EXCLUSIVE: Bobbles.tv, the German provider of foreign TV channels for expats in Europe, will launch several new subscription TV packages this year.
The first two new bouquets will target people from the Middle East and the Philippines, Arnold C. Kulbatzki, CEO of operating company Bubbles Media, told Broadband TV News. The third one is compiled for expats from another Asian country, but he didn’t go into further detail as negotiations with the parties involved were still underway.
The pan-European platform targets the around 15 million expats in Europe. Six packages are currently offered for people from China, Indonesia, Korea, Pakistan, Vietnam and, the latest addition, India.
The industry has been following the development of bobbles.tv with great interest since its launch in August 2016 as it is the first new digital TV platform operator combining DTH satellite with OTT delivery.
This approach has been chosen as “it combines the best of both worlds”, explained Kulbatzki. Satellite offers reliable, high-quality, universal coverage reaching areas with no or insufficient broadband penetration while OTT provides the multiscreen, mobile and catch-up capabilities considered to be standard features by today’s consumers.
When signing up for a subscription, viewers can decide whether they want just the DTH service (with an included set-top-box) or the OTT service or a combination of both with the latter option providing most channels as some are DTH or OTT-only.
For testing the subscription service, most people opt for OTT, said Kulbatzki. But when the free trial expires, DTH and OTT are equally chosen.
Using the slogan “Feeling at home is so simple,” bobbles.tv is marketing its product in ethnic communities both through offline advertising and on social media. The focus is on people above 35 years of age and their families. “Feedback has been great,” said Kulbatzki, but he didn’t specify subscriber numbers.
Piracy poses a threat in this market niche, Kulbatzki observes, as many people use illegal streaming services to receive TV channels from their home countries. But he is confident that its “aggressive pricing” and the fact that “people enjoy the convenience of a legal, quality service” will make bobbles.tv a success. “Netflix has shown that this strategy works.”