Interview with Marc Mulgrum - SVP of Sales, Setplex, USA

Interview with Marc Mulgrum - SVP of Sales, Setplex, USA

1. To begin with, how do you see the landscape of OTT developing globally? What specific trends do you see that will shape the future?

The explosion of connected TV/ Smart TV sales will push for content consumption through over-the-top streaming.

According to Cisco, Connected TVs will grow third fastest (at a little less than a 6 percent CAGR), to 3.2 billion by 2023. Around 33% of people watch online videos on a Smart TV, with video-enabled apps compared to 23% who use a video game console.

The adoption of 5G and 4G networks will fuel content consumption over mobile devices.

The report published by the World Advertising Research Center (WARC) based on the data from mobile trade body GSMA indicated that over 1.3 billion people are anticipated to access the internet via smartphone and PC by 2025.

The growth of mobile-based internet users is also attributed to the rising adoption of 5G networks by the operators due to the consumption of content and related services, causing 4G LTE resources.

Future will be Hybrid - Not just SVOD or AVOD, Pay per view, One Package to have access across OTT services, Content access driven by Loyalty rewards program and Data sharing opt-ins are going to become mainstream

As per Zuora’s Subscription Economy Index Report, trends of the COVID-19 impact on subscriber acquisition rates from March 1-31, 2020, in comparison to the last 12 months, suggested that the global subscription growth rate for OTT Video Streaming companies grew 7x in March 2020, as compared to the growth rate over the previous 12 months. 

British Association for Screen Entertainment (BASE) suggests that consumer spending on digital movie purchases grew by more than 87% during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown period through June 30 to reach GBP 113 million (USD 148 million). While the growth was evident due to the lockdowns and consumers forced to stay at home, the data highlights huge gains from the OTT platforms.

2. During the pandemic, what are the most important recent developments in your field of business (such as Setplex for instance), and what developments should the market be aware of that they aren’t already?

As a Platform Partner, our focus has always been to help our clients stay focused on User acquisition by using the proper channels to onboard users and Content experience by providing the suitable content library and format to keep them engaged and leave the platform dependencies to us to manage.

While we have built most of our stack in-house, we are a big believer in partnering with the right solution providers to offer the best-in-class options for our clients via Setplex partnership.

Providing diverse revenue generation opportunities, Content Protection, Plugging Revenue Leakages, Enabling innovative distribution partnerships, Stable and Scalable infrastructure, Low Capex - Pay as you grow models are the ones that we have been focused on.

3. Can audio/video streaming companies in Asia work out a sustainable business model to begin to earn a profit?

We should treat stream platforms like how we treated TV Broadcasters, Social Media Platforms - There will be an investment phase that the investors and board will have to consider until the platforms reach the scale at which you can optimize different revenue and cost levers to make the business operationally profitable.

Having the right partners and limiting the number of partners who will share the pie, warding off the urge to build everything in-house, and be prudent with the build-buy-license decisions for all core pillars of the business - Content, Product, Distribution/User Acquisition and Monetisation will be the key.

4. What in your opinion are the most pressing challenges that inhibits OTT industry in Asia? What can be done to overcome them?

While many might quote the example of Hooq and Iflix to substantiate that consolidation is right around the corner, we believe that it would be the other way around - More independent OTT channels will be launched across regions like India, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Malaysia as the diversity of User needs in this region can not be easily addressed by extending global platforms or just launching pan-national OTTs.

OTT Service providers will have to ensure that they choose the right partners who are not just looking at tactical commercial outcomes charging upfront fees or having an Opex, which is not aligned with the ARPU in the respective regions. Instead, they should look for partners who are in this journey for a longer horizon - Be it content producers, Platform providers, Marketing & Monetisation partners.

Revisiting the preconceived notions on cost structures, Partnering with those who understand your business and build commercial around it, and coexisting with service providers who are already having last mile user connect ( ISPs, Cable Operators) are some of the ways in which service providers can address the challenges and grow in Asia.

5. Tell us more about the session that you are going to host at the show? What do attendees stand to gain from it?

We would like to leverage our 15 plus years of experience being on the Platform side of the OTT/IPTV business ecosystem, and layer our own experience of being a co-owner of two large OTT platform in the US to impress upon the role played by the Application and Infra layer of the OTT business stack.

Along with our partner Yotta, which is on a mission to become the most advanced network of data centres in Asia, we would like to share insights into how strategic pillars of any OTT business - Content, Marketing & Monetisation can unlock its full commercial value with the right mix of Platform and Infrastructure solutions.

Sunil Gupta is a widely respected leader, known as the data centre man of India has a grand vision to be catalyst for the growth of content consumption over the internet. Yotta, OTT as a Service solution powered by Setplex will offer the best of Application and Infra to help the OTT service providers in the region.


Subscribe now for latest news, expert analysis, and first-hand reports from AI, Blockchain, Cybersecurity, Mobility, CIO.