Between the 7th and 9th of February, Moscow Crocus Expo hosted CSTB. Telecom & Media’ 2017, an international exhibition and forum platform. A year before the significant 20th anniversary this the 19th year was an opportunity for industry leaders, representatives of the private and public sector to meet and discuss the results of the previous year, 2016, which well exceeded the expectations. The telecom and media industry adjusted itself to the new regulations, and continued its upward trend. Within business sections of the forum industry experts spent three days talking over the unresolved issues. CSTB. Telecom & Media’ 2017 provided a platform to discuss critical matters with representatives of relevant authorities, negotiate cooperation initiatives, announce new partnership projects and new TV channels, and present the latest technological innovations. Every year, this event is the first in the calendar, and it has earned a reputation of being a market benchmark that helps identify cutting-edge trends in TV broadcasting and telecom. During the three days’ of the event, 25,117 people attended the event which featured over 400 brands from 29 countries.
The roundtable discussion 'Media without borders' was held on the first day of the forum and moderated by Yuri Pripachkin, President of the Russian CATV Association, and Yana Churikova, Head of Youth and Music Channels at VIACOM. The first part of the discussion was focused on cooperation between Russia and China in media and technology; and was attended by Alexey Volin, Deputy Minister of Telecom and Mass Communications, co-chair of the Russia-China Media Cooperation Committee, representatives of the ‘First Channel. Global Network’, ‘Digital TV’, ‘Signal Media’, SPB TV and Lu Libo, Vice President, Solution Sales and Marketing, Huawei, Russia.
Alexey Volin commented: “Many of Russian companies are already actively seeking initiatives and opportunities in the neighbouring country. This proved to be a new opportunity and a new sale market for industry players ”. The Chinese market is huge. Shanghai Media Group alone has annual budget of over USD 5 billion. However, according to Mr Volin, it is not all about the opportunities, as it is a difficult partner — it can take up to two years to sign a contract, from the first ‘date’ to actually executing a binding agreement.
The second session was attended by representatives of the Ministry of Telecom and Mass Communications of Russia, RTRN, Tricolor TV, ACADO Group, MTS, VimpelCom, NTV-PLUS, VGTRK (Digital TV), Signal Media, ‘First Channel. Global Network’, Viacom International Media Networks and VIASAT, Rosteleset Association. This time the discussion was centred around the most critical issues of the Russian TV and telecom industry. Yuri Pripachkin presented a summary of results ‘2016 (ARPU is up by 5% at RUB152 per user, the number of pay TV subscribers reached 41,280,000 people, the market size is around RUB 74 bn), and turned to the issue particularly sensitive for the operators — the ‘regional channel’ (or the ’21st button’ problem). The solution was immediately offered by RTRN that had received a schedule for inclusion of regional commercials and adverts — the scheduled work will be done between February and June 2017, all currently suspended initiatives will be considered and necessary permits will be issued. A simple solution on how to further increase the ARPU was then offered: instead of counting the number of households, one should count the number of TV sets, as most Russians would have more than one TV set at home. The participants were happy to note that the pay TV industry has withstood the crisis and achieved a certain growth in revenues. This optimistic stance taken by the first discussion largely determined the trend for the entire forum — it proved to be ambitious, rich with innovative ideas, exciting presentations, and valuable practical advice from industry experts.
Ultra HD: Production and Broadcasting provided a platform to consider prospects of ultra-high definition TV in Russia, with comments both for and against. Moderator of the discussion Nikolay Orlov, CEO of First TVCh, presented a case on establishing ‘Insight’, an adapted UHD channel, not over the air. It is the highest rated channel in the Ultra HD offering of Tricolor TV relying on two formats — HD and UHD. At present, massive spread of ultra HD TV is hindered by technological limitations as most TV sets in Russia would not deliver UHD; the problem can’t be resolved by set-top-boxes or digital TV receivers alone.
Representatives of Tricolor TV, J’son & Partner Consulting, Huawei, Dolby, Panasonic, GS Group, Intersvyaz and Irdeto focused on the prospects of UHD and 4K — designers, videographers and others whose product first and foremost depends on the quality of the picture are expected to become the first users of the technology. Ultra HD provides for the frame rate of 23.976 up to 120 FPS, 12 bits per colour, and the CIE 1931 colour space that covers 75.8% of human perception, while Full HD is limited to 8 bits per colour, maximum frame rate of 60 FPS, and the CIE 1931 colour space coverage of 35.9%. In terms of business, 4K opportunities are impressive as well. U-vMOS system offered by Huawei joins together user’s assessment of content and indicators of the network basing on multilevel analysis, and provides operators with data on the content and signal quality. It gives the operator instant feedback on the satisfaction of the viewer. Ultra HD is undoubtedly a new type of TV; however, the main existing challenge noted by all experts is dramatic lack of content for ultra HD TV. Best-case scenario for Pay TV operators is to reach a mass level in 2017-2018; the industry avoids discussing the worst-case scenario, though.
Telecom, media and technology were discussed at two sections of the forum. The first,‘TMT industry in the Experience Economy’, where gaming, augmented and virtual reality, and Internet of things were discussed. Ilya Ovcharenko, moderator of the session, and Creative Producer of GameShow Mediaholding shared his vision on the key entertainment trend of our times, the video gaming industry. Video gaming is the largest world’s media of the last year with revenues of USD 91 billion globally, and almost RUB2 billion in Russia. Gaming includes both entertainment and sport (the cybersport market is expected to reach USD 1 billion in 2017), many global brands are heavily investing into this sector as it represents a valid part of life affordable to all social groups. The year 2016 saw the start of offering of VR products in the mass market with over USD 2.7 billion earned almost at once. Potential points of growth, according to the experts, are AR/VR in movies, VR-cinema halls, broadcasting of 360 sports events. AR/VR also has a certain promise for the sectors of education, HoReCa, and hi-tech, including development of more affordable products. The section was attended by representatives of the Augmented and Virtual Reality Association (AVRA), Huawei, SPB TV, Vizart, IRE Polus, Yandex.Money, RFI Bank, and Internet of Things Association. The topics covered trends and economics of AR/VR, practical aspects of building an eco-system, problems and solutions in delivering VR content, cases of dynamic creation of graphic content, various matters related to the Internet of Things and telecom; a conclusion was then formulated that video and multimedia services are the key source of traffic in telecom networks. Financial services and e-commerce for media products were also considered at the end of the session.
The second section focusing on TMT has a name that speaks for itself: ‘New business models and approaches in the TMT industry’. Andrey Yatzenko, CEO of Gorsvyaz, moderated the discussions. The participants discussed outsourcing and effective partnership options for the telecom industry, and new platforms and technology. Benefits and drawbacks of working with providers were studied from the point of view of operators, with automation of the entire cycle and quick launch of service across the country were noted among the key benefits. Representatives of Trivon Networks (Virgin Connect), Elat R&D, IPTVPORTAL, SmartLabs, Tvzavr, Smotreshka, Huawei, MegaFon, Elecard, CDNVideo, BroadView Russia, Raidix, and Hom IPTV shared their vision. Among other things, they discussed the best ways to resolve problems of smaller regional operators suggesting to boost the competitiveness by reducing the costs of IPTV-solutions, in particular by buying partner soft- and hardware products from TMT providers, e.g. a fully operational platform for interactive SmartTUBE 5 TV services, or some other cloud TV, with a full package of TV and VOD content for all platforms and devices. Challenges in the market of video products in Russia and their mitigation were considered — this segment was found to be a driver of revenues and a basic service to be provided by operators, — along with the role of the operator’s CDN in the Internet broadcasting eco-system, as it is the combination of linear and on-demand TV that is recognized as one of the key trends in the global TV broadcasting market. Adequate approaches to the monetization of Internet streaming were also a matter of discussion, suggesting the new service CDNvideo as a good tool for monetization that replaces over-the-air commercials by commercials from advertising data exchanges and aggregators. An important presentation was made at the end of the session discussing how to add a TMT service without losing subscribers. IPTV through agents using content aggregators was suggested as a solution.
Another novelty at CSTB. Telecom&Media’2017 was OTT.Market / OTT.Future, a specialized initiative set up by Midexpo and Internet Video Association. This content delivery method proved to be the main trend of the last year in the telecom market and was gradually increasing the penetration, to support the development of traditional TV services, growth of operators’ ARPU and satisfaction of the users’ demand. At the designated exhibition area, OTT.Market presented all the OTT capabilities ranging from services to solutions. Among the participants of the session were MegaFon, Megogo, Tvzavr, Smotreshka / LifeStream, Okko, CDNvideo, Vintera / HD Media, Microimpulse, Ngenix, Skyway, Touch TV and Nag.Ru/24 hours. The session also welcomed presentations of the participating companies and their technology.
ОТТ. Future was dedicated among others to two key questions of the market that remain unresolved — the pricing policy and prevention of piracy. Moderator of the session was Alexey Byrdin, President of the Internet Video Association. The participants shared the vision on the dynamics and trends in the OTT video market, global and domestic, that demonstrated noticeable growth rates in 2016.
The forum saw a presentation of a break-through system of distribution and monetization of on-air channels in the OTT environment — the case of the ‘First Channel’ in the network of SPB TV. Contributors to the presentation were Alexey Volin, Deputy Minister of Telecom and Mass Communications, Anton Petukhov, National Advertising Alliance, and Dmitry Philippov, SPB TV. Joint case work helped provide protection from ad blocking by inserting the commercials at the side of the server — thus, there is a single replacement mechanism for all user devices, the audience of the First Channel that receives targeted commercials has grown by 6% on the back of mobile devices of one OTT operator, and monitoring of the commercial content replacement capabilities is introduced. In the presented case, the operator would receive the Full-HD version of the TV channel, the version designated for the ОТТ would be broadcast, and the channel would get the data on viewing.
Introduction of ОТТ (TV and VOD) services by broadband and cable TV operators was discussed in detail, as this is what all market players need. The session was attended by analysts of TMT-Consulting, J’son & Partners Consulting, TelecomDaily, Russian Association for Electronic Communications, iKS-Consulting, and representatives of Tricolor TV, NTV-PLUS, Megalabs, Rosteleset, Comcor, Russian Cable TV Association, Lanta, Microimpuls, Beeine, Irdeto, Orion Express, Skyline Communications, A-media, IVI, Tvzavrand Tele2.
Another important topic of the second day was the evolution of the satellite sector both domestic and global. Telesputnik and Midexpo held a session ‘Multiservice Satellite Networks and VSAT' where the stakeholders attempted to answer the question ‘how to develop the satellite market?”, shared their vision and suggested various approaches — both technical and marketing, — and offered their forecast. Partners of the session were Hughes Network Systems, Intelsat, Newtec, Skyline Communications and Gazprom Space Systems. The session was moderated by Vsevolod Klyubakin, co-editor of Telesputnik, and attended by representatives of the Global VSAT Forum Association, Newtec, Satellite TV JSC, Orion State Company, Relecom-Project and Eutelsat Networks.
Representatives of satellite operators presented their broadband networks, spoke about promising satellite systems for broadband (SKIF medium altitude system and Energy Telecom, a geostationary company). Both systems are oriented to broadband offered at a price competitive with terrestrial radio access networks. More attention was paid to the protection of frequency resources. At the World Radiocommunication Conference WRC-2015, the C-spectrum had been successfully defended; however, market players expect that defending other parts of the radio spectrum at the next conference, ERC-2019 will be challenging.
The second part of the section was attended by Andrey Svitsov, Deputy Chair of the State Duma Committee on the Information Policy, IT and Telecom, and representatives of Astra Internet, Intelsat, SES, Skyline Communications, Morsvyazsputnik State Company, Skolkovo Foundation, Severnaya Korona (Northern Crown) Information Space Center (JSC), D.C. Оrbital and Kosmicheskaya Svyaz (Space Communication), State Company. When discussing interaction between the legal authorities and business, the representatives of the industry regulator admitted that the law-makers are sometimes ignorant about specific features of sophisticated industries, including telecom. He called on the participants to initiate communication to bring specific aspects of technologies and services to the attention of the members of the State Duma and specifically the impact of the forthcoming laws on the industry. The key players were united in their opinion that the authorities underestimated the role of satellite technologies in their effort to eliminate the digital divide. The use of satellite technologies in providing broadband access in remote and hard-to-reach areas will help to substantially reduce the costs; moreover, most investments have been already made.
According to the participants, the key trend in the VSAT industry is the market appearance of multipath high capacity HTS satellites. This technology allows dramatically reducing the cost of satellite resources, which makes the service more affordable. The providers noted that more attention should be paid to collective access systems. In areas where there is demand for VSAT, the consumer purchasing power is often low. Generally, all critical issues of the Russian satellite market were discussed at this full-day section. The stakeholders agreed that despite economic challenges, the market of VSAT would be growing, the key drivers of growth being introduction of technology supporting most efficient use of the satellite resource, and reduction of the subscription tariffs.
The first part of the Regional Operators' Forum was focused on routine as well as critical questions: how it feels to be small among G20 players, what opportunities operators have to promote their channels, what strategic marketing levers and content should be used for audiences of less than 100,000 people. The requirement to regional operators to deliver must-carry channels was discussed in detail. The moderators were Yana Belskaya, Editor in Chief, Cableman internet media; and Oleg Grishenko, President of Rostelet Association. The session was attended by representatives of TelecomBelMedia, BelBusinessChannel, Smotreshka, First TVCh, A-media, Contact and Red Media, Viasat.
The focus of the second session of the Regional Operators' Forum was on the practice of using the Revizor System. Technology Committee of Rostelet shared information on the vulnerabilities they had identified, which may give users access to websites blocked by resolution of Roskomnadzor. The next important aspect is high cost of the equipment for blocking the banned websites, which prevents operators of small and ultra-small market from installing it, thus actually shifting them into the illegal service market. There were cases to celebrate as well: regional operators shared their success stories in developing a business, including contact-centres in the regions, with a full scope of outsourcing services, and growth of their partner networks in 2016. The main pain point of the regional operators is lack of market data and information on practices of their peers in other regions. Rosteleset Association immediately offered a platform aimed at promoting crowdfunding and knowledge-sharing. Cases of moving Cisco developer teams to partner companies and cost saving were presented to illustrate the advantages of becoming members of the Association. Other participants of the session included representatives of Omega (Yekaterinburg), Ufanet, Telemir (Lipetsk), Norsi-Trans and Real (Astrakhan).
The third day of the forum program was fully dedicated to the market practice. For 5.5 hours straight, Yana Belskay, Editor in Chief of Cableman, and Regina Yurkina, CEO of Mediabrand, moderated the conference ‘Creating and Promoting a niche channel’. Participants of the conference were MeditProfi, DSS Lab, 3i Technologies Group, SDI Media Russia, Cyrillica Studio, A-media, Pyatnitsa and independent experts. Today, the principal marketing task of pay TV channels in the multi-media universe is their positioning. To build personal engagement of users, the ideal tools are those at the junction of digital and offline promotion; they can be well used by the channels if an adequate marketing strategy is in place. Website traffic by far exceeds TV channels’ traffic, where TV is the leader only in delivering the news. The situation has changed so significantly that today it is TV channels who are seeking partnerships with big Internet sites. Regina Yurkina said: “Today’s digital technology allows for accurate targeting. The re-post tree from vk.сom is always self-explanatory if you ask TV heads of marketing, as it almost immediately shows how good a video is, if it matches expectations of the target audience and how far it is spread by re-posts. That is why deep knowledge of the target audience is as important now as strong positioning of your brand”. Looking at the presence of a TV channel in the Internet, correct aggregation of content is crucial: convenient search tools, mobile applications, big data and fb-application. All these tools help monitor and control the point of commercial efficiency of marketing, which is now getting ever more important. So, the highlights are the positioning, promotion at the junction between offline and online, personalization, convenience of search and by all means high quality content which is appealing to the target audience.
As to the latter aspect, representatives of production studios shared a problem related to localization of foreign-made content for the Russian market. The main challenge is lack of competencies — every audio production specialist is virtually worth their weight in gold; they get specialized training in the localization studios from scratch. Another challenge not yet overcome is localization itself, e.g. US children are used to communication style and slang that differ from that which Russian children are used to. There may be subtleties in interpretation that refer to the historical truth, customs and traditions in the country of rollout of such content. Sometimes large companies would refuse to translate certain movies and cartoons. This aspect, along with others, drives the cost of adapted content distribution up.
Risks faced by telecom and media, their mitigation, legal regulation of advertising in the Internet — all these topics were covered by experts at the section ‘Legal Advice: Law on Telecom and Media’. As is the tradition, this section was moderated by Elena Gultyaeva, Head of Legal at ACADO Telecom, Legal Counsel of the CATV Association. This section hosted discussion on various aspects of the telecom market players’ operations. Experts touched upon sensitive legal issues of the recent years, and offered their advice on how to deal with them. The section was attended by representatives of legal firms Semenov&Pevzner, Capital Legal Services, Pepeliaev Group, Dentons, Katkov and Partners and MGAP.
On 8 February, the official Big Digit National Multi-Channel Digital TV Award ceremony was held. The jury included journalists, experts in TV and radio broadcasting, community leaders and representatives of multi-channel digital TV operators. They named the best in three principal categories: ‘Operator’, ‘Technology and Equipment’, ‘TV channel’, and a subcategory ‘TV Program’. The irreplaceable chair of the jury is the legendary Anatoly Lysenko, President of the International TV and radio Academy, CEO of the Public Television of Russia.
Exhibition and award organized by: MIDEXPO
General partner: Association of Cable TV of Russia
Supported by: Ministry of Telecom and Mass Communications, Rossvyaz, Roscomnadzor, Russian Chamber of Commerce, Moscow Chamber of Commerce, RTRN, IABM (international trade association for suppliers of broadcast and media technology) and IBC
Strategic partner of the exhibition and award: Tricolor TV
Partners of the exhibition: Shopping Live TV channel, MTS
Platinum sponsor of the forum: HUAWEI
Partners of the forum: Beeline, VIACOM
General partner of the award: Eutelsat
Platinum sponsor of the award: Beeline
Partners of the award: NTV-PLUS, Kosmicheskaya Svyaz (Space Communication), State Company
The 20th anniversary CSTB. Telecom & Media’2018 exhibition and forum will welcome you the next year in the Crocus Expo exhibition centre. Please contact the organizers if you have questions on how to take part in the forum and exhibition. Please follow this link for details: www.cstb.ru
News about the event are published on its website and at the official page at