The annual Berlin-based conference organised by Dataxis and covering DACH and CEE countries goes from strength to strength.
While the first day of this year’s event was lacking in news stories, aside from the upcoming launch of a cable platform by the Russian B2B company totalvideo at some stage in 2019, there were many important insights, as well as facts and figures, provided by panellists. Aside from a stand-out session on satellite broadcasting, moderated featuring A1 Telekom Austria, M7 Group, Antik Telecom and Eutelsat, one of the most eye-catching was one on cable TV strategies featuring the CEOs of Volia (Ukraine) and Cgates (Lithuania), as well as the CTO of Inea (Poland).
Gyorgy Zsembery of Volia said that there are 7.8m broadband and around 5m pay-TV households in Ukraine. There is no DTH to speak of while close to 1m homes receive OTT services in a market that is structurally changing.
Meanwhile, Tomas Burovas of Cgates said that IPTV is the only sector in Lithuania that is growing, with DVB stable and satellite and all others declining. The country is also widely covered by FTTH. TV, in his view, is just a content hub and it is difficult to make a business case for Next Generation TV, which is still in development.
Furthermore, there are no exclusive sports rights in Lithuania, while Netflix, available as a standalone service, has a market share of less than 1%.
Burovas also said that Eurosport/Discovery are some of the most expensive channels yet feature between 50-60 among the most viewed. However, viewers have the perception they are watching them, which they are not.
Michal Bartowiak of Inea said that converged products are critical for the company. Furthermore, by the end of 2019 it will have 100% FTTH infrastructure.
In other sessions, we learned from Velcom that there are currently 170 cable operators in Belarus and that the telco, which is part of the A1 Group, sees differentiation as the key element of its content strategy.
In addition, OTT services aimed at diasporas are an increasingly lucrative business. Outside Russia and Ukraine, for instance, there are, according to Divan TV, 80 million people worldwide with roots in the two countries that can be targeted.