Industry Forum

OTT Streaming: SABC’s COO Urges Use Of Innovation To Serve Diverse Audiences

Mr Ian Plaatjes, the Chief Operating Officer at the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC), says that broadcasters in Africa need to start making use of the latest innovations available to them in order to retain and satisfy the needs of their diverse audiences.

Mr Plaatjes, in an interview with Broadcast Media Africa (BMA), in preparation for the OTT Content Streaming and On-Demand Summit taking place on the 19th – 20th February 2020 in Cape Town, South Africa, explained that as the world moves away from the traditional channels of consuming content, Africa’s broadcasters need to make sure that they do not get left behind, and in order to keep up, it is imperative that they leverage current innovations as that is what audiences require in this era of OTT streaming and On-Demand video consumption.


Below is the conversation that Ian had with BMA on the forthcoming Summit, where he will be participating in a key panel discussion session:


BMA: Why did you decide to get involved in this year’s edition of the OTT Content Streaming and On-Demand Summit


Ian Plaatjes: Working for one of the biggest public service broadcasters on the continent, in an era where broadcasting is evolving at a rapid pace, one is required to keep abreast of the changes in the broadcasting landscape at all times. It is therefore imperative that broadcasters such as the SABC are able to adapt, improve and remain relevant in the industry. The survival of broadcasters as a whole depends on our capability to reinvent and reposition ourselves in line with new trends. One of the challenges faced by broadcasters today is the retention of the younger audiences, and the only way to keep them captivated is to ensure that engaging content is available and easily accessible to them on all platforms. My participation in this Summit is, therefore, to learn from other industry players, share our experiences and explore new ways in which we can improve our content offering as well as finding alternatives to generate revenue using OTT platforms.


BMA: In your opinion, what are the opportunities presented by the OTT explosion for “traditional” broadcasters? Also, what challenges have come along with the arrival of OTT and On-Demand streaming?


Ian Plaatjes: OTT presents broadcasters with the opportunity to expand their content offering to their audiences in a different manner and on a non-traditional platform. With the world moving away from traditional channels of consuming content, broadcasters need to be innovative in catering to the needs of their diverse audiences. However, with the advent of OTT, it is imperative that the technology which is utilised is in line with the chosen devices as the use of irrelevant or incorrect technology can only drive audiences away from OTT platforms, posing a risk to render OTT platforms obsolete.


BMA: Could you please tell us what you hope fellow participants will take away from this industry event?


Ian Plaatjes: I believe that the participants will walk away with a better understanding of what OTT is, the opportunities available in pursuing the use of OTT, how these services should complement the existing traditional platforms and most importantly understand the impact of these services on the legislative and regulatory framework for broadcasters.


About Ian Plaatjes: Ian Plaatjes is the Chief Operating Officer at the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC).

His previous executive positions held were that of Chief Digital Officer (CDO) at the SABS, Group, Chief Information Officer (CIO) for SBV and COO for Absa Group Payments.

He has more than 30 years’ experience in various industries, including telecommunications, mining, banking, financial services, standards development and conformity assessments), and holds a variety of qualifications.

He will be speaking at the OTT Content Streaming and On-Demand Summit in his capacity as the Chief Operating Officer of the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC).


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