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SPORTELAsia: Challenges and opportunities in OTT services and content protection in Asia

By Nong Ruowen 19 Mar 2018

At a SPORTELTech panel which took place at SPORTELAsia on March 14, OTT services and piracy were the main focus of discussions featuring Chris Wagner, EVP, Marketplace Strategy, NeuLion, Maurizio Barbieri, Head of Sports Parnerships, SEA-Twitter, Danny Menken, Group Managing Director, Eleven Sports Ltd. and Bastien Casalta, CTO, TMG. 

Speakers agreed that OTT services have grown immensely over the past number of years, but especially over the past two years. The panel’s moderator, Wagner stated that “according to some research, 1,500 OTT services had been launched within the last 24 months.”

This fact has allowed rights holders to see opportunities to connect directly with viewers. On the other hand, the development of content has increased rapidly because of this growth with opportunities to be distributed across different platforms. Wagner also believes that the audience now expects a very rich interactive experience from digital, which is the starting point for a good OTT service.  

However, the industry has also seen a big rise in piracy, as Danny Menken pointed out. When the panel came to the topic of how to address this problem, Menken believed that it depends on the territory and he shared his experience in Poland.

With Menken initiating this topic, he spoke about the piracy problem he was exposed to in Poland from the very beginning, but that they have now been able to counter. Menken  disclosed his expertise from their journey in Poland. First, the price of products should be flexible in terms of subscription and should be really tailored to the customer’s needs. Then, the broadcasters also need to cooperate with rights holders and the government, something which we discovered in Singapore is not happening. 

“It’s crucial that the whole chain is working closely together to fight together. This is what we did in Poland and we succeeded,” stated Menken. 

Bastien Casalta added that “It’s really important that you can create a real difference between the piratic experience and what the user can expect when buying a box or watching on a mobile App.”

Maurizio Barbieri from Twitter expressed his ideas on the relationship between Twitter and OTT services. 

“In my role, I get to talk to entities such as broadcasters, clubs and football leagues. And the thing that I say to them all the time is ‘use everything’. Because every different platform will suit different needs,” stated Barbieri. 

When it came to Twitter, Barbieri added that Twitter is a platform where people share their feelings and we take this data while they are watching a game. It can help the OTT players and broadcasters to drive more subscribers towards their service. 

Given that there are a lot of differences between Asia and other parts of the world, OTT services in Asia should feature a lot more local aspects. Wagner suggested that OTT services in Asia should be able to support the local currency and local payment methods.

Apart from what was previously mentioned, speakers also agreed that the digital landscape requires a disciplined and focused approach to content protection and anti-piracy activities. It is a complex area that requires constant attention and the OTT service’s goal is to showcase the most effective solutions to protect content and revenues.

Proofread by Raymond Fitzpatrick

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