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In early October, Media Group Ukraine met with partners and advertisers at The Time of Great Events with Media Group Ukraine event. As part of the informative presentation, a separate block was devoted to the development of the OTT market, which is currently experiencing a boom around the world, and Ukraine is no exception.
Pavlo Taianovskyi, Strategies and Transformations Director at Carat Ukraine, Fedir Hrechaninov, Strategy and Business Development Director at Media Group Ukraine, and Yuliia Trybushna, Director of OLL.TV and Xtra TV, discussed global OTT market trends, development of the Ukrainian environment and forecasts for the future.
It is worth noting that the OLL.TV service has changed its identity, rebranded and significantly expanded the content component. In addition, it joined the production of its original series titled Šutnja and does not intend to rest on its laurels.
At the beginning of the discussion, Pavlo noted that everything that is happening with OLL.TV now impresses, especially the resolution that the service is persistently fighting for.
Pavlo Taianovskyi: OLL.TV has long positioned itself as football-oriented. However, times are changing, and the service is changing with them, declaring quite ambitious plans for the future. How do viewers and advertisers regard OLL.TV now?
Yuliia Trybushna: OLL.TV was originally conceived as a football service and positioned itself that way. We had TV channels “Football 1/2/3”, which were not available on other platforms. But about a year ago, we looked at OLL.TV from a different perspective and decided to offer viewers a much broader product, including all Ukrainian and foreign TV channels, the best movie and series libraries.
Today, the OLL.TV platform exclusively presents Amediateka series (these are the best projects of ShowTime, HBO, Sky, etc.).
Our main message to the viewer: OTT is simply a more convenient and modern way of consuming both traditional and new media content, providing opportunities that didn’t exist before compared to the traditional way of consuming TV. For example, the ability to pause videos, deferred viewing and many other modern digital features.
Fedir Hrechaninov: We really felt “cramped” in the football niche. It’s great, but like any niches, it has its limitations. To achieve our ambitions in the market, we realised that it was time to go beyond football. For example, the all-inclusive package currently does not include Football channels, but we have collected the best series, movies and shows there. And we offered the price that would make the product really attractive to a wide audience. There comes a point when OTT is not only for advanced users; very soon OTT as technology will dominate the content consumption market.
We will continue to invest money in our own content, and it will be different content, which is not available on TV. You will see the first example in December 2021 represented by the drama series titled Šutnja.
Pavlo Taianovskyi: The very concept of platforms didn’t appear just out of thin air, but a whole theoretical basis was developed. For example, Chris Anderson, Wired Magazine Editor-in-Chief, wrote The Long Tail in 2004, and since then I have been a big fan of the long tail theory. The long tail means that if a producer had the ability to keep in stock lots of different things that different people need, each of these things would be sold in low volumes, but in the end, this long tail would lead to much higher profits and sales than the bestsellers it sells. However, while everything was happening in the physical world, it was hard to access. And only the Internet has made it possible to create platforms like that. OTT platforms can store any volume of content, and people will come to get that content. Someone will come for “butterflies”, someone for “squids”, and some people will come for cricket – amounting to a huge number of people. And what if we look 5 years ahead: How do you see the traffic of the platform compared to the traffic of the biggest TV channels?
Fedir Hrechaninov: In fact, there is no opposition. How do Ukrainian platforms differ from foreign ones? We have both channels and VOD content. And foreign platforms mostly have VOD-content, originals at that.
On Ukrainian platforms, TV channels account for the lion’s share of viewing. By the way, the TV channel “Ukraine” tops the list.
People will increasingly consume VOD content, and if we talk about 5 years to come, this figure will increase to about 40-50%. The rest is for the TV channels that people really love. And channels have more opportunities for content production, of course.
Yuliia Trybushna: I think that the fact that people are not ready to pay for content in Ukraine is a myth. Now consumers are willing to pay for the content they are interested in. But they also want good resolution and easy connection. In other words, they demand quality and have the right to this.
Pavlo Taianovskyi: Netflix has not shown statistics for a long time. It has only recently started disclosing the data. Is OLL.TV going to disclose statistics?
Yuliia Trybushna: In fact, Netflix was forced, on the one hand, to make statistics public primarily to productions due to competition in the market. The boom in content production allows productions to become selective about their partners/customers.
Fedir Hrechaninov: We are currently disclosing statistics to rights holders only. But if the entire Ukrainian market decides to disclose the data, we will support this initiative.
Pavlo Taianovskyi: Why do you think that the future of platforms depends on domestic content? Why aren’t you satisfied with the simple function of an aggregator?
Fedir Hrechaninov: We will remain an aggregator (and I am sure that this model will be dominant in Ukraine), but people will use the services that offer exclusive content. Exclusive content will take the lead, and in-house production is the most reliable in that regard.