A white paper from Intelsat, in partnership with Caretta Research, provides a reminder that linear TV still matters – a lot. Focused on the CEE region, it argues that linear broadcast TV is a crucial point of differentiation for super-aggregators, and a way to reach new audiences.
The report, called ‘Channel Hopping’, is the result of an in-depth market study involving channel providers, Pay TV operators and service providers. It says expanding economies and a still-growing number of TV households in Central and Eastern Europe creates opportunities for channel owners to expand their reach and tap additional revenues via linear offers.
The white paper observes that lower-cost cloud-based broadcast playout is making it easier and cheaper for channel owners to originate more channel brands, and more localised versions of those channels targeting specific markets with advertising.
It points out that as Pay TV operators and telcos in CEE shift to a super-aggregation model, offering popular linear TV channels is a key differentiator. It helps them compete against standalone streaming competitors and the aggregated offers from Smart TV manufacturers.
The report adds that, “Linear TV channels are still an essential component of the media distribution mix, generating more
revenue for most content owners than ad-funded streaming. They are a key pillar of content brands alongside co-branded FAST channels and streaming services.”
Turning to distribution options, Caretta Research concludes that a hybrid approach that harnesses satellite, fibre and Internet models will maximise reach and improve time-to-market for linear channel owners. “They can use each distribution mode flexibly to respond to the needs of each market and every individual satellite DTH, cable and IPTV operator,” the executive summary advises.
“Satellite maximises reach across Pay TV platforms, fibre enables robust delivery of localised channel versions, and Internet feeds enable rapid coverage of hard-to-reach operators,” Caretta Research points out. “Telcos and Pay TV operators have varying preferences for which delivery mechanism they prefer to use to receive channel feeds, with trade-offs between upfront cost, signal quality, operational complexity, security, and time-to-market.”
The report points to the benefits of working with a distribution service provider (like Intelsat) that can support these satellite, fibre and Internet models, and which can demonstrate experience of working with Pay TV affiliates in multiple markets.
The authors suggest that a linear channel with hybrid distribution strategy will set European channel distributors and Pay TV operators apart from their streaming competitors to achieve growth in the expanding CEE markets. They say the CEE region offers an unparalleled opportunity for channel owners to tap into a rapidly expanding consumer base, pointing to some of the highest average Pay TV penetration in the world.
“An impressive 30 million households already enjoy satellite DTH, cable, and IPTV services across the seven key markets in this region,” the authors point out.
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