Old walls of payTV are tumbling down, next phase will be more fragmented

The second day of the #DigitalDialogue2018 conference, a thought-leadership platform facilitated by MultiChoice, started off with a global perspective by David Abraham, Founder of Wonderhood Studios on the value chain of pay-TV.  The session offered insights into the trends observed and lived through in the UK, and how audiences across Africa are changing.

Abraham shared his varied experience running TV channels in the UK and the US between 2001 and 2017 – explaining how the environment for content and channel providers evolved from the early days of digital TV to the much more complex internet-based distribution environment we see today.

(TOP: David Abraham, founder of Wonderhood Studios during the #DigitalDialogue2018 in Dubai last week).

According to Abraham, the past used to be all about a battle between free TV and service providers’ intent on building pay-walls and maintaining exclusivity over key content in order to promote ‘big basic’ monthly subscriptions and minimise monthly churn of customers.  Then came broadband as an additional service to lock in customer loyalty, followed by mobile. “The old walls of traditional pay TV are now tumbling down and what’s coming next is infinitely more fragmented, and messy”, he remarked.

Telecoms providers compete with content platforms to build customer loyalty with original content and rights in a world where global digital competition is intensifying traditional competitive boundaries yet further. The question remains whether consumers will be able to navigate between so many different providers to find the best content in this more crowded forest of choice.

Abraham reviewed the key recent trends in UK, European and US pay TV and his talk offered a look into the future – looking at potential new models such as ‘quasi-linear’ and ‘post cable’ channels; the growth of emerging market platforms such as iflix and will consider what the long-term impact of blockchain technology could be on future models of pay TV consumption and distribution.

Abraham concluded his talk by stating that although the future is uncertain, there are many opportunities for content exploration amongst African audiences: “The African continent, with its younger populations and progressive use of mobile, can both build on and leapfrog Western markets in terms of future models of content creation and distribution”.


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