HBO content offers Ziggo chance to create OTT SVOD service

Tuesday 4 October 2016 | 12:03 CET | Market Commentary

The planned end to HBO Netherlands, which gives exclusive access to HBO content for the Dutch market to Ziggo, is an opportunity for the cable operator to launch its own over-the-top SVOD service to compete with Netflix and RTL-owned Videoland. The SVOD service could target customers of other TV operators, as they will no longer have access to HBO content from 1 January 2017. Ziggo also could set up a special HBO channel for existing Ziggo TV customers and include HBO content in the VOD library of its Horizon TV platform.

Ziggo already has a SVOD service called MyPrime, which is currently only available for Ziggo TV customers. The service costs EUR 6.95 a month and offers movies and TV series, with a focus on series from US TV studio ABC. For Ziggo customers with Connect&Play Complete or Max packages (triple- or dual-play), MyPrime is part of the package.

The current MyPrime offering plus HBO series could compete with Netflix and Videoland as an OTT SVOD service in the Netherlands. Ziggo could add sport content such as Formula 1 races or football matches from the Premier League (England) or La Liga (Spain). This would enable Ziggo to make money off its former TV customers that have chosen KPN, Tele2, Fiber Nederland or other providers for their TV services. At the same time, MyPrime OTT acts as defense against the possible entry of Amazon’s OTT video service in the Netherlands.

Whether a MyPrime OTT service becomes a reality depends on several factors:

  • MyPrime’s current movie and TV series rights. If these rights are limited to Ziggo’s TV customer base, additional negotiations and agreements will be needed to enable MyPrime to become an OTT service for the whole of the Netherlands.
  • The same situation is valid for HBO content rights and rights to show Formula 1 races and the foreign football matches.
  • The planned merger between Ziggo and Vodafone Netherlands could make launching new services within Ziggo a lower priority.

In short, exclusive HBO content, sport rights and an existing SVOD platform offer Ziggo the possibility to start thinking hard about launching its own OTT SVOD service. The competition is already there, as rivals KPN (Play) and T-Mobile (Knippr have entered the market, and Netflix has already grown to over a fifth of Dutch households. 

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