Through a new report, Akamai has revealed how Australian media businesses are experimenting with content and live-streaming capabilities to differentiate themselves in 2020.
The report, ‘Australia: COVID tipping point for OTT-first services’, reveals that as many as 90 per cent of respondents, of which there were 40, believe exclusive content is a critical differentiator to help retain customers and monetise their content in the post-pandemic future.
This is based on the responses of media leaders across Asia Pacific, through face-to-face, phone and email interviews conducted over a three-month period. The executives polled for the report represent a cross-section of leadership roles including technology, operations, content, and strategy.
According to the report, significant rates of television consumption and online activity are accelerating Australia’s shift to digital over-the-top (OTT) programming or streaming content.
In Australia, there was a 43 per cent year-on-year growth in internet traffic in the first quarter 2020 and a 59 per cent increase in the second quarter.
In fact, Akamai found that internet traffic growth accelerated in the second quarter, with a 23 per cent quarter-on-quarter increase in 2020, compared to an 11 per cent quarterly increase in 2019.
The battle in the OTT segment “comes down to content”, one respondent said, to encourage regular consumption and increase customer stickiness to their respective platforms.
Another respondent said it would be more valuable to “produce an original show than continually buy third-party content”.
Live streaming of sports was also seen as a major competitive differentiator to VOD platforms, with many broadcast companies creating engaging shoulder content to maintain daily or monthly active users.
Concerns raised by executive respondents
Revenue outlook was considered the top concern for respondents, with 80 per cent stating that monetisation concerns will put pressure on their business plans.
Many respondents also said that the pure advertising model would be relegated to the lowest margin content: one respondent even stated that subscriber revenue would not “sustain distribution and production at broadcast-equivalent quality”.
With a sober economic outlook, only 20 per cent said building engaging features to monetise content was a priority.
“We are seeing momentum in viewership with our streaming services BINGE and Kayo and are focused on developing applications for broadcast automation and video streaming to create a frictionless, high-quality experience for users,” Streamotion head of product engineering Darren Nolan said in a statement.
“Looking ahead, our priorities are to create a holistic view of our users from end-to-end and improving our ability to react quickly to account login attempts.”
Scalability, customer acquisition and market penetration are the top business priorities for media executives, particularly for those from smaller outfits.
To achieve successful market penetration, two thirds of respondents cited “accessibility and availability” as critical factors in monetising their platforms, with many companies turning to telco partners to leverage their network infrastructure and subscriber base.
Data privacy and security was also a concern cited by Australian media executives, with many reporting considerable spikes in malicious login attempts.
In 2020, video websites saw a 208 per cent year-on-year increase in the level of attacks, while video services saw a 63 per cent increase, Akamai reported. Broadcast television providers experienced a 630 per cent increase, in tandem with the explosion of on-demand media in the broadcast space.
‘The Australian media industry was already at a tipping point where a shift in digital advertising revenue and a convergence of technologies like AI and 5G was having a fundamental impact on business models,” Akamai’s regional sales director South Asia, Matthew Lynn, said in a statement.
“Today, traffic on media sites has been up significantly since the beginning of the pandemic, but it’s still not well-monetised. Akamai’s survey reveals that media executives are planning to make better use of technology like automation to keep users engaged with new, repurposed or multi-vertical content.
“At the same time, businesses are evolving their technical architectures with new security controls or features, to scale their operations to meet increased demand and deliver content where and how users want to consume it.”
Akamai helps to delivers OTT and video experiences for the likes of Nine Entertainment, Foxtel, Kayo Sports, MTV Networks, and Seven West Media.
You can download a copy of the report here.
Featured image source: iStock/LeoPatrizi
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