OTTs an opportunity, not a challenge

This is part three in a series on Entertainment on Demand. Click here for part two, 'High-end and family properties largest consumers of EOD.'

The big question for Entertainment on Demand services is: What is your response to over the top (OTT) services like Netflix and Hulu? Oz Eleonora, chief revenue officer for Sonifi Solutions, says these OTTs offer an opportunity, not a challenge.

"Services like Netflix have educated consumers on the different ways to find entertainment, but there is no evidence that Netflix has taken a huge chunk of business from Entertainment on Demand,” Eleonora said. “There is a reason many people have subscriptions to both Netflix and a pay-per-view service. There are some offerings that are available or convenient on one that don’t make sense on the other.”

According to Eleonora, the biggest effect Netflix has had on Entertainment on Demand is through the user interface. Specifically, Eleonora cited companies such as Netflix and Apple, which focus on streamlined user interfaces that are easy to understand, and use that as a means to reach customers. He stressed that though many OTTs didn’t bring anything new content-wise to the marketplace initially, by having a clean user interface they were able to find a niche. “As a result, all providers are evolving their user interfaces,” he said. “Our job is to provide an interface that allows guests to connect with either the hotel or us. There needs to be different usage scenarios, and it is all about getting guests attached to the property and brand so they return to make future purchases.”

Scott Hansen, the director of guest technology for Marriott International, said the biggest concern with regard to OTTs is how hotels will monetize bandwidth. “Hotels can potentially charge for bandwidth for OTT use, ” Hansen said. “OTTs are more than just an entertainment package, they are tied to the Internet, so finding a way to include that in tiered packages may be one answer."