Video: Are OTT Skinny Bundles Missing the Big Picture?

In this excerpt from his panel presentation at Streaming Media East 2017, Vimond CEO Helge Hoibraaten compares OTT skinny bundles to "buttons on a rotary phone"--minor progress in the content delivery business and an incremental step beyond traditional broadcast, but not really reflective of what tomorrow's OTT audience will be looking for.

Read the complete transcript of this clip:

Helge Hoibraaten: I would say the skinny bundles are a bit like the buttons on the phone. It's like we're answering our own questions like how can we improve what we do instead of looking what would be beneficial for the viewers. I think skinny bundles are good for many people but I think it's a legacy from an era that is about to end with physical limitations control the whole way the value chain was setup.

There are very good physical reasons for why we have the business setup as it is today but that's no longer going to be in place. Skinny bundles are like moving a traditional way of thinking over in a new space. I believe the young people see it differently. If we look at them, and they're going to be all people if given time. Ever since I had my first son, he was like, "That's the kid I'm working for." When we started doing OTT services in Europe 15 years ago he was my target.

I didn't care about people with gray beards and gray hair. I only cared about him. It turns out most people actually like what he likes now. Just to compare, the service that we built up is also where we spun out of afterwards with the experience to help people around the world do the same. It's now in 20% of the households in Norway. That's a fiercely competitive market. It's very small but it's fiercely competitive. You have three major networks just like here. This is just one of those network services. All their content is offered OTT as well as free. Every cable and satellite and every possible distribution. But their own OTT service is reaching 20% of the households. They're actively paying for them directly to the network.

I think that's because they're content-focused and user-focused and viewer-focused, not technically focused. They look at what does the viewer want? We see that is a trend in Europe that has probably gone OTT many years before here. The industry wasn't as successful as here so it was breaking up more easily. But what we see is people are levitating towards provider of content and the people who curate that content and not the people who just are the technical deliverers of that content. I would be very, very surprised if not the same things are going to happen here. That's why it's so interesting to see these strange hybrids, where Hulu, where their original content and their TV content coming from a pure video-on-demand world, now moving into live. I think that's a smart move, actually.

Even though I don't believe in it long-term, it's a smart move, combining these products because there are still people with gray beards that sometimes like to watch linear TV.

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