Discovery is cautious over international OTT deals

Mark Hollinger.

Discovery Networks International will take a different approach with regards to making international OTT deals, in comparison to how it has been done in the US.

According to IBC E-Daily, Mark Hollinger, president and CEO at Discovery Networks International, said: “We have only had experience of this in the United States. We have done deals with NetFlix and Amazon in the US, two big OTT providers.”

He added: “The US, however, has a unique set of circumstances. Those two businesses had well established subscriber bases in the US. We were very late in the game in terms of doing deals with them. So, whatever impact OTT was going to have in the US was already under way. Internationally, we are careful about looking at OTT deals, because we don’t want to put content out onto distribution platforms that may further undermine the growth of pay-TV.”

Hollinger went on to say that internationally, the company looked at more opportunity for OTT like services and TV everywhere services with its pay-TV distribution partners, as opposed to doing deals with NetFlix and Lovefilm.

The commercial broadcast brand have seen some strong subscriber growth in the Middle East region, and aim to grow further in India with additional channels launched. Hollinger said that Latin America, however, has shown the best and broadest pay-TV growth.

He said: “Growth comes from everywhere. But, if you look purely at the numbers, Latin America is number one.”

Discovery was also one of the first broadcasters to launch 3-D TV in the US, but it has no plans at the moment to spread this type of broadcast internationally. Hollinger believes that the international process will be slower than the build of HD, and although it is rumoured that the launch of 3-D TV has been a disappointing venture, he denied this by explaining: “Our programming works naturally on 3-D TV. I would say it is not rolling out quickly, but we were not anticipating it to roll out quickly. I would not call it disappointing.”

He concluded that pay-TV is still under-represented in the some of the ad markets and from a business perspective, the key for the broadcaster is still working on the regulatory side so it can generate the revenues in some markets that it feels it is entitled too.