In our earlier post this week, we talked about the emergence of OTT in the Thai market, recapping the finer points of our fireside chat with PrimeTime at CASBAA. In addition, I was happy to be invited on "The Money Shot" panel, to talk about the hottest topic at this year's event - the monetisation of OTT. My top 3 takeaways from the panel are;
- Broadcasters' evolving monetisation models - An ad-funded model is still a significant model for broadcasters, but we are seeing other approaches emerging that go beyond SVOD, to hybrid models that mix AVOD, SVOD and TVOD. Ultimately, the advertising experience is still far from the seamless broadcast advertising experience that viewers want and frankly expect. However, the technology is available today for content owners to be able to not only incorporate video ads, but also insert personalised video ads, overlays in video streams and hide controls to prevent fast-forwarding through ads.
- Ads: To skip or not to skip - While viewers demand the option to skip ads that are not relevant to them, broadcasters are constantly demanding solutions with features that prevent ad skipping. We can continue to argue that the context and personalisation of an ad placement is key for viewers to embrace ads, but it boils down to the hard fact that ads remain a strong revenue generator for broadcasters. The only way forward is to better understand the face behind the ad impression, in order to serve relevant ads to viewers to enhance the user experience. Providing a seamless, zero buffering experience and removing the blank screen between the streaming content and the ad are also critical.
- Hybrid business models - A blended business model with different combinations of ad-supported and paid subscription options are being offered to empower viewers to decide how they want to "pay for" their content viewing experiences. The newly launched PrimeTime OTT service in Thailand is an example of a Subscription VOD and Transactional VOD hybrid approach that enables viewers to select a model that best fit their lifestyle.
Incumbent and new OTT operators have gone beyond a "me too" strategy to deploying OTT. They are weighing to see firstly, if there is an addressable market and how to serve that market with a monetisation model that is suitable and flexible. With viewers conditioned to expect ads in a typical broadcast environment, it is only a matter of time before the same conditioning can be adopted or even tolerated by online viewers. A seamless broadcast-like ad viewing experience will be crucial.