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Global Operators Expand Integrated Access To OTT Services

Highlights

Service providers accounting for nearly one-third of global pay TV subscribers have introduced integrated access to streaming services.

Streaming service integration has become increasingly prevalent across the Asia Pacific region.

Service launches are showing momentum in Latin America and Eastern Europe, but remain in early stages in the Middle East and Africa.

The challenges to traditional multichannel services have rippled unevenly through the global pay TV market, but the integration of access to third-party streaming video or over-the-top services through proprietary set-top boxes has gained a broad foothold.

Operators across all six global regions have begun baking in access to subscription streaming services, with integration available from service providers that collectively had 342.3 million video subscribers, or less than one-third of the nearly 1.1 billion subs globally, according to Kagan estimates for major streaming service launches throughout the world.

Integrated access to streaming services has become common in Western Europe and North America. The practice is gaining a foothold in the massive Asia-Pacific market, and the service launches are showing momentum in Latin America and Eastern Europe ahead of the nascent stages in the Middle East and Africa.

Kagan's study, spanning the first half of 2020, features slight differences in methodologies by region, rooted in varying approaches from the operators. One notable difference is the classification of premium offerings such as AT&T Inc.owned Home Box Office Inc.'s HBO Go, which is treated as a TV Everywhere offering in North America but appears as an integrated app in other regions.

Regional highlights:

  • North America: Combined subscriptions to traditional multichannel services offering integrated access to streaming video services accounted for 74% of the U.S. total and nearly all Canadian subscribers.
  • Western Europe: Integrated streaming services span 58 operators that represented 90.0% of the region's subscriber base.
  • Eastern Europe: Streaming service integration activity, after a slow start in the region, picked up speed in 2019. Operators across 10 countries reached a combined 11 instances of integrated services at the end of the year.
  • Asia-Pacific: Streaming service integration has become increasingly prevalent across the region. As of April 2020, we tracked a total of 255 OTT partnership deals with telcos and pay TV operators across 21 markets in the region.
  • Latin America and Caribbean: Streaming service integration is still an emerging trend in Latin America, offered mainly by higher-value cable and IPTV service providers. A total of 22 operators offer integration, representing about a third of the region's total multichannel households. For a list of Latin American operators with STB-integrated TVE platforms, click here.
  • Middle East and Africa: Integration remains a rare practice in the Middle East and Africa region, with only four multichannel operators — two in the Middle East and North Africa and two in Sub-Saharan Africa, currently supporting it. Overall, the vast majority of OTT partnerships in the region take the form of carrier billing and zero-rating. More than 23 multichannel operators have launched their own linear streaming video services, reducing the need for partnerships with third-party platforms. For a list of Middle East and Africa operator-led linear streaming services, click here.

Mohammed Hamza, Julija Jurkevic, Piotr Gaber, Georgia Jordan and Wangxing Zhao contributed to this article.

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