Collaboration Is Key to Confronting OTT – EMA's Anting
BUDAPEST -- Digital TV Central & Eastern Europe -- OTT poses the same threat for commercial broadcasters across Europe, according to Christian Anting, founder and co-chairman of the European Media Alliance (EMA) and senior executive at Scripps-owned Polish broadcaster TVN S.A. .
In his role at the head of EMA, Anting is tasked with identifying challenges posed by OTT, finding solutions that work for members and building scale for new EMA initiatives. Speaking at the Digital TV Central & Eastern Europe event, Anting introduced EMA, its key objectives and outlined the major initiatives the organization was currently spearheading.
Established in 2014, EMA is a group of commercial broadcasters across Europe that have come together to collaboratively address challenges brought about by OTT and the emergence of new technologies. It was initiated by the German ProSieben Group and the Scandinavian Modern Times Group, and others including TVN have come on board subsequently.
"It's a C-level network," notes Anting, "not an industry association as such." The goal is simply to pull together a group of like-minded people facing similar challenges, and share solutions and initiatives. Where it makes sense, members collaborate and everyone can decide when to join in or not, based on where they are in terms of their digital evolution.
This works better than traditional industry associations with regulations and rigid structures, according to Anting. "Not everything works for everyone," he said. "Speed is the most important element in some cases, and if you don't have consensus…!"
With EMA, every member can decide if they want to be a part of every initiative. They don't have to join any effort they are not ready for or don't see as useful. Others can join, and they can join later, when their technology, organization structure, economics, etc. are ready.
"It's a more pragmatic approach," according to Anting. "We can move faster -- maybe not as fast as an Internet company, but much faster than [traditionally structured industry associations.] Over-formalization of these associations leads to failure."
Anting listed four main areas targeted by EMA:
EMA has already rolled out some new initiatives and Anting took us through some of them.
Anting's vision is interesting, and by creating a common pool of European broadcasters to share resources, but leaving it up to them to join each individual initiative, EMA is approaching this in a more pragmatic way. International co-productions have long been an effective production approach for cash-strapped public broadcasters; it's ironic that it's now commercial broadcasters that are turning to it. But it does make sense bringing resources together to target a common threat.
But as Anting said, speed is the most important element in many cases, and most members will not move at the pace of ProSieben, MTG, Mediaset and TF1. The smaller, eastern European broadcasters do not have the resources for most major initiatives. This could end up being entirely driven and managed by a handful of larger players who might tire of "carrying" the little guys in time.
Meanwhile Netflix is spending $6 billion in original production this year, and has $7 billion planned for 2018.
— Aditya Kishore, Practice Leader, Video Transformation, Telco Transformation
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