Overwhelming demand for Horizon

CTAM Eurosummit 2012. Dutch UPC customers have surprised the operator with an overwhelming demand for the new Horizon gateway.

Peter Dorr, managing director, strategic marketing, Liberty Global, said actual demand was 500% more than the company forecast with the actual problem being not so much the number of available set-tops, but rather installation capacity.

The original plan to have a full install service with qualified installers delivering every single Horizon box. Following the huge demand, UPC quickly launched a self install programme, where the customer simply swaps their old box for a new one. The box comes with an installation guarantee, so every new customer will have a properly connected and working box.

“And all this demand was simply coming from the articles in the press,” said Dorr, “At the moment we try to manage the number of incoming customers. The product is hidden on the website.”

Although hidden it may be, the web site attracted 100,000 unique viewers and three million page impressions during the first two weeks.

The operator has also started a dedicated service desk for product and a brand new tool for the help desk workers. Called Panorama it shows everything on the box and the service people can do everything on the box that the consumer can with its remote control.

“Assisted care that is taking away the hassle for the customer,” said Dorr. There are also a large number of short video tutorials online that help people to understand and use the over 100 new features of the box.

Dorr said Horizon offers UPC a “very nice window of opportunity” in the competition with DTT, IPTV and satellite. “Customers don’t just want more, they demand more. If you don’t deliver, they go elsewhere. Customers have become ‘subject matter experts’.

“They are looking for practical innovations, freedom of time and place, mobility. People don’t have tv sets anymore, they have many screens. They are also looking for ease of use, intuitive interface and personal relevance. And of course they want interconnectedness. Get rid of all those boxes and cables.”

UPC Nederland has said in a press release that 45,000 people have downloaded the Horizon app that offers 80 streaming channels. Every day tens of thousands of people are now watching live streaming TV on the iPad.