The 21st CSTB.Telecom & Media’2019 International Exhibition-Forum was held at Crocus Expo from January 29 through 31. Each year, the forum effectively achieves its increasingly ambitious goals and re-affirms its status of a major television and telecommunications industry event. The CSTB.Telecom & Media forum serves as an indicator of the state of the industry which reflects current trends and dynamics of most multi-service operators, cable and satellite companies, TV channels, media holdings, content and internet providers and manufacturers and suppliers of equipment and services in Russia.
The organizers of the exhibition-forum operate on the following key principles: Creating a proper environment for a full interaction between the participants and guests, showcasing unique technical capabilities on one platform and identifying promising areas. Professional organizations, government agencies and organizations positively assess the effectiveness and practical contribution of the forum to the common cause and the history of Russian TV and telecom. The CSTB.Telecom & Media activities are widely supported by the Ministry of Digital Development, Communications and Mass Media, ANO Digital Economy, the Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Moscow Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Moscow Department of Information Technology and the Cable TV Association of Russia.
The exhibition-forum opened with an annual round table discussion providing a platform for a variety of opinions and a constructive dialogue between the leaders of various market segments. This time, the discussion focused on digital transformation of the telecom and media industry. The need for a comprehensive discussion of this subject is based, above all, on profound economic changes and the emergence of a new model of relationship between the services and consumers of content. The participants summarized the data on the current state of the industry and concluded that the digital divide between the regions and the center is gradually closing, and the availability of exclusive content will remain the determining factor of success for operators and services and will determine consumer behavior and the choice of platform. Representatives of Rostelecom, TPO Red Media, Yandex, National Media Group, Signal Media, Media Telecom, Channel One. World Wide Web, ANO Digital Economy, DTV JSC, MTS PJSC, Orion Group and Huawei took part in the round table. These companies set the tone for development and have an influence on the course of events in the television and telecom industry. As is customary, the discussion was moderated by Yuri Pripachkin and Yana Churikova.
The speakers of the Regional Operators Forum co-hosted by Rosteleset Association touched upon the digital transformation of the telecom and media industry from a more practical perspective. During the round table discussions, the representatives of Rosteleset, OrderKom, ER-Telecom Holding Company, Ufanet, Lanta, Telecom Carriers Association, RiNet, Teleset Plus, EPG Service, Vidikon-K, Intersvyaz, GOODLINE, UralNash and Wellcomm reviewed prospects and risks associated with the I Internet-and-smartphone age and discussed a number of new draft laws. In particular, a special round table discussion was held on the Yarovaya Law, and although the forum participants and guests agreed that the law was controversial and irrational, the speakers didn’t agree on everything. Some called on the operators to adapt to the law, while others insisted on opposing it, actively or passively. Also during the forum, the representatives of the companies from the Russian regions discussed interaction with managing companies, success algorithms, EPG capabilities for operators, small operators implementing OTT services and changing approaches to controlling subscriber access to the cable TV network; they also exchanged tips and shared case studies.
At the invitation of Tricolor, Marcus East, a digital expert who worked at Apple and Marks & Spencer, and a co-founder of CyberKudos, spoke before the CSTB. Telecom & Media’2019 audience. In his insightful remarks, Marcus outlined a digital future for each inhabitant of our planet, which will dramatically change the economy in the near future. According to the speaker, eight key technologies have already changed the world irrevocably, namely, smart assistants, cloud technology, the internet of things, blokchain and cryptocurrencies, robotics, 5G, e-health and artificial intelligence. Mr East came up with a good question: Are you ready for all this? These markets are on the rise, and those who ignore technology will sooner or later be left out. Like those who have not gone digital by now.
Which pay TV operators are betting on UltraHD content and which ones have yet to find a business model that pays for itself? How did Russia become the flagship in the Discovery family to launch its first UHD channel? What really drives the UHD market? Is it the consumer interest in this format or the manufacturers’ focus on selling the equipment? And, finally, what are the myths surrounding UltraHD? This and many other things were discussed at the panel The ULTRAHD Industry. Prospects and Trends of Development, the participants in which included Media Alliance, PJSC MTS, First HDTV, GS Group, ARSPRO, Medialogistika, LGElectronicsRus and Rostelecom. Nikolay Orlov (Tricolor) and Alexander Chernyaev (Huawei) acted as moderators of the polylogue. Setting the tone for the discussion, Nikolay noted that Tricolor is optimistic about the future of UltraHD. In particular, the company operates Russia’s largest package of UHD channels and basic equipment makes it possible to watch 4K content. The number of the UHD package subscribers exceeds 100,000. In turn, Alexander noted that in order to expand the market quickly, it is important to create a partner ecosystem, namely, an UltraHD alliance, to jointly promote the 4K industry. Despite overall optimism, a number of challenges still exist, such as integration within the ecosystem, low efficiency and experience of video consumption.
The second day of the forum began with OTT.Future panel co-hosted by Online Video Association and moderated by Alexey Byrdin, which most guests love for extremely accurate statistical market overviews. The analytical materials were presented by J’son & Partners Consulting, TMT Consulting, TelecomDaily, iKSconsulting and Mediascope. The key identified trends included the industry’s joint efforts to combat piracy, Russia’s internet juggernauts’ increased proceeds from video, the expansion of advertising inventory through the use of new formats, the launch of TV channels broadcasting on online platforms and continued rapid growth of SVOD. In terms of aggregate revenue, the market grew stronger in 2018 than previously thought, by 47%-49%, to a total of 23.3-23.6 billion rubles in cash equivalent (according to preliminary estimates). The market segmentation has changed; the social media came second in terms of importance, and aggregators and infoservices have become part of them. The online cinema market grew by 35% in 2018 to a total of 10.4 billion rubles. The share of revenue received from pay plans exceeded 65%. According to forecasts, the online cinema market will reach about 22.5 billion rubles by 2023. In addition, smart TV sales increased in 2018 to a total of 3.2 million units sold, which significantly boosted the consumption of legal video content.
The key OTT market players in Russia – senior executives of Okko, Megogo, AMEDIA TV, Start, SPB TV, Tricolor, Yandex (Kinopoisk), NMG/STS, Lifestream (Smotryoshka), Peers.tv and Orion Group – discussed the difference between video consumption in major cities and provinces, the advertising market, the average subscription fee for current paying customers, the content that drives online video market, and why creating one service that would include all the content is impossible. The speakers agreed that the anticipated number of paid online video service subscribers will grow to 5-6 million within the next five years.
In closing, representatives of Teletarget, NAA/NSC, Channel One and GetShop TV discussed the capabilities of interactive broadcasting in all media based on hbbtv and OTT solutions and presented a number of thought-provoking case studies.
In partnership with Fox Networks Group, the Content Summit Russia forum participants focused on the kind of TV channel and content which would be of interest for television viewers and pay TV operators. The event started with a report by Nigel Walley (Decipher) who said that, in the future, content consumers will be using innovation-based network television (wholehome TV). The role of hardware is changing already now and at some point much will get integrated into the cloud, and the viewers will choose video services with faster and hassle-free access to their accounts. With Yana Churikova (MTV, Viacom) acting as moderator, the representatives of leading content producers (Signal Media, RTVi, Auto Plus and UTV Holding) discussed positioning of a channel brand through content and again came to an agreement that content is king that can tether any channel’s brand to itself. With regard to digital, the channels are already making use of it as they discover a new broadcasting platform which is Youtube and create convenient and often interactive applications for the users. Moreover, YouTube is in the process of becoming the new Russian television, and this trend will dominate in 2019.
Another equally important discussion during the forum focused on the content chosen by operators and digital platforms and the reasons underlying their choices. Representatives of Tricolor, Yandex, More.TV (NMG/STS) and Rostelecom were among those who took part in the discussion and provided answers saying that their choice may be based on the comprehensive assessment of the demand for content with the use of proprietary telemetry system based on a set of criteria; the daily digital analyses (search queries, rankings, etc.); the deep in-house almost real-time analytical materials; and exclusively viewers’ preferences. International expert Anna-Maria Raiki (HungarianTelekom) joined this discussion with a report, Balanced Approach to Paid Content Acquisition. She shared her observations to the effect that programming is based on three key concepts: cost – content (or, rather, its value in the audience rankings) - appeal (content must meet the market requirements in terms of diversity and quality). This is a matrix system, the goal of which is to identify the best balance and eliminate subjectivity when searching for content.
The final section of the forum was devoted to marketing technologies’ evolution in the television industry and innovative mechanisms for promoting content in the digital environment. Experts, including from FOX Networks Group, TV channel O!, Tricolor, Yandex, First HDTV and Mediascope, as well as content marketing experts, reviewed cases of successful and failed promotional campaigns in 2018. The desktop ranked first among popular formats of communication with the audience, followed by mobile devices and Smart TV. Moderators: Yana Belskaya (Kabelschik) and Denis Rychka (Cable TV Association of Russia).
The Telecom Operators Forum, a pilot innovation on the CSTB.Telecom & Media’2019 business program, was held with the support of the NAG Company, Russian developer of equipment and solutions for the telecom industry. At the beginning of the forum, moderator Artyom Yegorov (NAG) pointed out that the forum is special as it narrows down on topics that are of interest for cable TV operators and operators alike. The practical nature of most reports which makes it possible to use obtained information for work purposes is another advantage offered by the forum. The experts discussed ways to put a stop to subscriber drain using interactive TV and video surveillance and avenues that broadband operators can use to turn intercoms into growth drivers to expand their customer base. They also spoke about the practical use of the DPI technology, IoT security issues and protection solutions, personal data processing policies, ways to assess the subscribers’ perception of the video streaming services’ quality, dangers facing telecom operators when selecting equipment/software and rules to avoid them and changes in television viewing following the introduction of advanced EPG and additional services, as well as the intricacies of the IoT controllers. Forum speakers included representatives of NAG, IPTVPORTAL, Intersvyaz, VAS Experts, IRDETO, Digital Rights Center, RDP, Stream Labs and EPG Service.
The annual panel, Multiservice Satellite Networks and VSAT. Satellite Technology as Basic Platform for Developing Information and Communication Systems, co-hosted by TeleSatellite, was used to discuss prospects for satellite communications in developing 5G, security control and improving efficiency in navigation and air transport, eliminating digital inequality, Ultra HD broadcasting and covering poles and oceans with low-orbit satellites, in particular, OneWeb and the like. Representatives of Altegro Sky Group of Companies, Telecom-Project 5 LLC, ICC Severnaya Korona JSC, Hughes Network Systems, Tele-Sputnik, Orion Group, Tricolor, STV (Satellite Television Company), Eutelsat, LLC ISTAR, Orange Business Services Russia&CIS, FSUE Morsvyazsputnik, Gilat Satellite Networks (Eurasia) LLC, Iskra Group, J'son & Partners Consulting, MIPT, Iridium Communications and Service Soft LLC spoke at the panel. During the ensuing lively discussion, the panel participants and guests shared cases, tips and opinions and unanimously agreed that satellite communications have good prospects in Russia.
An interdisciplinary panel, Legal Advice. Legislation in Telecom and Media, was held on the third day of the CSTB. Telecom & Media forum, which was effective and useful for all market players. Representatives of the State Duma Committee on Information Policy, Information Technology and Communications, Orion Group, Kabelschik, Semenov&Pevzner, Dentons, ivi, MorganLewis, Center for Digital Rights and RosKomSvoboda, KATKOV&PARTNERS, and OrderCom took part in it. The speakers discussed the likelihood of launching the third regional multiplex during transition to digital technologies and the most recent draft laws. They shared practical recommendations with regard to protecting intellectual property, dealing with personal data and TV channel packaging. The topic of working with foreign content, companies and users, especially when dealing with online services, came up frequently. The benefits of smart approaches to using the GDPR and Law 152-FZ were also mentioned.
In between the events listed on the business program, guests of the CSTB.Telecom & Media’2019 forum had a chance to tour the exhibitors' booths located in a spacious exhibition section. The companies put as much effort into the exhibition as they did into getting ready for the business part of the forum. Interactive installations were on display, and breakthrough technologies and new TV projects and TV channels were announced there as well. The exhibition was attended by the industry giants, renowned brands and high-end telecom and television holding companies, such as Tricolor, NTV-PLUS, Orion Group, Irdeto, CDN Video, Smotryoshka, Vintera.TV, TVzavr, GS LABS, SPB TV, GS Group, SmartLabs, Universal Communications, Kontur M, TelCo Group, Channel One. World Wide Web, Digital TV, VIACOM, NTV Television Company, Time Media Group, Media Alliance, Dikoye TV, FOX Networks Group, NHK World JAPAN, 1TVCH, RTVi, Universal Distribution, Red Media, Moskva 24, RBC TV, MTRK MIR, SES, Globecast, Eutelsat SA, FSUE Space Communications, Gazprom Space Systems and many more.
The CSTB.Telecom & Media'2019 Exhibition-Forum was held with the support of the Ministry of Digital Development, Communications and Mass Media, ANO Digital Economy, Moscow Department of Information Technology, the Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Moscow Chamber of Commerce and Industry, IABM, IBC, GBU Small Business of Moscow and the general support of the Cable TV Association of Russia.
Main partner: Huawei. Strategic partner: Tricolor. Official partner of the forum: National Media Group. Partner: Kontur M. Forum Partner: Viacom
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