Major European Streaming & Pay-TV Bosses Debate Overwhelming Content Choice, Talk Up Strength Of FAST & AVoD RTS London

Major European streaming and media bosses have debated how best to help viewers navigate the overwhelming content choice out there in today’s TV landscape, as they talk up the future of AVoD and FAST Channels at RTS London.

Stephen van Rooyen, Comcast-owned Sky’s Executive Vice President & Chief Executive Officer, UK & Europe, said media companies have “created problems for consumers” with this abundance of choice.

It is these companies’ responsibility, he added, to help audiences find the shows they crave, and he pushed partners to work together, citing the success of Sky and HBO’s marketing of global mega-hit House of the Dragon.

“The truth about the modern media economy is it’s highly fragmented,” he added. “Everything is all over the place. It’s nice to believe that you can monopolize whatever service you have to the fullness of [audience’s] time but the reality is you can’t just do that.”

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Van Rooyen added that “people will want to watch Tom Cruise movies and they can be found in lots of places, not just on Paramount, so they need to be helped to find them.”

Maria Kyriacou, Paramount International’s President of Australia, Canada, Israel and the UK, said the overwhelming choice out there for viewers is helped by the likes of FAST channels, which bring together specific genres or shows onto one platform.

“There is a comfort [to audiences] about not having to search for something, it feels like a linear experience,” she added. “The amount of hours people spend on our [AVoD] service Pluto is shocking. Once you are there you stay.”

Disney EMEA President Jan Koeppen said streamers are thinking “how to make shows into a moment,” talking up the strength of Disney+ content that appeals to family viewers and helps with the choice issue.

He also talked up the strength of AVoD, pointing out that Disney has been running ad-supported Hulu in the U.S. for several years.

He said Disney+’s core market for SVoD is the U.S. but markets such as the UK are lending themselves well to opportunities on the AVoD side.

Van Rooyen was speaking on the day Sky unveiled Sky Stream, its latest OTT platform that doesn’t require a satellite dish and is the pay-TV giant’s “most affordable way to get Sky and Netflix together,” with packages starting at £26 ($28.10) a month. The launch follows that of Sky Glass late last year, another way in which viewers can subscribe to Sky without a satellite dish.

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