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Interview Jure Zlak

Who are you? Which regions are you covering?

My name is Jure Žlak, and I am the Sales Director covering the Middle East and Africa and the Asia Pacific regions.

What are the industry specifics in MEA and APAC?

It’s hard to answer this question because the area I cover is so vast and different. Certainly, diverse cultures, numerous languages, religions, and geopolitics all potentially affect the industry and influence how we address the customers. So, I would not go into naming the specifics. In my role, I have to keep in mind those differences and consider how that affects the end subscribers’ behaviors. When we prepare solutions for customers, we need to consider that and make differentiated and customized designs.

Jure Žlak Interview 2021

How 2021 will evolve in the industry?

I think it won’t evolve much differently than 2020. Realizing the importance of OTT and doing everything remotely hit us hard in 2020. 2021 is just going to be a continuation to 2020. The ability to do remote work is going to be the key. On the end-user side, I think for the telcos and our customers directly, it will become vital to focus more on OTT as a strategy, and there will be a lot of migration from IPTV to OTT. Since the old way of doing business doesn’t work well anymore, telcos need to develop more robust business cases. I think the companies will need to reevaluate and reassess how they acquire new subscribers. The key to success will be optimizing the customer acquisition process and utilizing targeted advertisements. 

What will be TV subscribers' growth points in 2021 for operators in MEA and APAC? What kind of role the Beenius' products can play in that?

It is going to be two things, the acquisition process, and targeted advertisement. The same rules apply when doing B2B business or B2C business. If the price is similar and if the solutions are of equal quality, the customer will decide on the solution/subscription which is easiest to sign up for. Operators will need to optimize the acquisition process to see the growth points. The second thing which will play a significant role is how to maximize profit on the operator’s side while at the same time lowering subscription prices. The answer to that is targeted ad-supported service. 

Beenius platform is integrated with vital third-party technologies, which enable the operator to offer an effortless way of subscribing to the service. Beenius also provides a fully-featured advertisement platform and an ad decision server that allows the operator to offer a fully ad-supported service. Advertisement is possible through server-side ad insertion or client-side ad insertion.

What is the development dilemma of operators in MEA and APAC in 2021? How could Beenius help them with the products?

I see that the primary pain in the regions is the lack of flexibility. Our competitors, or at least the existing middleware providers currently on the market, are not flexible enough. They cannot sufficiently adapt to the market requirements. In some cases, it is too expensive for the operators to change or add additional functionalities that are essentially needed to seize the market’s forefront. In the meantime, the content providers are not segmenting their regions, which forces service providers to raise premium content prices. And that is not in line with subscribers’ level of consumption in low-income areas. 

The second thing I see, which is an even bigger dilemma of operators, is that there is no more differentiation between the platforms. There is no one feature that one platform has, and the other doesn’t. We are all the same, and none of the functionalities are crucial to the operator’s success. The key to operator’s success is in changing the business case. 

Operators need to start talking to technology vendors about utilizing their technology and their experience in different markets to increase the operator’s return on investment and lower costs.

How did Covid –19 affect the industry?

I’d say 80% of companies have lost a substantial amount of planned income during this period because there were no additional investments. However, there was also a massive surge of demand from the end customer market. There were many more new subscribers, a lot more network traffic, and pressure on the infrastructure. On one side, operators were afraid to invest in the infrastructure, upgrades, and new technology because it was unclear what the market will bring with Covid in the long run. And on the other side, more and more new subscribers demanded the same quality content, the same quality of service during their time in lockdown. 

It was a perfect catch 22.  

Are you bringing something new to the market in 2021?

2020 has been a year of significant investment for Beenius. We have rolled out an entirely new client application line with a long list of new added-value features. We enhanced our backend and are now offering it as a managed solution hosted in the AWS cloud. And we have got a local presence in Singapore from where we can support our APAC customers in real-time. 

Anything you would add to share?

Beenius will be focusing a lot on the Asia Pacific market in 2021. Many upcoming functionalities and pricing will target getting new business and new customers in the region. We are also planning a few pleasant surprises and partnerships that will add value to the end products and the new Asia Pacific customers. 

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