Bernhard Hafenscher, head of global sales at Red Bull Media House, on the different evolution of over-the-top (OTT) video in the US and Europe, the amount of consolidation still to come in this space, and the challenges posed by varying technical standards.
Bernhard will be speaking at the OTTtv World Summit taking place in London on 19-22 November 2013. For more information and to register for the event, please visit ottworldsummit.com.
The internet has clearly disrupted the broadcast industry massively over the past few years. Why do you think that is?
It’s still unclear how significant these effects really are – partly because the nature and extent of the evolution varies from region to region. For example, at present there is a large gap between Europe and the US in this respect. European broadcasters have embraced OTT in a much more integrated way, kind of experimenting and playing with it.
The time that European viewers devote to watching TV is still on the rise, and even some channels with typically older audiences have managed to address younger people quite effectively through their OTT offerings. So in certain cases, perhaps it’s less of a disruption than a shift; we’ll see.
Are the biggest changes now behind us?
Again, it’s hard to say. The US is in the middle of that change – broadcasters have yet to strongly react to counter the OTT challenge, although we’re starting to see responses from cable. And in Europe it is yet to be seen how well key OTT players like Netflix will be able to establish themselves – as mentioned above, currently some of the most prominent examples of OTT are in the hands of the broadcasters themselves.
Can you tell us a little more about how this has benefited Red Bull Media House?
We built a 360° media model; so we play on all channels, including broadcast. However, given our key target group, OTT is on top of our agenda right now– both in terms of our channels like redbull.com and redbull.tv as well as in regard to our commercial licensing business, which has outstripped broadcast sales at this point.
What are the biggest challenges you currently face as a media organisation distributing its content online?
It is not that we see major challenges – innovative business models are part of our DNA, and our goal is to provide audiences with content in the ways that are most relevant to them. But because online video is a market in its relative infancy, with consolidation still to come, it is necessary to deal with a multitude of players, a non-integrated value chain and varying technical standards and business practices. The opportunity is definitely worth it.