It is clear that we have entered a new phase in how operators – and over-the-top providers – engage with consumers, says Eric Rutter, President of North American Cable with Technicolor in an audio interview for journalists covering SCTE Cable-Tec Expo 2019 in New Orleans.
“We have moved beyond the bilateral world of offering consumers video and broadband connectivity services. We now operate in a much more dynamic environment that offers consumers access to an almost infinite array of value-added services,” he explains.
So, while headlines about big cable operators losing half-a-million video subscribers seems daunting, it is important to also note that over the past 12 to 18 months those same providers report that they have each added well over a million net-new broadband subscribers. And, importantly, these subscribers are looking for more than just connectivity and video.
It has been interesting to observe the high-profile appearance of new players in the OTT video services market, such as Disney+, Peacock, Apple TV Plus, and DC Universe. It has forced legacy OTT players — including Netflix, Amazon and Hulu — to invest in differentiating innovations, even as downward pressure is put on their pricing structures.
In response to these developments, executives in the industry are doubling down on their fundamental value proposition — providing intelligent access and intuitive connectivity. They are also making dramatic adjustments to their customer premises equipment (CPE) strategies.
“Around the world, we have seen operators adopt the latest cable access technology — DOCSIS 3.1 — in record time. Technicolor alone has shipped — at our last count — some 8 million devices worldwide and are marching towards 10 million devices by year end,” Rutter states.
In North America, the investment in improved cable access to the home is being supported by strong commitments to manage and optimize intelligent connectivity within the home through the deployment of Wi-Fi 6 technology. To wit, Charter and Comcast — the cable industry leaders in North America — have both made major announcements about their intention to support this important next step in the 802.11 evolution.
“Technicolor is evolving into a solution/platform-oriented culture that brings us closer to our customers and allows us to adapt to the changing needs of Network Service Providers and their subscribers. We have integrated our operations to rapidly support the new software and services that must be incorporated into CPE in an operationally effective and cost-efficient manner,” he says.
Technicolor’s current market leadership within the DOCSIS 3.1 space is one outcome demonstrating that this strategy is paying off. Another is the innovation that Technicolor is bringing to Wi-Fi 6 — extending coverage and intelligence in consumers’ wireless networks.
“But that is just the beginning. We are getting strong returns — and growing interest — from our HERO Program of strategic partnerships. It is enabling Technicolor to create a CPE platform upon which innovations from best-in-class providers around the world can be pre-integrated and launched.”
The program opens the door for cable operators in North America to optimize video delivery to multiple devices (Broadpeak), manage the security and privacy of subscribers (CUJO AI), elevate wireless network performance in the connected home (Airties) and generate brand new streams of revenues through CPE-based targeted advertising (hoppr).
“From a subscriber’s perspective, there has never been more access to choices and innovation through their cable providers. It is an equally exciting time for cable providers in the region. At Technicolor, we are single-mindedly focused on making available the resources operators need — wherever and whenever they need them — to meet the constantly evolving needs of North American connected-home customers,” concludes Rutter.