William Lee, Head, Digital Products & Innovation, beIN Asia Pacific
Somchai is in a traffic jam in downtown Bangkok, and he is running late. Liverpool, his favorite Premier League team, is up against arch-rival Manchester United in 10 minutes. He coolly whips out his smartphone, launches the beIN SPORTS CONNECT app, quickly swipes his way to the Liverpool live game. The first pixels stream over the 4G network and brighten up the screen and Somchai’s face. The whistle is about to blow, and he is glad not to miss any part of the live game.
Somchai arrives home just as Sadio Manè scores the first goal for Liverpool. Jumping with joy and mobile phone still in hand, he switches on his 55-inch TV and triggers a cast to the big screen. Somchai's son hops onto the couch to watch the game together with his enthralled dad.
Growing Digital Needs
Sports fans like Somchai are increasing in numbers across the Asia Pacific. TV audiences are turning to online streaming to complement their sports and entertainment needs as internet broadband speeds improve in the region.
beIN Media Group has been serving digital consumers in the Asia Pacific since October 2016, when the company first introduced its sports OTT video platform in Australia and New Zealand. In December 2017, beIN SPORTS CONNECT expanded its footprint as demand soared, launching into six additional countries: Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, and the Philippines.
Delivering Digital Streams to Diverse Markets
One of the challenging aspects of building and running an OTT video streaming service is to operate a single platform that can meet the diverse technical and business needs across different countries.
Pushing video streams with dynamic action like live football requires a fast and stable internet connection to smart devices.
Immediacy is valued in today’s fast-paced world. Users will be quick to abandon an app when it makes them work too hard to accomplish their goals
However, not all countries in the Asia Pacific are at the same state of internet infrastructure development.
To deliver high-quality video bitrates to various connected devices, the encoding profile, Content Delivery Network, and video player have to undergo careful selection, implementation and fine-tuning to achieve optimal performance under different and often uncontrollable network conditions.
We work with regional partners to optimize the design and technology and ensure a smooth end-to-end live streaming experience to each network and device. Whether user consumes content on a mobile phone under a 4G network, or the living room TV with fixed broadband, we aim to deliver the best experience possible.
Offering Frictionless User Experiences
Immediacy is valued in today’s fast-paced world. Creating a frictionless user experience requires special attention. Users will be quick to abandon an app when it makes them work too hard to accomplish their goals. A vital aspect of a seamless experience is to simplify the design of the on-boarding interface and offer easily understood subscription packages.
Digitally-savvy users need to feel empowered regardless of the business model. Whether it is freemium, one-time sachet pricing, season pass or no-contract recurring plan, offering flexible pricing models fuel the consumers’ desire for choice and control.
In countries like Indonesia and Thailand where credit card penetration is relatively low, a more extensive selection of payment methods is essential for users to embrace online commerce. As such, offline payment modes like pre-pay wallets, ATM/bank transfers, convenience stores, and direct carrier billing open doors to customers with different payment needs.
Giving the Users the Content the Way They Want It
Ultimately, technologies are just enablers to deliver tangible value. As more streaming services become available, users are setting ever higher expectations for what they are willing to pay for.
As the product teams build and operate the service, it is crucial to choose wisely the set of technology and partners to work with. The resulting platform must allow maximum business and product flexibility to meet future changing needs.
A case in point is that unlike a few years ago, it is now standard practice for a user like Somchai in our story to have the desired content immediately accessible across various screens, each working seamlessly with one another.
In a dynamic and ever-changing media landscape, the best businesses will keep nimble, be flexible to fresh ideas and adopt innovative ways to give users the digital experience they want, the way they want it.