CARTAGENA, Colombia—Over-the-top (OTT) content is already streaming over the Internet, and several companies around the globe have launched services. However, Caribbean and Latin American telecom regulatory agencies will not put a lot of effort toward regulating OTT in the immediate future, although they are aware of its importance.
OTT issues were discussed yesterday during the VII Taller Internacional de Regulación held by the Colombian telecommunications regulator, CRC. The event took place ahead of Andicom, the largest Andean ICT event (check out all Andicom stories).
“OTT regulation will be next on the agenda for telecom regulation agencies,” Eulalia Marín-Sorribes, Pyramid research analyst told RCR Wireless News. According to Marín-Sorribes, OTT might be on regulators’ agendas in the next three years. As she noted, telecom players are concerned about OTT providers’ impact on their networks, but at this moment, they are more focused on expanding connectivity, growing data and providing value-added services.
“There’s still a lot to do regarding connectivity,” she said. “There’s some debate about OTT, but telecom operators still have a lot of other things to do; they are more concerned about deploying networks, and how they will get money out of them.”
Standalone OTT providers will need to adapt their business models to succeed in the CALA region, Marín-Sorribes said. She also suggested that OTT players and carriers should partner to offer pay TV services.
Zattoo, an example of OTT TV
One example that comes from a more mature and regulated market is Switzerland-based Zattoo, which an OTT provider of television content. Zattoo does not actually produce any content. Instead, it makes license agreements to distribute programs over the Internet.
The idea behind Zattoo is that every Internet-enabled device with a screen can be a TV. “It started with the idea that Internet video is everywhere,” said Nicklas Brambring, Zattoo’s CEO.
Zattoo was founded in 2006 with the mission to be the number one Internet platform; during his presentation, Brambring remembered that at the time Zatoo was founded, experts did not believe in live Internet TV. Now, Zattoo has a 30-member team and operations in six countries, with 10 million registered users and 1 million active monthly users.
“We started in Switzerland, a country that has very advanced regulations. We are growing slowly, and now we have competitors. Switzerland is the most competitive OTT TV landscape in Europe,” Brambring said.
The CEO said that OTT TV needs to have a good relationship with content owners. “The broad network of partners shows belief in OTT,” he said, adding that Zattoo has marketing partnerships with companies such as Nokia and Microsoft as well as with third party app companies.
“If OTT TV is not offered legally, users will find illegal alternatives,” Ott said, echoing a similar statement by Pyramid’s Marín-Sorribes.