Friday, 21 July 2017

Telcos take the magic out of content

By Nick Wood , Total Telecom, in Singapore
Wednesday 19 June 13

Malaysian media group Media Prima suggests operators are too risk averse to be successful in the content business.

Operators the world over have made aggressive moves into television, but for one Malaysian media mogul, the telecoms industry has yet to understand that there's no business like show business. "Media is not about acquisitions and business, it is psychology and magic…

Operators the world over have made aggressive moves into television, but for one Malaysian media mogul, the telecoms industry has yet to understand that there's no business like show business.

"Media is not about acquisitions and business, it is psychology and magic, and telcos don't understand it," said Ahmad Izham Omar, who heads up Malaysian media group Media Prima's television networks and Primeworks Studio division. Among Media Prima's assets are four TV networks, three radio stations and Malaysia's largest publisher, The New Straits Times Press.

"It's like they're building Disneyland, but without the Disney," he said during a panel session at CommunicAsia in Singapore on Wednesday.

One operator on the panel with more reason to disagree than most was KT Corp. The South Korean telco's hybrid satellite and IPTV service, called Skylife, has captured 60% of the country's saturated pay TV market.

"Doing 'smart' by converging an offer is another way of being successful in content," said Jimmy Kim, head of KT's global media division.

He said that since KT Corp added an IPTV element to its satellite offering, it has become "a sexy company".

Skylife offers 130,000 pieces of video-on-demand (VoD) content in a bid to satisfy Korean consumers' voracious appetite for dramas.

For Omar though, it is not about how much content a company can offer, but the popularity of that content.

"Hit-making is a skill, you've got to take risks," he said. "70% of the content you have will not be a hit, but the 30% that is will cover the [cost of] the rest.

"For telcos though, this [risk] sounds horrible," he said.

As far as Omar is concerned, success in content is not beyond the reach of telcos, provided they understand "the art" of valuing content, content lifecycles, and appreciate that content "creates communities and relationships".

If telcos can do all that, "it will be the basis for beautiful collaboration", he said.

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