It's understandable that pay-TV operators haven't jumped right on the OTT bandwagon. There is a general assumption that it is a complex process, with services that must be created from scratch.
Android TV is becoming increasingly popular among consumers around the world. This is certainly the case in Latin America, where several regional players have launched an Android TV service in recent years. An example of this is the Pay-TV operator Dish Mexico, which launched its Android TV service, Netbox, in 2019. The service offers subscribers across Mexico access to a variety of live and on-demand content directly from their Dish Mexico Android TV set-top box.
At the same time as Android TV gains popularity in the region, the video-on-demand market is also experiencing rapid growth. According to research by Dataxis, the number of video streaming subscriptions was 83 million at the end of 2021 and is expected to rise to 128 million by 2026. As in other parts of the world, consumers demand more content when and where they want it. and this is helping to drive the shift towards OTT services.
While pay-TV operators have traditionally been the region's major players, consumer demand for OTT services has attracted new competitors to the market. As a result, operators now face stiff competition and will need to adapt their services to remain competitive. Can Android TV help operators retain market share and remain relevant?
Barriers to going OTT
It's understandable that pay-TV operators haven't jumped right on the OTT bandwagon. It can be challenging for operators to launch OTT-like services, and there is a general assumption that it is a complex process, with services that need to be built from scratch.
There are also fears that existing infrastructure will need to be recreated or radically changed to launch a new OTT service. Obviously, doing this would have huge operational and cost implications.
Even for those Pay-TV operators that already have traditional and OTT services, they have most likely launched them at different times. As a result, the traditional service and OTT are often kept totally separate without real cohesion between them, for the viewers or the broadcaster.
Android TV: ticking all the right boxes
For pay-TV operators looking to tailor their service to ensure they remain competitive and relevant, Android TV, with its minimal barriers to entry and relative ease and speed of deployment, is the obvious choice.
It provides a foundation that allows operators to create a great user experience on a set-top box. Operators can choose to launch an out-of-the-box Android TV service or launch a more personalized service that integrates with existing brand identity.
Of course, it's important to consider how existing infrastructure can be integrated into any new platform. With Android TV, there is no need to recreate the infrastructure, Android TV can use the existing back-end infrastructure, integrating the new with the old. Many operators may want to retain existing back-end infrastructure and legacy functionality such as billing, and with Android TV, this is doable.
Add with Android TV
Viewers want quick and easy access to the content they want to watch, and to meet this need, operators are increasingly turning to aggregation. Android TV allows operators to aggregate all their content along with other OTT services, all in one place via an Android set-top box.
Content aggregation allows operators to bring multiple streaming services under one umbrella, along with their own content, often with a single subscription. Content aggregation helps operators meet consumer needs by providing a single, simple user interface that allows users to access and search all content across multiple services.
Looking ahead: the time to adapt is now
The Latin American TV market is highly competitive, combined with changing viewing habits, means it's a difficult time to be a pay-TV operator in the region. If operators want to retain their market share and remain relevant, they must act now to attract and retain users. They need to do this by engaging users and expanding their services when necessary. It's also important that they continually evolve and improve their video services over time, as viewing habits and preferences change.
Android TV is already being used by more than 25 operators in the region, such as Izzi Telecom, Claro and Telecom Argentina. It is proving popular throughout the region because it makes it easy and cost-effective to launch interesting and engaging video services on a set-top box. This is helping operators maintain control of the customer relationship while attracting and retaining subscribers.
Paloma Santucci, is Regional Director for Latin America for Accedo.