Dutch cabler Ziggo, the country’s largest operator, has clinched a deal with the premium pay-TV provider HBO to launch a branded S-VOD service. Starting later this year, Ziggo will offer HBO on Demand, featuring a selection of HBO mini series.
The operator already offers its subscribers a number of VOD services under the TV-theek umbrella. This includes Warner TV on Demand as well as branded catch-up services from the public broadcasters and private channels RTL and SBS. Access to services is included in a monthly S-VOD subscription of €9.95 a month, payable on top of the basic analogue and digital subscription fee of €16.45.
For the moment, HBO on Demand will only feature mini series including The Sopranos, Rome, Band of Brothers, The Pacific, True Blood, The Encounter and many others. All series will only become available after the free-to-air broadcast rights have run out; the SBS channels and Fox Life broadcast many of the HBO series in The Netherlands.
The service is envisaged to appeal to people who otherwise would buy boxed DVD sets of their favourite series.
At the moment, more than half of Ziggo’s 3.2 million television homes take digital television; but most of these customers only have a zapper box. The interactive services were launched in April 2009 and the operator does not disclose how many iDTV customers it has. We estimate the number of interactive STBs to be in the tens of thousands of homes.
According to Ziggo CTO Paul Hendriks, the cabler is looking into possibilities of using the CI Plus CAM to make interactive and on Demand services possible. This would dramatically increase the number of devices that can access these services.