Saturday, May 5, 2018

The new challenge for pay TV-companies is to understand their subscribers better through data mining, says Paul Papadimitriou, at MultiChoice's 5th Digital Dialogue Conference.

The other headline could have been "Futurist tells pay-TV biz to go back to the fire around which we gather" but at MultiChoice's 5th Digital Dialogue Conference this week futurist Paul Papadimitriou told conference-goers that pay-TV operators' new challenge is to focus on data mining their subscribers to understand their consumer better.

Paul Papadimitriou, a futurist and innovation expert, was one of the speakers at the 5th edition of the Digital Dialogue Conference that took place in Dubai in the United Arab Emirate (UAE) this week, organised by MultiChoice.

MultiChoice didn't invite any South African journalists or media to the conference facilitated by the satellite pay-TV operator, and there was no advance media advisory or notification.

The Digital Dialogue Conference is centred around gaining a better understanding of the future direction of the video entertainment industry across Africa as a whole.

According to a summary of his speech provided by MultiChoice in response to a media enquiry, Paul Papadimitriou, told conference-goers that "to prosper in a world that moves and change so fast, we need to get back to our basics: the fire around which we gather and the stories we tell".

MultiChoice that said photos of speakers are available by request wasn't able to provide a photo of Paul Papadimitriou.

Paul Papadimitrious said that the future of pay-TV is influenced by global numbers and the transition to actual behavioural change, "multi-modal, multi-local".

"As such the current challenge for pay-TV companies is to shift the focus from content delivery systems to understanding its consumers through primary data - for instance when they watch, how long and how much".

Not mentioned by Paul Papadimitriou, this is of course going to be far easier for subscription video-on-demand S(VOD) services like Naspers' Showmax, now managed by MultiChoice, as well as global players like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video who are making inroads across Africa with their digital streaming TV content services who can very accurately track when and what subscribers are watching and are interested in, as well as how long and how much content they consume.

Paul Papadimitriou said that the way consumers watch TV has evolved, whether it's bitesize formats, to non-linear viewing such as watching multiple content on multiple screens.

"With the advent of 5G, African consumers will be able to watch TV on all platforms simultaneously," he said.

According to Paul Papadimitriou the end-user experience is becoming the key differentiator. Customers and TV viewers want, and are getting, better and better experiences with tool that make our lives better.

As such, behavioural data is the differentiator allowing an experience of choice - whether it's faster automation, faster insights, faster networks, faster reality or faster intelligence.

According to Paul Papadimitriou it is critical for companies to understand the new consumption behaviours and mindsets of consumers. The new consumer is nomadic - they can be everywhere and anywhere, tribal - gathering around similarities, and singular - entrepreneurial and being who they want to be.

"The best innovators are like the best travelers - they're not afraid of unknown territories," said Paul Papadimitriou. "They understand who people are and the journeys they're on. They just do it."