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Streaming market insights with Capgemini’s Frederic Vander Sande

Karim Hussami

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Capgemini

The streaming frenzy continues with more people using Over-The-Top media (OTT) services than ever before. According to the latest Capgemini report, OTT platforms have become more mainstram with intense competition prompting the launch of new, improved streaming services in the recent 18 months.

In an interview with Frederic Vander Sande, Capgemini Vice President of Telecom, Media & Entertainment, Inside Telecom obtained exclusive insights regarding the importance of the integration of big data analytics to create next-level, personalized user experiences.

Tell us more about content experience personalization and enrichment? What are the most prevalent trends right now?

When we surveyed the companies, the result was that data is the most important factor regarding personalization and experience. That does not mean that data is not important on all other aspects such as content production on monetization for example, however personalization is key.

We also found out that the way to enrich the users experience is crucial as in how can data help companies bring content to users, how to make sure you give customers their preferences on time with the right message, opening direct communication. Direct customer interaction is important.

It is not only about big data and knowing who you are, but it is about mixing that with a lot of different data around. It is both in terms of big data (ethnographic) or enrichment of external data together with the data you have internally.

The rising demand for streaming services has created a highly competitive market. How important is data to business survival?

The number of launched services in last 18 months made it a revolution for the market. Two points have been reached here: First, every broadcaster launched a new service if they didnt have one, and second, we can have a look at Pecan company (Ad business) which has been launched in the U.S. which promotes the OTT with ads and has the advertisers join the business, therefore creating a really competitive environment.

Streaming services now focus on a simple, intuitive interface. What has prompted the shift?

Netflix prompted the shift and simplified the content, as they became so big and users are used to it. You can select your profile and get the right content by having it presented to you in a super simple way, the user experience as well, is very important. Whatever Netflix does, others follow, that is why it will be more difficult to be innovative on this but you can only improve and data is crucial for that.

What are the current challenges for the Media & Entertainment industry? Would you say that big data runs the risk of killing or cultivating creativity?

The main challenges for media companies is social media companies like Google, Facebook and Apple because they are attracting audiences, advertising budget. The COVID-19 situation is also accelerating this challenge with every single media company.

Two matters are important when developing OTT platforms: How do I secure access to content? How do I see what is key? The biggest challenge for media companies is creativity, to find the right balance between human creativity, which is required and necessary and how to leverage tech and data in order to enrich the experience. The mutual point between companies is agreeing that the production side doesn’t use too much data, but they do.

How can data support content marketing to attract new subscribers?  

One of the key elements is the more you have information about subscribers, the better you can give the service in the most efficient way. The challenge here is two fold: if you do it too well, people will notice, which makes the company leave that human touch, in addition to saying that if you are not big enough, you will not have information to be relevant.

So size on the one hand and the ability to get the right information out of the client and being not pushy on the other, is key. This situation is considered a big challenge for small companies.

From your perspective, what were the most surprising findings from the report?

Maturity of media companies in terms of data and especially in Europe. When you approach leading companies, you find out that they haven’t embraced the algorithm world, and this is not only a challenge for the media companies but for culture and diversity as well.

How do you see the SVOD market evolving?

SVOD, which is subscription based VOD such as paying Netflix 10 euro/month to get access to their service. There are two things: we are evolving in a mixed market where you have subscription based services where people pay a monthly fee and advertising services. What we see more globally is platforms combining both, either because one market prefers one or because the client doesn’t want to spend 10 euros; they would have to subscribe to many services at once to have a balance between those two. However, OTT is becoming the normal.

How are media companies building customer relationships with their older audiences?

Acceleration across all age groups. A  few years ago, streaming was for the the youngsters. Part of the challenge for the companies is to address this audience. Content and value proposition are evolving to address audiences that are older. This process will continue to unfold, nonetheless what needs to be clear is that traditional TV and media will remain for years because not everyone wants to go on the internet.

What kind of impact is cybercrime having on the streaming industry?

If you are a media company, you need to build an environment of trust, otherwise people and advertisers will not invest with you. Regulations are playing an important role in helping combat cybercrime and keeping up with thos regulations is a challenge for the fact that they need to move as fast as the market.


Capgemini’s official website.

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Journalist for 7 years in print media, with a bachelor degree in Political Science and International Affairs. Masters in Media communications.

Telecoms

BT slapped with a lawsuit over overcharging elderly customers

Inside Telecom Staff

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British telecom giant BT is being slapped with a class action lawsuit over allegations that it has been overcharging elderly customers for eight years.

The lawsuit came in the wake of a 2017 report from telecoms watchdog, Ofcom, which found that the operator had been overcharging 2.3 million of its landline customers since 2009.

Since then, BT reduced the price of its landline service by £7 ($9.48) a month.

However, campaigners at the helm of the lawsuit argue that “loyal customers” are yet to be compensated.

London-based law firm Mishcon de Reya has filed a £600 million litigation to the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT).

If successful, this would result in each of the 2.3 million overcharged customers receiving payments of £500 each.

The case represents customers who purchased a BT landline contract but did not also take BT broadband or pay TV packages.

“Ofcom made it very clear that BT had spent years overcharging landline customers but did not order it to repay the money it made from this,” Campaigner Justin Le Patourel, founder of consumer group Collective Action on Landlines (CALL) and a telecoms consultant who worked for Ofcom for 13 years, told reporters.

Le Patrourel added that the compensation process begins with the filing of this claim.

In response, BT issued a statement “strongly disagreeing” with the claim that it had engaged in anti-competitive behavior and intends to defend itself “vigorously” in court.

“We take our responsibilities to older and more vulnerable customers very seriously and will defend ourselves against any claim that suggests otherwise,” a BT spokesperson said in the statement, adding that “for many years we’ve offered discounted landline and broadband packages in what is a competitive market with competing options available, and we take pride in our work with elderly and vulnerable groups.”

BT highlighted that it regrets being drawn into litigation on a topic which Ofcom considered more than three years ago. “At that time, Ofcom’s final statement made no finding of excessive pricing or breach of competition law more generally,” the operator said.

Ofcom’s 2017 report had uncovered that the wholesale price of providing landlines had dipped by at least 25 percent since 2009, but that all major landline providers in the UK had hiked line rental charges upwards between 28 percent and 41 percent.

Initially, Ofcom strongly criticized BT for raising prices, noting that customers were being given “poor value” for money. It added that many of the affected customers had “been with BT for decades” and were more likely to be old, on low incomes and vulnerable.

As a result of the watch dog’s review, BT announced that it would slash its landline prices by £84 a year.

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Telecoms

Saudi’s CITC fines several operators for violating telecom laws

Inside Telecom Staff

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Saudi Arabia’s Communications and Information Technology Commission (CITC) fined late last week, a number of local telecoms providers for violating several telecommunications laws in the Kingdom.

CITC imposed fines reaching more than SR40 million ($10.67 million) for making promotional offers in violation of CITC’s decisions, using frequencies without licenses, failing to comply with the CITC’s decisions regarding a number of user complaints, violating SIMs, and failing to provide CITC with information required within the specified deadlines.

The penalties targeted each of STC, Etihad Etisalat Co. (Mobily), Mobile Telecommunication Company Saudi Arabia (Zain KSA), and Etihad Jawraa Telecommunications and Information Technology Company (Lebara Mobile KSA).

STC was fined SR31.4 million, Mobily was handed a fine of SR1.2 million, Zain KSA (SR996,000), and Lebara Mobile (SR366,000), while other operators were fined SR6.16 million.

Other violations include causing damage to public telecommunications networks by cutting off a communication cable, sending Spam messages, and providing SMS service without obtaining a license.

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Telecoms

Three Angolan operators cleared for IPO listing with more to come

Inside Telecom Staff

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Three Angolan operators cleared for IPO listing with more to come

Angola has cleared the way for three state-owned telecoms companies to be listed on Initial Public Offerings (IPOs), according to a presidential decree published on Thursday.

Local media have reported that two presidential decrees have authorized IPOs for the privatization of state assets in TV Cabo Angola and Multitel respectively. However, a third decree has sanctioned a “limited tender by prior qualification” for the government’s shares in internet service provider Net One.

It is important to note that all three orders grant the country’s finance minister lead authority over privatization efforts, which include decisions over the validity and legality of the process.

Angola’s sale of its stakes in several telecoms companies is part of President João Lourenço’s strategy to oust his predecessor’s family from the country’s business community.

Angola Telecom, which is wholly owned by the government, holds a 49.27 percent stake in TV Cabo Angola and a 30 percent stake in Multitel. Another 60 percent of the latter firm is held by state-owned enterprises, with oil firm Sonangol taking 40 percent and Banco de Comercio e Industria (BCI) holding 2 percent.

The entire 90 percent state-held stake in Multitel is set for privatization, along with 51 percent of Net One held by MSTelcom, which is wholly owned by Sonangol.

In parallel, several media reports have surfaced noting that five other Angolan operators will also be auctioned off during 2021 under the government’s privatization initiative. These include AT, Angola Cables, Angola Comunicacoes e Sistemas, MSTelcom and Unitel, which is the mobile market leader.

Telephone directory company ELTA and postal operator ENCTA may also be privatized to some extent.

A 60 percent stake in Angola Cables is currently split between AT (51 percent) and MSTelcom (9 percent). Angola Comunicacoes e Sistemas is 100 percent owned by MSTelcom and Sonangol, which itself is tapped for privatization by 2022.

MSTelcom and Sonangol also each hold a 25 percent stake in Unitel, with the former’s slated for sale via public tender. The latter obtained its holding from Brazil’s Oi in January 2020.

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