Simon Trudelle, Senior Product Marketing Director, NAGRA, a Kudelski Group Company
Asia Pacific is a key region for NAGRA. Over the past 16 years, we have substantially expanded our footprint in tandem with the growth of our customers across the region.
On securing TV content delivery over IP networks
The digital TV industry is moving towards IP delivery of content as the consumers increasingly look for a seamless, easy-to-use TV experience combining linear and on-demand viewing across all screens. The industry is evolving fast, with new needs such as advanced content protection, enhanced user experience and business-focused analytics becoming core to the pay-TV business model. Through our product portfolio, we enable Pay-TV providers in the region to address these emerging challenges of providing secure solutions without having to compromise on user experience.
On company strategy
As NAGRA, the digital TV division of Kudelski Group, we have been steadily growing and expanding our activities to become one of the world leaders in the market. With broadband access growing in every region, we have increased our focus on IP delivery while leveraging existing broadcast infrastructure. We have also invested in anti-piracy products in order to address the increasing challenges in content security. We have ramped up our investments in forensic watermarking and anti-piracy services over the past year, leading to the acquisition of NexGuard, a watermarking specialist with deep studio relationships.
In parallel, leveraging on our longstanding expertise in securing digital content and fighting piracy, we created a new division, Kudelski Security, that provides cyber security solutions and services focused on protecting companies' and organizations' data and systems.We also announced a new Internet of Things (IoT) security initiative at CES 2017.
On major customers
Asia Pacific is a key region for NAGRA. Over the past 16 years, we have substantially expanded our footprint in tandem with the growth of our customers across the region, including successful deployments in Vietnam, Indonesia, Taiwan, and Australia. In Singapore, we have partnered with StarHub, Singapore's leading Pay-TV operator, to launch the Netflix Subscription Video on Demand (SVOD) service on its Fibre TV platform last year, blending Internet TV services into a Pay-TV offering. Beijing Gehua Cable TV Network, Kbro, Guangdong Cable, Shandong Cable, and Taiwan Broadband Communications (TBC) are some of our other key customers across the region.
We have recently won major projects in cable and satellite domain across several markets, including India. As a leading provider of Pay-TV solutions in the region, we strive to deliver digital media technologies to the emerging markets, playing an active part in driving digitalization in the region.
On global pay-TV industry trends
Content is increasingly streamed over-the-top (OTT), using IP networks, driven by the growing adoption and availability of broadband access in several markets and consumers' appetite for accessing content anywhere, anytime. However as broadband access becomes ubiquitous, there is a growing concern of piracy and illegal distribution of content for Pay-TV providers.
To better understand this evolution, NAGRA, in partnership with leading research firm MTM, launched the Pay-TV Innovation Forum in 2016, a global research program that examines the pay-TV innovations and strategies that will drive the next phase of growth for the industry. It covers 42 countries and 231 operators - outside China, which makes up 93 percent of the overall pay-TV market. Our research programme aims to answer some of the prominent questions such as what growth prospects lie ahead and how Pay-TV service providers, content owners, and studios can work together to best leverage new opportunities.
For our 2017 programme, we organized a series of regional seminars in the United States, Europe and Asia, along with in-depth interviews and surveys with leading industry participants. We also analysed the Pay-TV service provider products and service portfolios for each of the region, which included topics such as OTT and multiscreen services, content piracy or how advanced data and analytics enable Pay-TV service providers to better serve their customers.
We will be unveiling our flagship report, summarising the key findings from the 2017 programme, in the run up to the IBC Exhibition and Conference in September 2017. The report aims to highlight contrast and comparison between different markets such as USA, Europe and Asia-Pacific (APAC) and how it is impacting the Pay-TV industry landscape.
For example, in USA, we are seeing the impact of OTT distribution with the rise of skinny bundles, while in Europe new pricing and packaging strategies are being launched to adjust to the growth of SVOD services. In APAC, the OTT impact is more prominent in some markets, as we are seeing a massive adoption of new initiatives and services, while piracy poses the growing risk of causing major damage to the content value chain.
On APAC industry trends
We observe two types of markets in APAC; one advancing with the same level of broadband penetration and ARPU levels as we have seen in Europe and North America - called Advanced Asia. The other segment is in early stages of development, with a relatively low penetration rate of Pay-TV and low ARPUs - called Emerging Asia. Although OTT delivery and on-demand consumption offerings in the Emerging Asia show the same interest as in Advanced Asia, the rate of piracy is much higher.
Transitioning to IP for better delivery of content is another challenge in Asia, where Pay-TV providers need to make further investments to take advantage of the opportunity, using content as a catalyst for monetization and investment. While some operators have the capability to drive this on their own, others are dependent on third-party infrastructure. The good news is that the Pay-TV industry's growth is staying quite positive in APAC, in comparison to other parts of the world. There is a strong appetite for content in the region, particularly for local content. Sometimes, local content is produced in one market and consumed by expatriates and enthusiasts in another market. OTT streaming enables better customer reach in such a scenario.
On telco and cableco operator strategies
In the race to satisfy the consumer appetite for on-demand content and multiscreen access, a growing number of Pay-TV cableco and telco operators are also moving some of their operations onto an IP-based delivery model of OTT unicast, IPTV multicast, or a mix of both. This shift offers operators a huge range of benefits including cost savings, increased screen reach and access to better customer data. It also requires specific expertise to manage the transition, secure content and develop the right user experience across all screens – all areas where we can help.
To address the issue of growing online piracy, we offer end-to-end content protection services to Pay-TV providers, allowing them to take an adaptive approach to security, securing video streams from the head-end to the viewer's screen of choice. Through Security Lifecycle Management strategies, we enable Pay-TV providers and content owners to leverage our technology and anti-piracy expertise to protect their content as well as business revenues.
In 2017, we will continue to invest heavily in R&D in the areas of OTT, data analytics, user experience, content protection and anti-piracy technologies, with the aim to help Pay-TV service providers be successful in a fast evolving market environment.