Hong Kong, 28th October – The second day of the CASBAA Convention took an in-depth look at some of the technology as well as advertising models and revenue streams that are making waves in the new world of OTT. Gathering key players from the broadcast industry across the region, the convention discussed some of the most pertinent issues facing the broadcast industry today. A guest appearance from Hong Kong actor, Daniel Wu, also added a touch of Hollywood/HK movie style glamour to today’s event.
The session kicked off with a showcase of some of the latest technology that is sure to have a dramatic impact on the broadcast industry. The first was Twitter’s recently acquired Periscope. An app that lets the user broadcast live content from their phone, Periscope is already being employed by news organizations, celebrities and sporting events in the US. Rather than being a challenge to traditional broadcasts, “Periscope could compliment alternative forms of coverage at lower cost,” said Khush Kundi of Ericsson. Also under the spotlight was Accedo’s Virtual Reality headset. The headset incorporates the controls inside the VR for better user experience as well as second screen capability, which are becoming increasingly important. Accedo believes virtual reality will succeed over failed 3D offers as “it opens up new communication avenues, which can be driven by companies,” said Sushant Sharma of Accedo.
Audience measurement was a hot topic at today’s session, which much discussion on how best to assess audience demographics and behaviors. There was a general consensus that ‘joint industry committee models’ worked as they represented the majority of stakeholders, bringing robustness and validity to data but by their nature, they could be slow and cumbersome. Whilst there it is a challenge to pull together data from numerous sources, Lee Risk of GfK stated, “the more data you have the better. For accuracy, it’s important to have as many sources as you can but it needs the cooperation of whole industry.” Nick Burfitt from Kantar Media agreed that, while Asia is leading the way with ‘return path data’, audience measurement “will end up being a mix”. Also from Kantar, Keld Nielsen showcased some of the current audience measurement models for multiscreen viewing they have in place that incorporates a mix of people meters, portable meters and focal meters, which are attached to home wifi networks to track viewership across multiple screens.
Targeting viewers with specific advertising was also discussed, with David Downey from INVIDI introducing his addressable advertising model. Addressable advertising aims to eliminate the wastage of TV advertising by about 70%. This is accomplished through the use of data so media buyers can deliver an advert “with the right precision, the right reach and the right frequency.” Addressable advertising can run 10-15 adverts per commercial break to specific audiences with tailored content based on their behaviors and even produces the data metrics to justify ROI.
The types of content that engaged viewers was also on the agenda with the consensus that storytelling was paramount as long as brand visibility was kept very subtle. “Branded content is long-form advertising,” said Josh Black of GroupM though without the brand being front and center. Riaz Mehta of Imagine Group agreed, “for every production we maintain creative control. We ultimately have to draw the line when the client pushes for increased presence as we know this will not work to engage the consumer.” When reaching the consumer, “the hero of the story needs to be the consumer,” said Tony Chow of Marriott International. “You need to understand the consumer. If you talk too much about your brand, the consumer is not interested.” It was agreed that data would help facilitate the understanding of the target audience to find insights that would help drive strategic thinking and create relevant content. Distribution of content was also highly important where, despite the fact that brands were beginning to syndicate in-house, there was a reliance on media networks to get content to the right audience.
The moneymaking side of navigating the new OTT landscape was also a hot topic at today’s session. Sumeet Jaisinghani of Saban Capital Group felt optimistic that OTT spend was elevating overall media spend and that the “strategy needs to be multi-focused.” Fritz Demopoulos of Queen’s Road Capital believes there are comparisons with an ecommerce based revenue model. “There isn’t much difference between an ad-based business and an ecommerce business.” He also commented that the dollars in the distribution bucket were much larger than in the ad bucket providing more opportunity to increase revenue.
Raising capital in Asia was also discussed; Sander Hamersma of Barclays mentioned that “traditionally it has not been easy for content production companies in Asia to raise capital,” and while some have recently become successful in China, “multi-billion dollar production companies are really a first in Asia.” Interestingly though, he notes that M&A deals in Asia have been up. Improving broadband infrastructure was seen as key to growth but few companies had a long-term strategy to invest in this. “It’s only at the later stage that deep-pocketed institutions have the funds for broadband projects,” noted Demopoulos. A decline in subscriptions was raised as a concern though Jaisinghani saw that “pay TV isn’t a hard sell. Some pay-TV providers have been aggressive in rolling out direct to consumer content to their subscriber bases.” Demopoulos added “OTT providers need to look at the most scalable way to make more money. It is usually platforms that are scalable and content agnostic.”
When it comes to paying for content, Mark Britt from iflix believes consumers are keen to pay if they are “provided with a product that is compelling enough to be better than piracy at a price that everyone can afford.” Peter Bithos from HOOQ agreed, though said it was necessary to keep the model as simple as possible, “creating different payment layers is too complex for the customer to understand. The customer will work out what they want.” Ivy Wong from VS Media mentioned that “content could trigger different revenue models,” and also cited online to offline models as a key revenue driver. It was agreed that while payment models are being figured out, there is still some work to be done in emerging markets to recoup revenue as credit cards not prevalent.
Globally renowned Hong Kong actor, Daniel Wu, took to the stage with Bruce Tuchman of AMC, to discuss AMC’s latest epic series ‘Into the Badlands”. The series combines the best of Asian martial art with Hollywood storytelling and production. Daniel discussed how a compelling storyline was central to the series as focusing on martial arts alone would not be enough to sustain viewership. Tuchman commented that the venture was adventurous but a great one for AMC, “AMC is known for drama and breaking the mold so it made a lot of sense that our next budget drama is something that has never been done before.” The series will be launched simultaneously across the globe in 24 languages on November 16.
The UNICEF Child Rights Award for Television was also awarded at today’s session. The winner was GMA Networks from the Philippines for their emotionally compelling work on child manual labor in the Philippines, BAMBOO.
This year’s CASBAA Convention concluded with a fun debate on key statements regarding the future of the broadcasting industry for the audience to vote on. Propositions such as ‘mobile will be the predominant screen, the 30 second TV slot is dead and insightful curation is the future of television were posited with the audience mainly agreeing that the TV screen will prevail, as will the 30 sec ad slot, and that curation is essential to the future of TV. The audience was also in the majority agreement that content will go directly to consumers in the future and that the pay TV industry is in good health despite the new OTT landscape.
Sponsors for the CASBAA Convention 2015 include: ABS, Accedo, Akamai, AMC, APT Satellite, AsiaSat, Asia Television Limited, Brightcove, Conax, ContentWise, CreateHK, Discovery Networks Asia-Pacific, Eutelsat, France 24, Ideal Group, InvestHK, Irdeto, ITV Choice, Kantar Media, Letv, Lightning, MEASAT, MediaExcel, One Championship, Patron Spirits, PCCW, PwC, RTL CBS Asia, Scripps Networks Interactive, SES, TIME NOW, The University of Chicago Booth School of Business, Time Warner, True Visions, Turner, TV5Monde and Victorious.
For further information about the CASBAA Convention 2015, please visit www.casbaaconvention.com.
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CASBAA is the Asia Pacific region’s largest non-profit media association, serving the multi-channel audio-visual content creation and distribution industry. Established in 1991, CASBAA has grown with the industry to include digital multichannel television, content, platforms, advertising, and video delivery. Encompassing some 500 million connections within a footprint across the region, CASBAA works to be the authoritative voice for multichannel TV; promoting even-handed and market-friendly regulation, IP protection and revenue growth for subscription and advertising, while promoting global best practices. For more information, visit www.casbaa.com
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