Meanwhile, alliances between network providers and paid online video services have increased dramatically in the last two years. On the network side, fixed and cable broadband providers are leveraging OTT services, often integrated with the set-top box or as part of a bundle offering, while mobile operators are also driving growth through partnerships. Asian telcos have been prominent in many deals struck over the last year, striking deals with a new breed of regional OTT providers such as iflix and Eros Now.
All told, this means that operator TV and video propositions are evolving in interrelated directions, with leading telcos widening their content propositions and distribution platforms, and adjusting pricing and packaging models in tandem. This has helped service providers achieve a number of aims, from increasing customer spend to boosting customer loyalty.