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Pros and Cons of Telco and OTT Streaming Bundling


Hugo Soteras

Sales Director

January 19, 2024




What is telco bundling?

Telco bundling represents a strategic alliance between telecommunications companies and OTT streaming services. It's an innovative approach where telcos offer streaming services as part of their broader package, combining internet, mobile, or other telecommunication services with access to streaming content. This fusion has proven to be a lucrative model, particularly effective in areas with lower banking and credit card penetration.

Advantages of Telco and OTT Bundling

Increased Distribution

One of the primary benefits of telco-OTT partnerships is the increased distribution capability for OTT platforms. By aligning with established telecom companies, these platforms can leverage the extensive and well-developed distribution networks that these telcos have built over years, if not decades. Many telecom companies have a longstanding history in their regions, cultivating a massive base of loyal users. This vast network becomes an invaluable asset for OTT services, enabling them to reach a wider audience quickly and efficiently.

Market Penetration

Market penetration through telco partnerships is particularly crucial for OTT services aiming to establish a presence in new regions. For example, consider Netflix's strategy when it entered the Indian market. They partnered with Reliance Jio, one of India's largest telecom providers, to bundle Netflix subscriptions with certain Jio postpaid plans. This partnership allowed Netflix to tap into Jio's extensive customer base, making significant inroads into a market that was previously challenging due to diverse regional content preferences and varying levels of internet access.

Aided Marketing

Collaborating with telcos offers OTT services a unique marketing advantage. By leveraging the established marketing channels and brand recognition of telecom companies, OTT platforms can significantly enhance their visibility and appeal. Furthermore, these partnerships provide telcos with opportunities to upsell and improve their offerings, creating a more comprehensive package for customers. For instance, a telco might bundle a premium OTT service with its high-speed internet plan, making the overall package more attractive to potential customers.

Boost in Paid-User Share

Telco bundling can also play a crucial role in increasing the proportion of paying subscribers for OTT services. By simplifying access and payment methods, such as allowing subscriptions to be part of a regular telecom bill, users are more inclined to opt for paid OTT services. This convenience removes the usual barriers associated with separate OTT subscriptions, such as the need for individual accounts and payment methods.

Integrated Billing Mechanisms

Integrated billing is a key feature of telco-OTT partnerships. It enables customers to pay for OTT services via their existing fixed or mobile connection bills. This approach simplifies the payment process significantly, circumventing common issues associated with traditional OTT services, such as credit card expiration or insufficient funds. By integrating the billing, customers enjoy a seamless experience, and OTT platforms benefit from reduced payment failures and increased customer retention.

Promotional and Exclusive Content Access

Finally, telco bundling often includes access to exclusive content and promotional deals, enhancing the value proposition for subscribers. These exclusive offers can range from early access to new shows and movies to special content packages tailored for the telco’s customer base. Such incentives not only attract new subscribers but also encourage loyalty among existing ones, as they feel they are getting added value from their telecom provider.

Disadvantages of Telco and OTT Bundling

1. Loss of Direct Customer Relationship

When OTT services are bundled with telco offerings, the direct engagement and communication are often handled by the telecom company. This arrangement can leave OTT providers with limited insights into their customer base, hindering their ability to engage in effective, targeted marketing and relationship-building strategies. Without direct customer feedback and interaction, OTT services may struggle to understand their audience's evolving preferences and needs, which is crucial for long-term customer retention and service improvement. In cases when customer service or technical support is required to assist the customer, there can be misunderstanding who is responsible for providing the service. 

2. Mismatch with Customer Needs

Often, bundles are designed with a 'one-size-fits-all' approach, which may not align with the diverse and specific content preferences of different user segments. This disconnect can lead to customer dissatisfaction, as they might end up paying for services or content that they do not need or want.

3. Pricing Concerns

Customers are becoming increasingly savvy in evaluating the cost-effectiveness of bundles versus purchasing services separately. If the price of the bundle is perceived as not offering significant savings or value compared to buying each component individually, customers may be reluctant to opt for the bundle. This reluctance can be especially pronounced if the bundled services include offerings that are not of interest to the customer, thus inflating the perceived cost without adding value.

4. Lower profitability

Another challenge with OTT bundling is the uncertainty around generating incremental profits. While bundling can potentially attract a larger user base, it does not always guarantee increased profitability. The costs associated with acquiring content, marketing the bundle, and maintaining the technology infrastructure can be substantial. If the revenue generated from the bundled services does not sufficiently exceed these costs, the profitability of the venture can be questionable.


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