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Cable & OTT: Do We Hear Wedding Bells?
Craig Leddy | Contributing Analyst
Cable and over-the-top (OTT) providers are striking up an unusual friendship.

Yet this unexpected pairing may lead to profitability for both sides, once some significant challenges are hurdled.
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Cable & OTT: New Opportunities for Convergence
As over-the-top (OTT) video streaming services and devices began to attract consumers, they appeared like barbarians at the gate, ready to disrupt traditional media and topple the longstanding empires of cable and other television establishments. Disruption indeed has occurred and will continue to occur, but the once-combative stances of cable and OTT players has taken a unique twist as both sides have come to realize that they can profit by utilizing each other's strengths.

Recently cable multiple system operators (MSOs) and OTT providers have been joining forces in various ways. For cable, cord cutting and other threats from OTT viewership have not disappeared. But MSOs are pursuing strategies to become distribution partners of OTT streaming services, utilize OTT device platforms and add OTT apps to their consumer services. By embracing OTT, cable providers are bolstering their shifting roles as they become more broadband-centric service providers.

Cable's online video efforts provide new business opportunities through subscriber retention, advanced advertising and the recent emergence of bounties paid by OTT providers to MSOs that support their distribution. But the cable subscriber verification process remains challenging. Better processes are required to handle content management, customer management, usage measurement and content rights across multiple video platforms.

In order to make a courtship work, cable and OTT players need to overcome large challenges, including technical integration, territorial rights issues and monetization to provide a return on investment for all players. Cable's continued adoption of IP video technology and its renewed focus on improving TV Everywhere are providing the delivery infrastructure and management solutions that can support OTT video, including forthcoming efforts by OTT streamers to offer 4K Ultra HD.

Ultimately the best thing for consumers is to create a blended experience where they can seamlessly discover and access their favorite television programming and OTT content. The winners in the broadband future will be those service providers that aggregate, blend and simplify content access and the user experience.

Cable & OTT: New Opportunities for Convergence explores the market drivers, opportunities for convergence and the challenges ahead. It includes profiles of 10 cable software suppliers that offer solutions that support cable's TV Everywhere and multi-screen initiatives, which also can lend support for cable-OTT integration.

Sample research data from the report is shown in the excerpt below:
Table of Contents (cii0614_toc.pdf)
Why would MSOs want to give OTT players the rope that would hang them? A couple of years ago, that was the sentiment toward any suggestion that cable should join forces with OTT providers, many of which were marketing themselves as cable killers. But MSOs could not ignore the growing consumer interest in online video and new connected devices. The industry's thinking began to shift toward integrating OTT experiences into the cable mix. Cable has a list of reasons why it makes sense to join with OTT streamers and devices. The key market drivers are presented in the following excerpt, which lists key market drivers that are fueling cable's activity with OTT players.
[click on the image above for the full excerpt]
Companies profiled in this report include: Adobe Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: ADBE); aioTV Inc.; Clearleap Inc.; Espial Group Inc.; Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC); Imagine Communications Corp.; QuickPlay Media Inc.; SeaChange International Inc.; Synacor Inc.; and thePlatform for Media Inc.
Total pages: 16
MARCH 2014
4K Ultra HD: Big Opportunities, Big Challenges for Cable
This report explores UHD requirements, opportunities and challenges for cable. It includes profiles of seven cable suppliers that have announced UHD technology products.
READ SUMMARY
Including table of contents, executive summary, and financial metrics
DECEMBER 2013
Cable's New Quest for Advanced Advertising Treasure
This report explores the industry's progress with DAI and the opportunities and challenges of advanced advertising technologies in a multi-screen environment. It includes profiles of seven key suppliers that support cable's advanced advertising aspirations.
READ SUMMARY
Including table of contents, executive summary, and financial metrics
OCTOBER 2013
Fast & Furious: Cable Counters Google Gigabit Salvo
This report explores the Gigabit Internet trend and its implications for cable operators and suppliers. It includes profiles of seven suppliers that support advances in cable's high-speed Internet residential infrastructure.
READ SUMMARY
Including table of contents, executive summary, and financial metrics
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ANALYST
Tim Kridel
Tim writes for both Mobile Networks Insider and Cable Industry Insider. He has previously covered the wireless and cable industries for a number of research firms, including Heavy Reading.
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Tim Kridel
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CONTRIBUTING ANALYST
Craig Leddy
A contributor to Heavy Reading Cable Industry Insider, Craig is a veteran cable industry writer, speaker, and market analyst.
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Craig Leddy
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ANALYST
Denise Culver
Denise is the author of IP Services Insider. She has more than ten years' experience in technology journalism.
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Denise Culver
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