CASBAA Connections Q4 2011

Date: Jan 2011

Regulators can mitigate some of OTT’s negative impact on traditional television revenues

Beyond the horizon

Takeaways from Convention 2011 and thoughts on the year ahead

As the multichannel TV industry in all its forms enters 2012, and it becomes even easier for consumers to gain access to content by over the top television and other means, enlightened, regulation becomes more critical. Indeed, we’re convinced that regulators can mitigate some of the negative impact on traditional television revenues.

That’s why the CASBAA message during Convention 2011, “regulate for tomorrow, not just today”, really must be embraced by governments. Otherwise, operators using traditional delivery methods will rightly conclude they are being disadvantaged by dated regulations that new entrants are free to ignore.

Looking back on CASBAA Convention 2011 more generally, there were several takeaways, and two of them were especially encouraging. The first was just how much we’ve changed in the 12 months since the last annual meeting.

This year the industry was more prepared to engage with new entrants, people and organizations who in the past might have been perceived as outright enemies. This came across again and again in the tone of the discussions. People seemed to be saying, in effect, if this is where the world is going, let’s look for ways to really build something new.

A second takeaway was the upbeat mood. Despite obvious threats on the horizon, the sense I had talking to delegates and speakers was that, overall, it’s been a good year for the industry.

It’s been a good year for CASBAA too. Our membership growth in India highlights still intensifying international interest there and the rising power of the Indian industry itself. This is unlikely to let up as digitalization continues, ensuring India remains a key CASBAA focus.

We also did some growing at the other end of our footprint as more Japanese companies, not least flagship broadcaster NHK, join our ranks. We’re fortunate in attracting members from both highgrowth economies and large, more established markets where multichannel TV still has plenty of opportunities for growth. An obvious example is Japan which had a significant presence at the convention. So watch for CASBAA initiatives here.

The looming challenge for much of the pay- TV industry is the possibility of a slowdown resulting from the contraction in consumer spending. Will we see the trimming we’ve seen in other geographies? The prevailing perception seems to be that we will be less impacted by lower growth than other markets.

This brings me to advertising. While there may be opportunities to pick up more of our fair share, and ATAC will continue to be at the forefront of this effort, ad budgets look at best uncertain as we go into FY12. But whatever unfolds, I’m pleased to say we’ll have expert guidance from Group M’s Mark Patterson who was elected to the Board during the AGM and Council Meetings on November 3rd.

We will shortly be reviewing CASBAA’s internal structures, including the Board and Council, to ensure they remain as esponsive and relevant to members as possible. We do this every few years and a review seems especially appropriate on the heels of our 20th anniversary.

Everyone knows part of CASBAA’s remit is representing our industry, advocating positions before regulators and other groups. We are also tasked with connecting people within our industry and I can’t think of a better way of doing that than working on a committee, so I encourage everyone to get involved.

Finally, I’d like to offer my thanks to the CASBAA Executive Office for bringing off another terrific Convention on top of a terrific year; and my thanks to the members of the Board and Council for the support that made that tremendous effort possible.

Marcel Fenez

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