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How to Protect Media Content after Terrestrial Analog Switch-Off

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What are the problems resulting from Ukraine’s transition to the digital terrestrial TV? Have the piracy become more frequent and how to avoid it? How will the digital affect the future of the paid TV market? Let’s discuss it onwards.

Today, the media experts and telecom market players positively assess the analog TV switch-off process in Ukraine. The observed an active migration of subscribers from the analog to T2 and online, and even a slight increase in the subscriber bases of providers.

Nikolai Faengold, Chief Commercial Officer at StarLight Digital, points out: “In Kyiv, there is a trend for a slight increase in the subscriber bases of cable providers. Let’s see what the regions show. One day, we met with Kyiv providers to analyze the measures to take for people’s coming from the analog. And we expected a small increase, because it was Kyiv with its specifics. At the same time, I observe a trend for subscriber ARPU growth. This is best evidenced by OTT-providers: when a year ago we saw packages of 25-30 hryvnas, so today, they cost over 47 hryvnas.”

Mr. Faengold also underlines that the ARPU growth made providers think of the content value: “It became clear to many providers that the content value is due to two factors, and the first one is production. But the content still requires a proper delivery. In effect, we can see that the price rises are accompanied by minimal customer losses for those providers who invest in marketing.”

At that, not all market players share the common euphoria relative to the analog cut-off. Oleg Yeliseiev, CEO of TENET LLC, make an emphasis on the current active content traffic transition to global platforms for content placement. It also means that there is a very real threat for media groups, traditional media content producers, to lose an important share of the advertising market.

“We are not shaping a rosy future as for a significant subscriber flow from the analog TV to the paid technologies. Our estimates are a conversion of 1-2%. We soon believe in the subscriber conversion from the traditional (analog) cable to the digital IPTV and OTT technologies (i.e. repartition of subscribers within the market). We do believe in the development of the OTT segment as a driver of the market”, as commented on by Ivan Prymakov, Head of Sales at 1+1 Media Distribution.

Another threat is still the piracy. In Ukraine this problem is actively dealt with by the “Clear Sky” Anti-Piracy Initiative, which unites top media market players, interested in convincing the society to give up sponsoring pirates, whose activities depreciate content.

Katerina Fedorova, Head of the Clear Sky Initiative, shared her projection: “I think that the copyright holders have started taking more active anti-piracy actions. Not only copyright holders have been joining that campaign, but also providers and advertisers. In fact, the piracy does not undermine only business as such, but also affects the consumer opinion that the content can be get free of charge.”

Katerina also told about subscriber behavior’s changing: people began to pay attention to the availability of different signal reception modes, as well as became aware of the need for choosing the way of media content consumption.

The content theft problem includes one feature that complicates anti-piracy: our society encourages the above activities. “Most people believe that the media groups’ TV channels are basically free and TV does not cost a penny. There is no culture of consumption”, as resumed by Alexander Harutyunyan, CEO of Pavutyna.Net.

So, the question is: how to secure the value of content and change the public opinion? “In order for the society to start changing, it is required to inform people about these changes and the values ​​that are being established. A wide social advertising campaign can serve best for this purpose. Until the end of this year, we will get the results of the best social advertising contest run by the Clear Sky Initiative. This advertising will be able to convince our society of the need for combating piracy, as well as to tell about its negative effects”, as added by Katerina Fedorova.

As for the anti-piracy measures that have been already taken, Nikolai Faengold shared their first effects: 25 registered cases of illegal use of the content of the SLM Holding’s channels; successful blocking of playlists; termination of TV channels’ broadcasts in mobile apps; removal of ads on OLX; cooperation with payment systems in terms of blocking pirate accounts.

According to the market players, the encryption of T2 and satellite signal, the demarcation of free and paid content, as well as the creation of HD-versions of TV channels can become other actions aimed at fighting against illegal use of content.