We speak to Irina Ariana Daniela Mihalascu-Hera, Product Development Manager at Romanian telco Romtelecom, about the challenge for TV operators of adapting their digital rights strategy to a non-linear workflow, and the pressures weighing on content owners and operators in an increasingly fragmented market.
Who should deal with the piracy challenge in regards to digital rights?
As we all know, cutting down on piracy is a challenge for the entire industry. It will require continuing the joint efforts to further decrease the levels of piracy which are currently experienced in the industry: equipment and solution suppliers, content owners and distributors, operators and law enforcement agencies.
Recent experience shows that introducing a global law such as ACTA requires careful debate, since it is a very fine border between ensuring the tightening of legislation against piracy and maintaining the basics of user privacy rights.
How can TV operators adapt their digital rights strategy to a non-linear workflow?
Pay-TV operators can no longer afford to ignore the fact that non-linear content consumption is continuously increasing. I would say that there are at least two aspects that the operator needs to be careful about when selecting content.
One of them is ensuring that the content offering is fine-tuned to the addressable market characteristics and lifestyles. I don’t think people will stop paying for watching the content they like. It’s just that they become increasingly conscious content spenders.
Secondly, the operator should make content available on the main devices that the consumers tend to use to watch content.
What other pressures are weighing on content owners and operators in an increasingly fragmented market?
I can see at least two major challenges on each side. On content owners’ side, there is a double price squeeze: one coming from operators, and the other coming from the need to offer higher quality and more diversified content, which may drive higher spending.
Operators on the other hand will need to find ways to monetise the increased amount of traffic generated in their network by the “free content” available on the Internet, and sooner rather than later.
Both operators and content owners also have to identify ways in which the paid-for content audiences are not significantly decreased by the free content.
Finally, we need to consider the increasing usage of smart devices and multiscreen needs. These are driving challenges like ensuring Quality of Service on devices that are not in the operator’s area of expertise, or served by unmanaged networks.
How do you believe these challenges can be best met?
There is a lot of effort being made in the industry to overcome these challenges, but I am afraid there are no definitive answers so far. Moreover, I would say the answers may well be differ from region to region, or even from country to country.