Maximizing multiscreen opportunities in a burgeoning European TV market

​Today’s European TV landscape is burgeoning, providing a bountiful and vibrant business environment for broadcasters, operators and content owners. Once available, this high quality content is met by a clear willingness from viewers to pay for the privilege of access, further bolstering a TV industry that is valued at upwards of $130 billion annually (iDate).

However, it isn’t all plain sailing. Recent findings from Digital TV Research states that many of Europe’s premier pay-TV operators will be subject to tough challenges over the next few years. The research says that, thanks to competition from OTT providers and the willingness of consumers to switch to lower cost offerings, nearly half of Europe’s major pay-TV players will be hit, losing subscribers and revenue in the years leading to the end of the decade.

The European TV Landscape

Across a continent with 750 million people, 53 countries, 28 currencies and billions of connected devices, the steps that pay-TV providers must take to remain competitive and relevant are complex and not simply navigated. Consumers demand high quality content, on whatever devices they may be using and at times that fit in with their viewing habits.

But maximising the opportunities of today’s fast-moving European TV landscape has been made more complex by region-specific conditions. In Europe there is no centralized regulatory authority like the FCC in the US. Companies must also contend with a myriad of operating, technical and cultural nuances, from local regulatory compliance, to decency laws, and multi-language subtitles. When developing a go-to-market play all of these components must be factored in, and a local partner who understands the market is imperative to ensuring the seamless navigation to success.

The Impact of IP

The IP revolution is playing a significant role in the European TV market, and OTT is fuelling dramatic shifts in how viewers consume content. TV is moving away from communal living room viewing to a more individually subscribed and consumed activity, with more and more personalized services on IP enabled devices such as tablets, smartphones, smart TVs and games consoles.

Clearleap recently commissioned an extensive research project to better understand the impact of the IP revolution and how service providers are reacting to the challenges of this fast-evolving TV landscape. One of the most eye-catching findings from the survey was that nearly half (48%) of the 31 European TV services operators surveyed stated that they had already launched an OTT service in some form – an additional 16% said they would be looking to launch a SVOD/TVE service over the next 18 months. When asked about their future plans for providing TV services to subscribers, the overwhelming consensus (87%) were considering increasing their use of third party service providers with particular interest around areas such as content management, distribution, billing and playout.

The TV Toolset

The desire to make content without borders a reality is evident - it is clear that service providers are starting to broaden their reach by adopting new approaches to deploying credible multiscreen offerings, which appeal to a range of potential new subscribers who have hitherto remained Free-to-air (FTA) viewers. These new services of course have to be smartly pitched and priced so as to avoid the risk of cannibalizing the operator’s traditional subscriber base.

However, one thing that has become evident from Clearleap’s conversations with these operators is that there is a pressing need for external resources and support when dealing with the demands of today’s complex multiscreen market. Few organizations have the full skill set needed to build, maintain and deliver a multiscreen platform, and few have the desire to do so from the ground up. An example of this would be Scripps Networks, who came to Clearleap looking to monetize its on-demand impressions for its advertiser-supported networks. Scripps Networks wanted to avoid the capital expenditure and lacked the internal resources to develop its own infrastructure. Today, Clearleap manages all content processes and logistics, allowing Scripps Networks to focus on strategic development of the brand and their core business.

As content is increasingly spans borders, languages and cultural differences, it has become ever more vital that providers embrace technological change and experiment with new monetization models to deliver truly exciting new experiences for consumers. Today’s TV industry is primed for operators, broadcasters and content owners to bring innovative new services to market – and an experienced partner can help them get this right.

Preben Schack is VP of sales EMEA at Clearleap

Preben Schack is VP of sales EMEA at Clearleap

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