How Traditional MSOs can Compete in Asia

By Paolo Cuttorelli September 23, 2021

  • Agile
  • AVOD
  • churn
  • customer lifecycle management
  • MSO
  • OTT
  • OTT billing
  • OTT businesses
  • OTT Streaming
  • OTT streaming services
  • Revenue Management solution
  • SVOD

With an estimated 70% of consumers streaming content once a week at the bare minimum, there’s no denying OTT streaming is booming in Asia. And where the viewers go, OTT streaming services follow. Global players are steadily entering Asia to try their luck in one of the world’s most diverse and challenging markets. Disney+, for example, is one of the newest global entrants in the space, first targeting India and Singapore, with Malaysia next on its list.

But with this expansion comes a loss for cable TV. With Disney's entry into Southeast Asia, it has announced that it will be shutting down a number of its sports and movie channels. This will cause a ripple effect on cable operators as more subscribers will opt out of their services when they see their favorite tracks are no longer available. Traditional TV might never be the same, and traditional MSOs in Asia must embrace change to keep up.

Appealing to Asian Viewers

Like the region itself, viewers in Asia have diverse wants and needs. Over one in five OTT users haven’t watched traditional TV during the pandemic, while 67% preferred free and ad-supported content. As a mobile-first region, 66% of users also preferred to stream content on mobile. To succeed in Asia, traditional MSOs must cater to these differing needs constantly evolving.

A winning strategy involves a good mix of content, a strong network, and agile tech. Traditional MSOs must first provide local content to appeal to local audiences, and they must be willing to explore new avenues to widen their reach. Looking into hybrid revenue models - such as a combination of AVOD and SVOD - may strengthen MSOs’ grip on local audiences who prefer ad-supported content at no cost. Lastly, traditional MSOs must shed their backend legacy systems and invest in agile, cloud-based systems to manage operations seamlessly.

Embracing the Cloud for Growth

Businesses may be acquainted with legacy systems, but the way forward is to adopt cloud-based systems that allow them to focus on understanding and to cater to their audiences across markets. With cloud-based systems, businesses can segment user and revenue data, which they can then analyze and measure to grasp opportunities and threats in Asia. Having this data at hand can also help distribution partners roll out first-level support before issues worsen and end in the dreaded churn.

Going cloud-based is especially important for traditional MSOs contemplating expansion into new markets. During this time, a business should focus on understanding local market conditions, personalizing the customer experience, and identifying the right tiering and pricing for audiences. Less time should be spent dealing with digital transformation issues, ensuring multi-currency payment options and multi-language capabilities, and localizing other features throughout the lifecycle.

By working with partners like Evergent, OTT billing processes can be handed over to the experts, allowing traditional MSOs to focus on other business areas, such as user acquisition and retention. Evergent’s customer and revenue management solutions easily allow businesses to take a unique approach in each market, enabling services to offer different go-to-market models depending on the country. As services roll out tiered payment models or work with traditional providers to release bundles, keeping tabs on the sheer number of products and distribution channels may overwhelm legacy systems. Using flexible, cloud-based platforms like Evergent gives businesses complete visibility and control over commercialization models and many other facets of the customer lifecycle management process.

Transforming Layer by Layer

The road to going fully digital can be daunting for traditional MSOs who are accustomed to working on their legacy systems. If anything, the pandemic has made every industry realize the importance and need to transform to serve today’s customers best digitally to suit today’s customers best. The good news is that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to digital transformation, especially if you enlist the help of the right partner. Working with the right partner will allow traditional businesses to transform digitally at their own pace and within their budgets.

Providers such as Evergent, for instance, can take on digital transformation using a layered approach. Businesses need not start from scratch and won’t need to configure every small change, whether that’s to reflect new promotions, customize a customer’s journey, or fix bugs. Traditional MSOs can then focus on quickly pushing out relevant offerings to appeal to Asian audiences.

Succeeding in Asia

With more new entrants in the market, MSOs can expect higher viewing standards for local audiences. Subscription fatigue will only balloon into a more significant problem and can certainly lead to higher competition. Because of this, there will be a greater need for services to expand their partner ecosystems and adopt tech that can help enable these partnerships quickly and reduce churn. A resilient and agile system built on the cloud will allow businesses to go far in the game.