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Multi-screen content licensing “still a major headache”

While pay-TV operators around the world are getting keener and keener on offering multi-screen video services to their customers, content licensing remains the single biggest hurdle, according to an operator survey by US research firm Infonetics Research.

Multi-screen services enable operators to keep subscribers and advertisers happy by keeping attention focused on the content they are providing, and many of the pay-TV providers interviewed by Infonetics stated that the need to reduce churn and increase customer loyalty is a top business driver.

“But,” cautions Julien Blin, Infonetics’ directing analyst for consumer electronics and mobile broadband, “Significant challenges remain, particularly when it comes to securing licensing arrangements with content owners who are concerned about the security of their content in a multi-screen world. This is also one of the major hurdles to offering á la carte cable content, a hot topic these days.”

The survey found that nearly half of respondents support tablets as part of their multi-screen service today, and this will likely rise to 100% by 2014. When it comes to supporting mobile OS as part of a multi-screen service, 40% of operators interviewed prefer the Android and iOS platforms.

A separate study that came out yesterday from Frost & Sullivan found that the rise of TV Everywhere services is driving big changes in the content protection market, although conditional access and digital rights management technologies are both still flourishing.

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