Pre-Event Interview

“Industry Must Adapt As Traditional TV Declines And Online Entertainment Expands Across Africa” - Surie Ramasary, Ex-CEO Black (by Cell C)

Surie Ramasary, former Chief Executive of Black, Cell C’s streaming service platform has described a future of Africa’s broadcast and media industry where Traditional TV services may continue to decline as digital online entertainment expand.

Surie, in an interview with Broadcast Media Africa (BMA), in preparation for the industry OTT Content Streaming and VOD Services Forum taking place on the 5th – 6th February 2019 at the in Radisson Blu (Gautrain) Hotel in Johannesburg, South Africa is urging the industry to adapt to these new business and market realities.

Below is an excerpt of the conversation Surie had with the BMA on the forthcoming Forum where she is a featured speaker and panellist:

BMA: Why did you decide to get involved in this Industry Forum On OTT Content Streaming And VOD Services?
Surie: I have worked in Content for close to 9 years but more specifically in OTT Content Streaming and VOD for two years. It has been amazing seeing the evolution of content viewing on basic content text services on featured/ultra-low-cost handsets evolving to streaming content services on smart devices.
I have had great learnings over this period and have introduced new models and means of access to these advanced services for different consumer segments and am happy to be part of a team to share these experiences and key learnings. Since this is a greenfield for Africa, I am excited to network with industry experts to gain more insights into the trends and advancements in this space.
BMA: What are your aspirations for the industry in relation to new models and innovations to discover and successfully tap into market gaps?                                        
Surie: The South African market has exploded with so many content platforms and services, VOD brands are competing aggressively for market share, and customers are becoming more demanding regarding what they want to watch, where and when they want to watch, and however long they want to watch.
Demand for Traditional TV is declining, and the growth in online entertainment is starting to expand as data becomes more affordable and the expansion of Fibre to the home increases. Inexpensive smartphones and applications for smart TVs are for the first time giving customers a choice to select the content they want to watch.
To make entertainment more accessible to both the underserved and mature market segments, carefully crafted models, relevant content offerings and niche bundled offerings will need to be considered.   
Both ad-funded and variable subscription models will become attractive choices to onboard customers.
BMA: Could you please tell us what you hope fellow participants will take away from this industry event?
Surie: The Conference has a good representation of OTT and VOD industry players bringing together years of experiences and expertise across content producers, platform providers, content partners, media players, regulation, research and network service providers. There is definitely great insights to be shared and opportunities to network and connect.
BMA: What are your expectations for the Industry Forum in February?
Surie: I expect for the Forum to provide new insights, tried and tested case studies that demonstrate trends and key learnings as well as models that will allow all participants to have a more unobstructed view of the direction and growth of OTT in Africa and Global markets. It is also crucial to see how flexible content providers and producers are to offer content to OTT providers using different models rather than enforcing minimum guarantees

About Surie Ramasary: Surie is a highly experienced member of the media industry who was previously the Chief Executive Officer for Content at Black where she was responsible for the growth of the streaming service platform.
She previously occupied the position of Executive Head of Products and Services at both Cell C and MTN Zambia. She was also a senior manager for Customers Retentions, and also a Product Manager at MTN South Africa.

Ramasary will be speaking at the Industry Forum on OTT Content Streaming And VOD Services in her independent capacity.


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