MOTOROLA VIDEO LEADERSHIP CONFERENCE – Stockholm. Swedish IPTV provider Telia is challenging studios to shorten the window for theatrical movies. “We are ready to experiment,” said Kent Johnsson, VP consumer marketing at Telia.
Until now, the studios have been unwilling to bring the date forward when new movies can be shown on the operator’s VOD platform. “We think customers are willing to pay for the privilege.” Research among Telia customers has shown that people are willing to pay a lot more to see movie in their living room at a date closer to the premiere.
Arguing that studios spent lots of money promoting theatrical releases of their products, they need to start all over again when titles are released on other platforms.
“We have sent different proposals to the studios. Such as pricing at three times the cinema ticket price, at least 50 kilometres away from a cinema and we even suggested just addressing those families that have infants – we know our customers, so we can decide who sees what. The answer from the studios remained ‘no’, but we will keep on pushing.”
According to Johnsson, Telia achieved success in the Swedish digital TV market by using unconventional methods. The operator started giving away their TV product for free during the first year of operation, in 2007. “At the end of the year we had 300,000 non-paying customers”.
The challenge then was to convert those into paying viewers, in the process they lost around a third of all the homes, “but now we are at 530,000 paying households.” The fast growth was achieved by investing in interactive services, including catch-up TV and VOD. Telia digital TV has currently 6,000 “play” titles available and around 3,500 movies.
A very successful feature is the service, where people can go back to the beginning of a programme when they come late to the show when zapping channels.
At the moment, the Swedish TV market is divided as follows: analogue cable TV 33%, digital cable TV 21%, IPTV 6%, satellite pay-TV 16%, free satellite TV 1% and DTT 22%.
The total number of Telia digital TV customers is 530,00 in Sweden, 11,000 in Norway, 11,000 in Denmark, 368,000 in Finland, 150,000 in Estland, 226,000 in Latvia and 146,000 in Lithuania, bringing the total to 1.444 million.