Invite-Only: Pay TV in the 2020s: Ahead of the peloton

TV Pathfinders is an invitation-only event, hosted on Tuesday, 17 March 2020 ahead of the Connected TV Summit. This year, the event is held at The Soho Hotel in London. All discussions are under the ‘Chatham House Rule’ to ensure a frank exchange of views and ideas.

This private thought-leadership event investigates the business, marketing and technology strategies that will help Pay-TV providers navigate the era of super-disruption and end up as winners. We want to know how they are going to secure access to the best content, increase ARPU and maintain their primary aggregator status as competition increases from global streamers. We consider the challenges for content owners as they look to carve out new distribution opportunities without hurting existing revenue.

This is an invitation-only event conducted under the Chatham House Rule to encourage frank discussion, and there will be excellent networking opportunities. Among other things, you will hear about:

  • The impact on global SVODs as studio D2Cs, and possibly broadcasters, repatriate their content
  • Opportunities for continued cooperation between global studio/channel groups and their existing distributors as they explore D2C options
  • How small/medium Pay TV operators can compete in a world of giants, ensuring competitive services and tech
  • The pricing, bundling or customer premise equipment innovations that will help operators keep price-sensitive subscribers onboard
  • The real threats to Pay TV sports dominance, and why it is not the new-breed of global sports aggregators like DAZN.

As with elite cycling and the peloton, today’s Pay TV industry is a complex web of cooperative and competitive interactions – with more companies ready to breakaway. Join us in London on the eve of Connected TV World Summit to explore the next steps for content owners and distributors, and see if Pay TV operators can keep the yellow jersey.

The Soho Hotel
Tuesday 17 March
14:30 – 17:00



Justin Lebbon

Director, Mediatel Events

14:00 - 14:30 Arrival. Refreshments. Networking



Ivan Verbesselt

SVP Marketing, NAGRA


What studio and broadcaster D2C means for the distribution business

  • Known and expected distribution strategies for Disney+, Peacock and HBO Max and how they intend to reach scale, quickly
  • The impact on global SVODs as studio D2Cs repatriate their content; The impact on global SVODs if collaborative broadcaster SVODs do the same
  • Attitudes at other leading studios and channel groups: who will seek D2C exclusivity and who will continue to feed Pay TV and SVODs
  • The likely response of global SVODs to losing studio or broadcaster ‘must-haves’ – aggressive moves into localised original production
  • How Pay TV can respond to the danger of content repatriation: strategies to secure content and options if they cannot.

Daniel Gadher, Research Manager, Ampere Analysis


Daniel Gadher

Research Manager, Ampere Analysis


How Sky will remain the primary aggregator of all the best content

In this fireside-chat, a senior director at Sky will outline the company’s near- and long-term strategies for securing the very best content, from sports to international drama to the arts. We will ask what studio direct-to-consumer launches like Disney+ mean for Pay-TV generally, and how Sky is navigating the increasingly complex relationships between distributors and content producers. We will explore the industry-wide focus on original content and the impact of Sky’s co-production partnership with HBO. We will discuss how Sky keeps its sports super-fans happy on its full-flavour service and the potential to reach new viewers with a sports-only skinny bundle, like the one containing the English Premier League on Now TV. Sky has been advertising its ability to offer the best content in one place, not least because of its smart bundling of Sky and Netflix content. Does Sky view itself as a super-aggregator, and what does it take to perform that role well?


Why we need a new approach to protecting content and services

  • More streams, more networks, more devices, more attack points – the delivery maze all media owners must navigate
  • The need for holistic service protection that goes beyond end-points; The need for scalable roadmaps from on-prem to cloud, from TV to IoT
  • Achieving world-class protection without over-engineering, and removing operational complexity from the media enterprise
  • Matching unique media owner needs with ready-to-deploy solutions – and the growing toolkit at your disposal

Tim Pearson, Senior Director Product Marketing, NAGRA


Tim Pearson

Senior Director, Product Marketing at NAGRA


New Zealand Rugby and Sky – the anatomy of a revolutionary broadcast deal

  • How New Zealand Rugby gets a 5% share in Sky in New Zealand as part of a five year rights deal – is this a one-off or a precedent?
  • Sky and New Zealand Rugby have committed to growing the sport together – here are more joint-growth initiatives between distributors and sports organisations
  • Other innovative rights deals that helped distributors secure content, and negotiating trends we have spotted.


Panel: Exploiting Pay TV advantage to keep what you have, and grow what you can

  • Can Pay TV operators survive without exclusive sports, and what innovations could secure access – could they buy sports clubs or offer sports federations equity in return for deals?
  • Will D2C services like Disney hurt global SVODs more than Pay-TV as they repatriate content; How should Pay-TV respond to D2C – more originals, vertical integration, seek app onboarding deals, pivot to ‘broadband-first’…?
  • Is data analytics the game-changer that can boost profitability in the Media & Entertainment space – what can we prioritise to demonstrate fast returns and justify further investments?
  • Someone will take the role of primary aggregator and content discovery agent, getting inside our heads to show us what we love: how can Pay TV beat Apple or Amazon to the prize?
  • How do we increase Pay TV ARPU without simply ditching low-value subscribers – where is the next EUR 5 coming from in the television offer?
  • How do small/medium Pay TV operators compete in a world of giants, ensuring competitive solutions for voice, apps onboarding, assistant services and advanced advertising?
  • What pricing, bundling or CPE innovations will help operators keep price-sensitive subscribers within full-flavour Pay TV, if they are worth keeping: operator-as-an-app, a la carte viewing options…?

Various broadcasters, subscription channel groups, Pay TV providers, sports streamers, analysts

Peter Wassong

Peter Wassong

Lead TV Content Hub
Deutsche Telekom


Networking break and refreshments


The truth about OTT premium sports and the threat to Pay TV

  • Why new-breed OTT sports aggregators are ‘harmless’, chasing only Tier-2 and Tier-3 sports, while major sports leagues dare not ditch distributors for their own D2C yet
  • Analysing the two real threats: ESPN going D2C in the USA, and Amazon fighting for T1 rights anywhere – the likelihood that either organisation will pull the trigger
  • Exploring Pay-TV sports strategies, from doubling-down on T1 ‘must-have’ rights at the expense of T2, to sports-only skinny streaming offers, and paying whatever it takes
  • Why we should keep a close eye on Formula 1, a rare T1 sport rights owner that is offering competitive live content within a D2C package – are they the canary in the coalmine?
  • Projecting what would happen if Disney took ESPN into an exclusive D2C offer; Analysing if any federation or league is powerful enough to ever ditch all distributors
  • The rest of the booming premium sports OTT market – the types of providers, the content they offer, how it supplements Pay TV, and any partnership opportunities.

Jon Watts, Director of Strategy and Editorial, Beet.TV and Co-Founder and Senior Advisor, MTM


Jon Watts

Managing Partner and co-founder, MTM


Living with giants: how Euskaltel relies on innovation to compete with Telefónica, Orange and Vodafone

  • Characterising our competitors and their television strategies, and Spain’s general focus on ‘full-fat’, high-priced bundles
  • Our differentiator: smaller bundles, ignore irrational sports rights auctions, focus on innovation and high functionality
  • Our Android TV Operator Tier set-top box launch – leading the way in 4K/UHD in the Spanish market
  • Aggregating TV and the best apps: Netflix on the remote control, Spain’s first Amazon Prime Video onboarding, Android app ecosystem
  • The cost/resource efficiencies of using the Android TV platform; The potential roadmap to more high-end features like voice and Google Assistant
  • Where a medium-sized operator can level the playing field in the operations department – our attitude to cloud and SaaS.

Leticia Sanchez Berian, TV Strategy Director, Euskaltel


Leticia Sanchez Berian

TV Strategy Director, Euskaltel


Panel: Improving services, and achieving sustainable growth, in premium streaming

  • David Trainer at Forbes[1] says increased competition, lack of pricing power and loss of licensed content means Netflix is no longer a revolutionary tech platform but just another TV network (with generous valuations) – discuss.
  • What are the opportunities for continued cooperation between global studio/channel groups and their current Pay TV or SVOD distribution partners, while they explore their D2C options?
  • Mid-term, will every media owner, including broadcasters and Pay TV, need their own studios to guarantee a supply of premium and original content, as major studios pursue D2C and possibly repatriate content?
  • What are the next steps in personalising streaming services – what are the UX innovations that will make us feel more attached, and is more relevant and targeted advertising one of the pillars?
  • How can sports federation D2Cs benefit consumers and raise new money without killing existing distribution deals – what scope for ‘behind-the-scenes’, B-team coverage, micro-subscriptions, etc…?
  • Will non-broadcaster streamers increasingly fulfil the ‘free-to-view’ element of hybrid subscription/free sports distribution deals, at the expense of ‘terrestrial’ TV; Can OTT deliver the viewers that broadcast can?
  • Will 5G be a game-changer for mobile video consumption levels, and what opportunities will it present for streaming service innovation or new revenue streams, including in sport?

Moderated by Colin Dixon, Founder and Chief Analyst, nScreen Media


[1] Forbes magazine online

Mark Lichtenhein

Mark Lichtenhein

Sports Rights Owners Coalition (SROC)

James Dean

James Dean

ESL, Turtle Entertainment

Andrea Clarke-Hall

Andrea Clarke-Hall

Vice President, Business Development

Andrej Miklanek

Andrej Miklanek

TV Content Manager
Slovak Telekom and T-Mobile

Kasia Jablonska

Kasia Jablonska

Head of Digital Distribution & Monetisation
Endemol Shine Group

Colin Dixon

Colin Dixon

Founder and Chief Analyst
nScreen Media


Drinks Reception and Networking


TV Pathfinders Networking Dinner