“Our newly launched Entertain via Satellite had a great start, with already 50,000 subscriptions sold in the first month, in September alone,” said Deutsche Telekom CEO René Obermann during an investor call last Friday. The operator also hinted it might bid for all Bundesliga rights.
The hybrid service offers German customers access to a combined DTH and IPTV service. “And I can tell you that this trend is still impacted – still goes up,” according to Obermann. “The trouble currently is we’re not having enough devices, but we’re still selling it very well.”
With almost 1.4 million DSL homes subscribing to the company’s Entertain IPTV services, Deutsche Telekom is by far the most successful TV platform over IP. Tim Höttges, CFO, said during the call: “Our IPTV and VDSL promotions and the introduction of Entertain via Satellite resulted in a sequential acceleration of IPTV take-up in Q3, with 74,000 additional connections, reaching 1.4 million Entertain connections in total. VDSL net adds also accelerated to 66,000 in Q3.
A major audience puller seems to be the Bundesliga football coverage, which now has 154,000 subscribers, or 11% of all Entertain homes. The operator won the love rights until the end of the 2012/13 season. “The official start of negotiations for the season 2013 – 2014 is scheduled basically now at autumn 2011,” according to Niek Jan van Damme, CEO, German Operations. “And the idea is to have the tender completed at the latest in May 2012. Content will be advertised for sale for all three distribution channels; that is for broadcast linear TV, IPTV, and web TV. And you will appreciate that I cannot comment on specific Deutsche Telekom plans we have, but I can assure you we will examine all alternatives, including Bundesliga content, because we want to offer these significant benefits to our Entertain customers, of course.”
At the moment, Deutsche Telekomn only owns the IPTV rights to the Bundesliga, with Sky D holding the “proper” pay-TV rights. This might change with Telekom bidding for all rights. “We unfortunately cannot sell yet the Bundesliga product via Entertain over Satellite because we simply didn’t buy the satellite rights at that point of time. For the near at Satellite, the new bid from LIGA will include all three channels, and it could be part of our strategy, as I said. We have all options open to include this in our portfolio as well. I’m sure our customers would definitely love it also in the additional 30% – 35% of the country we are now supplying with Entertain.”