Following yesterday’s news that Swedish pay-TV operator Viaplay has ordered a shipment of new hybrid set-top boxes from French firm Netgem that will enable its customers to access premium programming via over-the-top top (OTT) deliver, we spoke to Netgem’s CMO Yann Courqueux about the significance of the deal.
What are the unique aspects of the Viaplay Box?
YC: Viaplay has become the first service provider in Scandinavia to launch a hybrid set top box combining linear free-to-air DTT broadcast channels via a built-in tuner with premium live streaming such as sports and on-demand unicast content.
Moreover, the standalone Viaplay Box is available to anyone with a broadband connection. The STB has been designed to be the most user-friendly way for consumers to access Viaplay’s advanced TV services on a TV. Viaplay customers can also watch the on-demand content free of charge on a range of other devices, all accessible through a single log-in.
The product is targeted towards young connected households that want to pick the best programmes and content and are not willing to pay a full and expensive subscription. Those families are typically currently streaming to their PCs and connecting the PC to the TV. The Viaplay box will simplify that.
How significant is this contract to Netgem?
This contract is extremely significant given that Viaplay is the first tier one operator in Europe to recognise Netgem’s long held belief that OTT streaming can be used as a mass delivery method for premium pay-TV content.
Is this a harbinger for OTT delivery of linear TV in other European countries?
Viaplay is looking to bring OTT to the mainstream with the launch of the Viaplay Box. Through this strategy it is seeking to develop its brand to generate additional subscription revenues. OTT allows the operator to reach those customers living in areas where they are unable or unwilling to receive pay-TV through a satellite dish.
This is a business model that offers great opportunity to operators across Europe and beyond. Netgem’s expertise in raising the quality of the OTT experience to a level comparable with the best traditional broadcast services will mark out Viaplay as a disruptive player in the pay-TV space and where it leads, others are sure to follow.