Is SVOD the Beginning of the End for Pay TV?

… asks Jacob Barlebo, Sales and Marketing Director, Xstream A/S

But the rise of SVOD is not just about aggregating and distributing award-winning content. It’s about viewing choice. New SVOD producers let us watch what we want on whatever device we want and when we want. It is viewing choice on tablets, smartphones, television, whatever that is sounding the death knoll for traditional broadcasting.

In the UK alone, forecasts from global research firm Mintel suggest that streaming video subscription revenues will rocket from £437m to £1.17bn between 2014 and 2019. Globally, analysts reckon that 199 million households will be SVOD subscribers by 2020.

Research from media consultancy SNL Kagan has also found that in the US, take-up of cable, satellite and other pay-TV services is falling fast as lower-cost SVOD services undercut them.

Mark Mulligan, an analyst at media consultancy Midia, says that Netflix and Amazon have big advantages over broadcasters in their ability to target programmes at specific audiences and lavish budgets “measured in the billions” on their productions.

“A traditional cable company has to worry about filling entire programming schedules of a vast selection of channels – SVOD companies have no schedules at all,” he says.

“So they can afford to be highly selective about what they want to commission and then pay over the odds to get it.”

The technologies behind the rapid rise in SVOD and VOD are predominantly driven by young, agile companies such as Denmark’s Xstream. A pioneer in OTT and TV everywhere since 1999, the firm delivers fast-to-market, full end-to-end Internet TV solutions for broadcasters, operators, content owners and media companies across the globe.

Xstream simplifies the complexity of producing content for Internet TV and helps SVOD broadcasters to create, manage, monetize and deliver personalized state-of-the-art Internet TV solutions across any device and networks.

“Xstream’s turnkey OTT Platform, Xstream MediaMaker™ is the most flexible and scalable end-to-end solution on today’s market,” claims Jacob Barlebo, Xstream’s Sales and Marketing director. “It enables customers to maximize and optimize monetization of their premium content, differentiate their service, reduce churn and minimize platform costs.”

Xstream is seeing increasing demand for its SVOD-enabling technology across numerous verticals. Clinics use its technology to produce streaming videos for patients when checking in for treatment. With the average patient stay of 3.5 days in a hospital, they have a window of opportunity to better engage with patients to offer video-based patient education content when they check into a clinic.

… enter dimsum, compelling SVOD for Malaysia

SVOD is also fast gathering pace in Malaysia. The Star Media Group’s mantra is to Inform, Inspire and Innovate. Star is committed to deliver digital content that drives action and tells stories that must be told – and has now launched dimsum, an online video on demand service as a result.

Star entered the VOD market with a premium subscription based Video-on-Demand (SVOD) service with exclusive Asian content as the primary differentiator, targeting the young and always-connected audience. It wanted to use Xstream’s technologies to provide a user experience that can exceeded the likes of the main VOD players such as Netflix.

“With Xstream’s MediaMaker, Star brought dimsum to market in just over three months, giving a multi screen experience with seamless device changes,” says Barlebo. “It was also able to roll out an aggressive post-launch roadmap with continuous service enhancements.”

Xstream’s MediaMaker automates the ingest process removing the complexities of the supply chain. It supports a vast array of functionalities for marketing and retention such as a rich variety of free trial models, vouchers and discounts.

Today, dimsum is a multi-language SVOD experience, enjoyable in Chinese, English and Malay. Xstream’s technology is also enabling account and household management, with multiple profiles capabilities for each account and the option to restrict access to content via a parental control feature. Other key advantages of the underlying technology are the support of device management, which restricts the number of devices per account, or the cross-device availability, including Web, Android and iOS.

Thanks to dimsum, VOD content and Xstream’s VOD-enabling technologies, the Star Group become a major player in the VOD market in just over three months and began a trend for Chinese viewers to drop traditional broadcasting for VOD.

So, is SVOD the beginning of the end of traditional Pay TV? “Just a matter of time,” quips Barlebo.


About Xstream: Xstream MediaMaker OTT Video Cloud provides operators all the functionalities needed for a profitable video business: Ingestion – Monetization – User-experience. It enables profitable video businesses through Faster Deployment and Superior Monetization Capabilities. Learn more!