Next TV: Fight International Piracy With More Content, Panel Says

More Compelling Content on More Devices Will Beat Back Pirates

New York -- A panel of top international programmers at Thursday’s NextTV Summit, sponsored here by Multichannel News and B&C, said the best way to beat back content pirates is to provide more content on more devices to consumers.

Telemundo executive vice president digital media Peter Blacker, speaking on the “International and Hispanic Over The Top TV and Digital Media” panel moderated by Multichannel News programming editor R. Thomas Umstead, said piracy is a problem for the programmer, but added that providing a better consumer experience than the pirates is the best defense.

Blacker said that education also plays a role – directing consumers to legitimate sites for content. Once the audience knows early on that a network’s site is the best place to see what it wants, they will stick with it.

“It’s very much based on the audience hooking on [in the] early days,” Blacker said. “We do a pretty good job of keeping the pirates at bay.”

Cisneros Group chief digital officer Victor Kong said that policing all of the pirate sites is next to impossible. But Cisneros dealt with piracy by beating the pirates at their own game, by putting content up online on sites like You Tube, before the pirates got a chance to.

“You have to make content available to stop it,” Kong said of the piracy issue.

DLA executive vice president of digital media Antonio Barreto agreed, adding his company wants to be part of a consumers total entertainment solution.

“If they have cable TV, buy [content] on ITunes, we want to be part of that mix,” Barreto said.

Blacker added that one of the biggest challenges for international networks is finding ways for content to be more compelling online. He said that while binge-viewing is a growing trend with international viewers, it isn’t so easy when dealing with popular programming live Telenovelas, which can have hundreds of episodes.

“One of the challenges we’ve had is how do you stay true to the story and break it into seasons or chunks so you can binge viewm but still make it relevant for a person in a different viewing experience,” Blacker said.

Blacker added that fears that viewing away from the TV will impact ratings are unfounded. In the Hispanic market, Blacker noted that TV viewership is up slightly but video consumption through mobile devices and non-traditional media like gaming devices or watching online at the office is up 35% to 40%. Blacker said that the shift doesn’t mean people are cutting the cord, but are watching more on the most convenient device.

“If you have a great story, whether it’s news, sports, telenovela, the audience just wants access,” Blacker said. “Give that to them and they will reward you with their time.”