Luxembourg-based media company M7 Group evaluates new business opportunities for its newly acquired German B2B platform provider KabelKiosk which include offering the service to DTH satellite households.
Entering the German DTH market was an option being investigated, Kees Färber, business development director at M7 Group and managing director of M7 Deutschland, said at cable, satellite and broadband trade fair ANGA COM 2014 in Cologne where the acquisition of KabelKiosk was announced. It had to be kept in mind, however, that Eutelsat’s 9° East position used by KabelKiosk to feed cable head-ends was a new position in the German DTH market.
Färber didn’t specify how to overcome this hurdle, but technically it would be possible to receive both Eutelsat’s 9° East position and Astra’s 19.2° East position using a twin LNB on a single dish. Eutelsat’s 13° East Hot Bird position could be included as well. There was, however, no firm plan for a DTH proposition at this stage, stressed Färber. DTH also wasn’t in focus when it was decided to take over KabelKiosk, he added, with the focus having been on the existing business and the new growth opportunities in the areas of IPTV and OTT.
Another option looked into is launching a B2B platform for cable operators modelled on the German KabelKiosk in other markets M7 Group is present, said Färber. This approach was part of its business principle: The company’s assets which include CanalDigitaal in the Netherlands, TV Vlaanderen in Flanders, TéléSAT in French-speaking Belgium, AustriaSat in Austria, AustriaSat Magyarország in Hungary and CS Link and Skylink in the Czech and Slovak market are like modules M7 Group can use as a blueprint for other markets, explained Färber. Furthermore, he expects M7 Group to benefit from synergies between its different operations, for example in the areas of set-top-boxes and content acquisition.
Färber said that M7 Group has been keen on expanding into the German market, but didn’t want to build up a platform from scratch, thus, taking over an established venture like KabelKiosk was considered to be the better option. The KabelKiosk brand will be kept as it was “a strong brand”, affirmed Färber. M7 Group has acquired the whole Eutelsat visAvision company which operates KabelKiosk including all staff and will continue to run the business with the existing team from Cologne. The take-over also includes DTT operation Viseo+, confirmed Färber. Eutelsat visAvision acts as a platform provider for an encrypted DTT package in the cities of Stuttgart and Leipzig/Halle, but no decision has been made yet about the future of this operation.
Markus Fritz, director of commercial development and marketing at Eutelsat, explained that the decision to sell KabelKiosk does not mean that the Paris-based satellite operator would pull out of Germany. The company actually didn’t plan to sell KabelKiosk, but it emerged during discussions with M7 Group about other ventures that the ownership change would be beneficial for both sides, ending up as a win-win situation, said Fritz. The result: Eutelsat now has a partnership with KabelKiosk instead of having the operation in-house.
Eutelsat, stressed Fritz, will continue to do business with German companies in the satellite capacity and broadband internet business with clients including Media Broadcast, ARD, ZDF and now M7 Deutschland which has signed a long-term transponder rental contract for distribution of KabelKiosk to cable head-ends. Furthermore, six resellers market Eutelsat’s internet via satellite service Tooway to consumers and business clients in German-speaking Europe. Eutelsat’s Hot Bird position at 13° East serves over two million DTH households in Germany, said Fritz, with another 20 million homes reached through cable operators distributing channels from 13° East.
Martina Rutenbeck, managing director of Eutelsat visAvision, welcomed the acquisition by M7 Group and said that she was confident that KabelKiosk will benefit from the new owner’s experience as a platform operator. Rutenbeck stressed that the new IPTV platform launched at ANGA COM 2014 was a strategic move fully supported by M7 Group. The market would develop towards IPTV and OTT and offer KabelKiosk new growth opportunities.