There is huge interest in connected TV and HbbTV is finally up and running in Poland.
These were undoubtedly the two biggest messages that came out of this week’s mini-conference in Warsaw, organised jointly by Broadband TV News and Level 3. Taking the form of a panel discussion involving stakeholders from both the content and technology sectors, it covered a large amount of ground and ended on a distinctly upbeat note.
Albert Szybinski, product management director, ipla, began proceedings by making the surprise prediction that Netflix could come to Poland in the next year or two. While such a prospect is currently little more than rumour, with the next Netflix launch likely to take place in Germany in Q4 this year, the company is undoubtedly aware of the huge potential of the Polish market.
This was underlined by another panellist – Grzegorz Stanisz, senior product manager, Samsung Electronics – who said that there were 500,000 interactions for the TVN Player on demand service on Samsung sets in April alone. By way of comparison, BBC iPlayer had 720,000 interactions in the same month.
Stanisz also provided another interesting statistic, namely that between 65-67% of all TV apps in Poland are for local-only content. This, apparently, is much higher than in most other European countries, with the notable exception of France, where the figure stands at 90%.
While the on demand side of the business was well represented on the panel in the form of ipla (owned by Cyfrowy Polsat), TVN (whose interests include TVN Player) and iplex (which is not connected to any media group and operates a targeted advertising business model), so, too, was the content delivery sector. Level 3 already lists such services as ipla among its clients and is likely to find itself playing an increasingly important role as the Polish market develops.
Following a period of trials initiated by the company 4vod and involving the participation of TVP and TVN, HbbTV finally made its debut in Poland earlier this week with the launch of an app by the public broadcaster. Tomasz Berezowski, member of the board, CTO, TVN, made the point that HbbTV services will ultimately be available to only the 32% of viewers in Poland who currently receive terrestrial TV. At the same time, Albert Szybinski from ipla said that HbbTV apps will only start to realise their potential in two to three years time, with smart TV apps remaining the most popular until then.
These are still early days for HbbTV in Poland and Pawel Tutka, VP vod, told Broadband TV News that there would be a conference in Warsaw later this summer dedicated specifically to it and involving leading executives from Germany.