Can OTT play with pay-TV? Absolutely

Subscription Video on Demand and transactional VoD have gained significant traction with consumers eager to access online content and take advantage of Internet TV opportunities, but not all service providers believe the mix of new and old television can co-exist without some pain and suffering.

Virtually every digital video industry conference this past year had some version of the tried (tired?) but true: “OTT video, friend or foe?” panel discussion that pits the two against each other.

The big question, of course, has been: Can a service provider make money with an over-the-top subscription or transactional video service without cannibalizing its pay-TV business?

While not all operators agree, Telefónica was clear in its position at the OTTtv World Summit in London: Absolutely.

Telefónica Digital’s Joaquin Lopez, product definition and strategy director of media services, said the company sees no conflict between the two sides of its business.

Telefónica has a huge SVoD catalog of movies and TV shows, and also offers optional cinema releases provided on a transactional VoD basis.

In fact, Lopez suggests that OTT content can make the pay-TV product better, primarily by curating content and, in turn, making linear services more flexible. Lopez dubbed it a “flexilinear” approach and also advocated the adoption of more multiscreen options for telco providers.

Telefónica already offers Movistar TV, and plans to add more services.

Strong SVoD and TVoD offerings are two examples of how operators can use OTT – and the resulting bounty of data from the services – to better serve customers, making their services stickier and reducing churn.

SVoD and TVoD generate huge quantities of user intelligence that – with the right tools – can help generate actionable analytics, insights that can also help establish and grow new revenue streams.

Stay tuned.

Jim O’Neill is Editor of Videomind and Principal Analyst at Brightcove. You can follow him on Twitter @JimONeillMedia and on LinkedIn