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German broadcaster says customers won’t pay for VoD

10 октября 2007

Customers of German terrestrial broadcaster RTL are unwilling to pay for video-on-demand content available at their convenience, the company stated.

Rather than pay to access RTL’s VoD service, designed to complement its current terrestrial broadcasts, customers prefer to view programming for free on terrestrial TV at the scheduled time, said Sushel Bijganath, managing director, RTL Online, during his keynote address at Broadband World Forum.

As such, Bijganath said in future the pricing plans for on-demand content will mimic those of terrestrial television.

On-demand content that is normally broadcast for free will also be offered for free, while paid on-demand content will cost the same as existing premium content.

Another challenge that RTL Online is facing with its video-on-demand service that it doesn’t face in the terrestrial sector is how to generate advertising revenues.

“We can serve 10 minutes of advertising in an hour of normal TV but people are not willing to do that on a VoD service,” said Bijganath.

“From a monetising point of view the business isn’t that big at the moment,” he commented.

Coming from the content, rather than the network provider side of the industry, RTL’s push into next generation TV services has seen it launch more complimentary services, including interactive digital TV, and a YouTube clone called Clipfish, in order to spread the reach of its programmes.

“We need to make our content available in any form…and we have to do this on any device,” said Bijganath.

As such, the challenges of broadband are quite relevant to RTL Online, said Bijganath.

Launched for the German market in June 2006, Clipfish now has over 2 million registered users, and is one of the top 25 Web sites visited in the country.

Yet, unlike with its VoD service, RTL Online is less concerned about taking viewers away from its terrestrial service.

“Are people shifting away to the Internet from television? No, we haven’t seen the numbers in the U.S. or Germany,” said Bijganath.

He did say, however, that they have observed rising numbers of young people preferring the Internet over television, and, while he was hesitant to make any rash predictions, Bijganath said it would interesting to see what kind of viewing habits those children take with them into adulthood, and pass on to their children.

Источник: Total Telecom

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