The Rise of Strategic Partnerships to Improve Consumer Experience

The Rise of Strategic Partnerships to Improve Consumer Experience

The Quest for Better Consumer Experience
Ten years ago, the average consumer used a mobile phone to call and send text messages, a computer to surf the internet, and a television set to watch video content. As technology evolved, however, these lines began to blur. Today, the same consumer expects to watch video content on his or her mobile phone, conduct a call from the computer, and use the TV set to stream internet videos.

Already, by the end of 2017, Asia-Pacific saw 183.6 million subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) across 12 countries, along with 574.2 million multichannel households [1]. 44% of Asia-Pacific users watch TV online, making it the highest proportion in the world, and 53% of internet users watch video content on their mobile phones [2].

To keep up, broadcasters must provide the full suite of media options and deliver video content in both linear and non-linear formats, so a consumer can watch TV anywhere, anytime, on any device. To help broadcasters do this, a satellite operator must be able to broadcast over-the-top (OTT) video along with the traditional direct-to-home (DTH) linear TV, while a telco must allow for high-speed video streaming.

A New World of Collaboration
The changing demands and mounting requirements of the media industry have made companies rethink their business strategies. Everyone in the media industry, be it a satellite operator, internet service provider (ISP), telco, or broadcaster, has been put in a catch-22 situation, in which remaining stagnant is not an option, but catering to every consumer requirement is a near-impossible task.

As such, rather than expanding by moving into new verticals and thereby competing with entrenched companies, media industry players have taken a different route—collaboration.

In the past few years, numerous strategic partnerships have been formed between industry players, in the spirit of win-win cooperation. For example, SES recently partnered with RCN, a US-based provider of bundled telephone, cable television, and Internet services. Under the partnership, RCN uses SES’s Ultra HD Platform to broadcast linear 4K channels to North America [3]. A similar partnership was formed between SES and Serbian telco Telekom Srbija, to broadcast more than 150 channels which can be accessed via both small 60cm dishes and set-top boxes [4].

Among broadcasters in Asia-Pacific, the trend is similar. In India, Bharti Airtel and Star TV’s Hotstar forged a partnership to bring OTT digital video content to Airtel customers, representing a partnership between a telco and a traditional broadcaster who has gone digital [5]. Recently, Singapore broadcaster Mediacorp partnered with Youtube, allowing Mediacorp to expand its OTT offerings [6]. According to Deloitte’s report, “The Future of Video”, such partnerships will become a necessity for broadcasters, who should be open to new alliances and cooperation to stay ahead of the game [7].

Unified Platforms for Flexibility and Simplicity
For broadcasters and media owners, strategic partnerships and alliances mean that delivering video content has never been so straightforward. Besides leveraging common infrastructure and extending each broadcaster’s market reach, the significance of such partnerships also saw the proliferation of unified media platforms that simplify the media delivery process. For example, with open architecture platforms such as MX1 360, broadcasters and media owners can now adapt to live, linear, video-on-demand (VOD) or OTT with a click of a button using cloud technology [8].

5G and the Future of Integrated Video Solutions
With 5G to be rolled out in 2020, this trend is set to continue and to eventually bring completely seamless architectures across satellite, mobile, and terrestrial networks. According to iDirect’s paper, “The 5G Future and the Role of Satellite”, this will result in a shift in perspective as satellite and mobile networks will be part of a single, holistic ecosystem that is expected to transform the communications industry [9].

5G is expected to cater to the growing demand for mobile video by providing ultra-fast speeds and ultra-low latency, making it possible for even 8K definition video experiences on mobile. With satellite and mobile networks complementing each other, consumers will be able to enjoy high-speed video, both live and VOD, even in remote regions at lower cost.

In light of this, broadcasters can take advantage of 5G by expanding their OTT and other non-linear offerings, which are set to become ubiquitous, and to invest in hardware that can support the 5G rollout. With the possibilities of 5G, such as high-speed data transmission and connectivity in remote locations, broadcasters can also prepare to offer unique content offerings and utilise new technologies in creative ways [10].

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[1] The Asia Video Industry Report 2019

[2] The Asia Video Industry Report 2019

[3] RCN Launches New Ultra HD 4K Channels with SES

[4] New Direct-to-home Satellite TV Bouquet for the Former Yugoslavian Countries from Telekom Srbija and SES

[5] Airtel Inks Strategic Partnership with Star TV's Hotstar

[6] Mediacorp Becomes YouTube's Strategic Content Partner in Singapore

[7] The Future of Video: What Will We Watch in 2030, and How?

[8] MX1 360

[9] The 5G Future and the Role of Satellite

[10] The Role Of Broadcasting In A 5G Future