Satellite Offers More Choice To OTT Viewers.

Satellite television is here to stay and OTT will be an additional “side plate” which complements and expands viewers’ choices.

The growing popularity of OTT streaming content, mainly television programs, over a broadband Internet connection is providing new revenue streams and developing more opportunities in our business. We posit that satellite television is here to stay and OTT will be an additional “side plate” which complements and expands viewers' choices.

OTT is not a new idea, but what is new is the capability to monetize it within a competitive environment. Watching streaming video content over the Internet has been available for quite a number of years prior to OTT becoming a common term. For many, the major problem was mainly attributed to the unavailability of stable high speed infrastructures. This meant that broadband Internet network limitations did not allow providers to offer content without the fear (and reality of) service disruptions due to poor connection quality.

In recent years, these types of connection issues have been solved satisfactorily. This is especially the case in densely populated areas with well developed Internet infrastructures that have encouraged the growth of streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu and many others that are moving quickly to capture market share in various markets.

The IPTV market is growing and is being sold as a pay TV subscription service using broadband connection but is, in fact, a "walled garden" system in which TV channels are provided as part of a specific designed interface similar to those used by pay cable and satellite services.

Over The Top services are readily supported with satellite delivery. This, combined with today's Smart TVs, make enhanced products even more attractive to multi-channel providers and viewers.

Over The Top services are readily supported with satellite delivery. This, combined with today's Smart TVs, make enhanced products even more attractive to multi-channel providers and viewers.

OTT, on the other hand, is an open system using broadband infrastructure to deliver any video content available on the Internet. Here providers add an option of viewing 'Premium content' on a subscription basis or a pay per view basis which we all know very well from cable and satellite pay services.

Concurrently, major television set manufacturers are offering so called "smart" television sets to allow direct, wired and wireless connection to the Internet. This simplifies access to free and pay content without the use of external converters.

With smart sets, households can for the first time watch selected content without being connected to multi-channel pay TV services that provide an over-abundance of content that more often than not, are not watched (or hardly so) by a majority of subscribers.

Consequently the phenomenon of "cord cutting" and recently "cord thinning" have been noticed in well developed cable and satellite pay TV markets, mainly in North America. The idea of customer defection has been well reported by the press and research companies and caused quite a concern in the pay TV industry.

But contrary to the media noise, it now seems that this phenomenon is not as widespread as observed at first. The market is now showing that a new "co-existence" situation is emerging. Today, more pay TV services are beginning to supply set top boxes that enable direct access to OTT services to complement their regular services. This enables cable operators and satellite services to retain customers and improve the scope of the offered services. Thus, the industry is recognizing that more and more portions of the public perceive OTT services as a complementary layer to linear television services rather than as a substitute for current multi-channel packages.

We should add that with the ongoing growth of various types of TV service distribution models, classic multi-channel suppliers via cable or satellite are surely but slowly internalizing the fact that they must update the services they sell to their customers. This especially regards how they compose and price their packages to keep these customers. Today, first and foremost this relates to multi-channel services marketed in areas where customers also have access to fast broadband Internet.

At this year's CES convention, 4K was the leading technology theme. Satellite can support 4K long before other delivery methods.

At this year's CES convention, 4K was the leading technology theme. Satellite can support 4K long before other delivery methods.

Beyond this one should note that with the advent of even newer, more sophisticated but high bandwidth consuming broadcasting technologies such as the UHD /4K transmissions (already available albeit very restricted) and the even more improved Super Hi Vision (8K), there will be a dramatic increase in demand for sufficient bandwidth to transmit these high quality, high resolution television channels.

And while OTT is penetrating more and more households via terrestrial Internet networks, these are still very limited in capacity in most parts of the world. In many regions satellites are ready and available to provide such services immediately and on a very large scale. Satellites, as we know very well, don’t rely on terrestrial distribution infrastructure and this is their major benefit over other distribution methods. Moreover, satellites have large footprints that save huge amounts of investments in terrestrial distribution networks. Indeed, a new generation of satellites offers flexible solutions, larger bandwidth capacities and new spectrum utilizations (mainly spot beam Ka-band and Ku-band High Throughput Satellites) which can be used in a smarter, more efficient way to distribute television content over vast parts of the globe.

So again, satellite television is here to stay for a long time. OTT is an excellent additional “side plate” which complements and expands the choice of the viewers.

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