Marcello Azambuja is the director of the online video division at Globo.com, the Internet arm of Organizações Globo, the largest media conglomerate in Brazil. Earlier this week we spoke to Marcello about the World Cup, TV Everywhere and more….
IP&TV News: What opportunities does the upcoming World Cup present to your business?
Marcello Azambuja: Well, the difference that I see from my perspective internally is that when we broadcast the World Cup in 2006 and 2010 the Internet was not seen as so strategically important for TV Global. Now they really see how they need to find a business model for the Internet to sustain their revenue model in the future. That’s not as clear today for TV Globo, the free-to-air broadcaster within the group, as it is for Globosat, the company responsible for the pay-TV channels. These events provide a big opportunity for TV Globo to try and test new business models and of course new technologies.
What challenges need to be overcome to maximise the opportunities presented by the World Cup?
One of the limitations we have in these events is that usually we have huge demand and we don’t have enough bandwidth. We don’t have sufficient local telco infrastructure in Brazil to serve all the people that want to watch the game online. We have been trying different models, we have a few premium models that we’ve developed with TV Globo and will be using during the World Cup, so if you are a subscriber of one of the products you are guaranteed to be able to watch the video. We’ve also been doing some of these events, for instance the Sochi 2014 Olympics, using the TV Everywhere model with Globosat.
And what about TV Everywhere?
I think there are a lot of challenges we have to address when it comes to TV Everywhere. The first is to communicate it well to consumers, so that they are aware of the possibilities. There are a lot of things to address. One of the biggest challenges for us today regarding TV Everywhere is the issue of authentication – in the industry we have a lot of operators to integrate and each one is using a different system: it makes it very hard for the user. Even if they know that they have the service they have a difficult time getting it to work.
What can TV Everywhere offer to operators and consumers?
From the pay-TV perspective and for the operators I think it’s the best strategy to try to compete with new entrants like Netflix and YouTube. I don’t believe that TV Everywhere can stop cord shaving but I definitely think it can make us more competitive. I believe that TV Everywhere plays an important role for sporting events: we have been seeing a lot of success broadcasting the national soccer championship when the users are not at home. A lot of Brazilians go to bars, or to a friend’s home, and sometimes they want to watch wherever they are.
I think we should be more aggressive, trying to create new models and new forms of delivering the experience the user wants and not only running after or following what the Internet companies are doing. We should really be taking the lead in giving a good experience for our users.
What are the LATAM market’s primary distinguishing features at present?
There are a couple of interesting things. The potential for growth in the Brazilian pay-TV market is very high. We have less than 20% penetration in a country of 200 million people, so there’s a lot of potential growth in the market. The numbers over recent years have been good – the industry has been growing a lot with the economy. This year hasn’t been as good as the last ones, but I still think there’s a lot of potential.
In Brazil, due to its geography – and the same applies to other countries in Latin America – broadcast TV is still the primary source for people. One thing we’re seeing, however, is that, compared to Europe but also the US, we are in a better position to compete with Netflix and other Internet companies because we don’t have as many people with video games and set top boxes here in Latin America, so there’s time for us to provide a very good service before there is a mass adoption of these technologies
Why is it such an exciting time to attend Broadband and TV Connect Latin America 2014?
We are seeing a lot investment in telco and in basic infrastructure here in Brazil. Also, we have just approved the Marco Civil da Internet in Brazil, which regulates a lot of the laws governing Internet distribution and neutrality, so I believe we have seen a huge development this year in the technical side and also the regulatory side, which could have taken five or more years to come to fruition were it not for these big events and other factors speeding up their development.
Marcello Azambuja will be appearing at Broadband and TV Connect Latin America 2014