Jeremy Kung, Executive Vice President of New Media at Telekom Malaysia (TM), on the role IPTV plays in attracting Malaysian consumers to the country’s new High-Speed Broadband Network, his plans to introduce TV Everywhere services, and the importance of sports programming to Malaysian viewers.
Jeremy will be speaking at the TV Connect Asia event taking place in Hong Kong on 9th-10th April 2013. For more information and to register, please visit http://asia.tvconnectevent.com
Firstly can you bring us up to speed on where HyppTV is now?
It has been most definitely an ‘entertaining’ journey.
Our content quest began with the launch of Malaysia’s first triple-play service ‘UniFi’ delivered on the country’s High-Speed Broadband (HSBB) network, with TM’s own IPTV service ‘HyppTV’ introduced as part of it.
The most attractive element for HyppTV in Malaysia is the ability of this product in fully maximising its interactive service, since it is directly connected to the Internet.
HyppTV is also able to provide services such as video-on-demand (VOD), multiplayer gaming, high-speed Internet access and free voice calls.
This is another key success for this project since TV experiences are no longer just about delivering a broadcast channel to customer, but also making their life easier.
As I mentioned, HyppTV is part of the UniFi triple play packages for consumers – UniFi residential packages – and we have also made it available on an optional basis for businesses under our UniFi BIZ packages.
We currently have a total of 114 channels – consisting of 17 free channels with eight radio channels, 46 premium channels – with 28 channels in high-definition, 23 VOD genres and 20 interactive channels.
This in itself is indicative of our commitment to building a portfolio of compelling content. In terms of content investment, we do so on the basis of getting the best content for the most reasonable price and terms.
Furthermore, with over two million fixed broadband customers comprising Streamyx and UniFi subscribers, TM now plays a very major role in pushing the growth story in this segment of the business.
This is very much in keeping with the stated ambition of the Malaysian government to increase the household penetration rate of broadband in the country in tandem with its economic development objectives.
As of the end of 2012, TM has now completed our obligations under the HSBB public-private partnership to roll-out 1.3 million premises passed.
Since 2008, we have been focused on both rolling out the HSBB network and launching and pushing UniFi, with tremendous success, with more than 35% take-up at currently more than 517,000 customers.
This shows that Malaysians have indeed taken to high-speed broadband and its benefits, which we see as very much in line with the growth of household broadband penetration, the digital lifestyle that Malaysians have come to adopt as a way of life, and the ability of UniFi to meet for these needs.
What have been the key factors in encouraging subscriber take-up to date?
We focused on a penetration strategy which was to bundle HyppTV as part of TM’s UniFi high speed broadband triple-play offering.
HyppTV offers a very focused value proposition such as: exceptional picture quality and high availability, in all weather conditions; flexibility, with channels priced on an “à la carte” basis; and convenience, such as the ability to watch what you want when you want.
HyppTV’s competitive edge against pay-TV operators and plans to attract more subscribers make TM “an aggregator of aggregators”, which is very much in line with what we do in HSBB – be an infrastructure provider to other service providers as well.
Eventually, our offerings will also go beyond the TV screen. And as per our HyppTV slogan, “Primetime, Anytime, Everytime”, we will also add ‘Everywhere’ to this tagline as we want to offer our services on other devices.
With IP-based technology, IPTV allows more rich content and applications to be broadcast via our platform, creating an Internet walled garden environment.
Such advantages gives opportunities to content providers (local and international) to leverage on our platform to promote their content via our IPTV service.
What benefits does the High-Speed Broadband (HSBB) network bring in terms of service delivery for HyppTV?
In Malaysia IPTV is relatively new but is growing. Awareness is also increasing since the technology does have a lot of benefits as compared to satellite; for example its transmission stability compared to satellite during bad weather.
With the aggressive take-up drive of HSBB, and indeed UniFi, in the next three to five years, we will definitely see IPTV playing a greater role in creating appeal through its quality content and unique features, thus fuelling demand.
HyppTV comes with a dedicated 8Mbps bandwidth with UniFi residential packages, and his means that UniFi users are able to experience the highest speed connection available in the market.
This will enable them to tap into many services such as online games, downloadable rich content, virtual interaction (video calls) and an enriched shopping experience (rich multimedia virtual shopping, real time merchant tips) through HyppTV service.
Another unique selling proposition of HyppTV is that it offers a wide degree of user interactivity, an à la carte offering where you only pay for what you watch, thus helping consumers to control their expenditure, ability to provide continuous programming even in the worst of weather, and an HD type viewing experience.
Further to this, we have created value for money package offerings such as the Platinum pack, where customers are able to view 30 premium channels for just RM 30 per month, which comes to just RM 1 per channel/month, and the latest being the Ruby Pack.
We are very encouraged by these two blockbuster package offerings and plan to offer more such flexible and exciting deals to meet the lifestyle needs of our customers in the very near time frame. So please keep a look out for these deals.
What enhancements do you have planned for HyppTV this year?
We are always on the look-out for new and exciting content to meet the discerning lifestyle needs of our UniFi customers.
There is a lot of content out there; however, we need to be careful that what we invest in is actually what Malaysians are looking out for.
Being a new entrant in the TV programming market, HyppTV is actually in a unique position of doing just that, understanding and giving customers just what they want to watch with our selection of exciting and compelling content through our VOD, premium and Interactive channels.
For an example of that, we know there is a big demand for sports entertainment. On that note, we have introduced sports channels that bring a wide selection of global sports programming to the living rooms of Malaysians.
Malaysians are now able, for the first time, to view four UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League matches live in HD simultaneously.