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Consumer tug-of-war continues between CSPs, OTT players and CE firms

The battle over who “owns” the customer experience of video services is showing no sign of abating, although communications service providers (CSPs), over-the-top (OTT) players and Consumer Electronics (CE) device manufacturers all agree on the importance of forming strategic partnerships, according to a new survey sponsored by US firm Amdocs.

The study, conducted by UK research firm Coleman Parkes, places CSPs well ahead of their rivals, with 66% of CSPs saying they own the customer in any partnering agreement, while only 13% of device manufacturers and 14% of OTT players are prepared to envision a future in which they cede ownership of the customer experience.

Coleman Parks conducted the study with decision makers at service providers, OTT players and device manufacturers across North America, Caribbean and Latin America, Europe and Asia Pacific.

The various factions are described as being in agreement on service providers’ unique core assets: while it’s not surprising that service providers rate their brand strength, network quality and customer data as core assets, the survey found that both over-the-top players and device manufacturers largely agreed.

Meanwhile, service providers increasingly see OTT players as potential partners and sources of innovation rather than a threat, according to the study: 70% of service providers were found to view OTT players as potential partners.

Sixty-four percent of service providers say that OTT players bring innovation to the industry. And yet, 42% of service providers said they could offer any service an OTT player can deliver – but better.

There is also believed to be a “cautious” cross-party willingness to share core assets: the survey found that the three groups are willing to offer and expose their core assets to achieve partnering goals. 74% of OTT players and 73% of device manufacturers are willing to expose and share their core assets, says Coleman Parkes. Even more notably, 56 percent of service providers are also willing to do so.

Different players do however have different reasons for partnering: 40% of service providers are looking to extend network reach through partnerships, while 34% view partnerships as a tool for developing new products and services.

Device manufacturers ranked the ability to deliver a seamless experience as well as quality of service (QoS), a key service provider attribute, as a key value in partnering, and 69% of OTT players cite Quality of Service (QoS) as important to their ability to compete and survive.

“It’s a whole new partnership landscape for service providers,” said Ian Parkes of Coleman Parkes. “While service providers used to form partnerships mainly for roaming and with device manufacturers, today they must navigate a more complex environment full of over-the-top, Internet, financial-settlement and other players.

“Our research goal was to explore this new world, and we were surprised that service providers view OTT players as an opportunity, not a threat, and by the broad agreement on the value of service providers’ core assets.”

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