OTT/TVE — Historical Perspective

March 14, 2018

  • BSS
  • Monetization
  • OSS
  • OTT
  • Phonevision
  • streaming video
  • subscription management
  • TV
  • TVE
  • user lifecycle management
  • video service providers

Two Sides, One Coin: Monetizing Streaming Video and User Lifecycle Management

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In the 1950s, the earliest pay TV trials depended heavily on “box office” content, as premium video was referred to at the time. Interestingly, options for payment included coin-op set-top boxes, punch-cards delivered by mail, and even the phone bill!

The Zenith Phonevision set-top box (launched in 1951) allowed consumers to call an operator, order a movie, and have the cost added directly to their phone bill. In fact, it was billing and provisioning technology from Donnelley, then a division of Dun & Bradstreet, that made this possible for consumers. (This may well be the first known instance of what today’s telecom experts call Operational Support Systems and Business Support Systems, or OSS/BSS for short.)

Decades of investment in proprietary set-tops requiring expensive “home installation” has paid off. Twenty, thirty and fifty channel systems in the 1970s turned into many hundreds of channels by the 1990’s. Rivers of fresh, specialized content filled every audience niche.

Most of it was placed into few tiers, all of them carefully price-optimized to the ecosystem’s benefit – and much of it justified based on the cost of the technology required to deliver high-quality video. Regulatory factors also heavily shaped the landscape.

Today, it’s common to read about cord-cutting, over-the-top, and TV Everywhere. But the bottom line is that high-speed internet, open web video standards and low-cost streaming devices have enabled upstarts like YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, Amazon and Sling to ditch the set-top and re-mix the content programming bundles that comprise today’s subscription TV offers.

While these services all disrupt TV, each has a unique evolution and history with various assortments of content, promotional tactics, and pricing models. This reflects the diversity of consumer preferences. There are more genres, devices, and services offering video content today than at any time in history. And hence more ways to construct TV’s economic foundation.

Not every combination of product, pricing, and platform distribution will find an audience. Instead, video service providers must have a flexible, robust User Lifecycle Management platform to enable active experimentation across a range of offers that optimize revenue growth.

To learn more about the must-have and should-have requirements for a sophisticated, next-gen direct-to-consumer monetization platform, simply request your copy of Evergent’s white paper on monetizing TV, called: The Blueprint for Best-in-Class Video Subscriber Management.

In the meantime, whether you’re watching a live stream of the football game thanks to a bit of software on your mobile phone, or a USB stick hidden in the back of your TV, you can be sure of one thing that won’t change: you’ll surely have more than one convenient way to pay.


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