UK hybrid TV service BT Vision is adding the National Geographic Channel and Nat Geo Wild to its line-up.The channels, which air documentary series, including Air Crash Investigation, Seconds from Disaster, Bloody Tales from the Tower and The Dog Whisperer with Cesar Millan, will launch later this year. They will join BT Vision’s other linear channels, UKTV’s Watch, Gold and Alibi and the FX channel. BT Vision already offers National Geographic content via its on-demand platform.Jason Thorp, executive vice-president content Europe and managing director UK Africa Fox International Channels UK, said, “We are thrilled to extend our relationship with BT Vision from a purely on-demand offering. Having both National Geographic Channel and Nat Geo Wild available in a linear capacity will enable BT to benefit from our series launches, events and big marketing pushes which will deliver a greater volume of viewers to on demand content and the wider BT Vision service.”
Almost 85% of UK households will have signed up for a multiplay service – taking at least two media and telecom services from the same provider – by 2019, according to research by CCS Insight.This year, over 12 million UK households will take a bundle of three services from the same provider while a further 1.5 million will take four services from a single provider by the end of the year.CCS Insight expects the number of households purchasing bundles of four services to double in 2016, and to grow steadily in the near future, helped by consolidation of the telecom market, such as BT’s proposed acquisition of EE.Uptake of multiplay offerings is being driven by value, convenience and fewer bills as well as promotional activities, the rollout of new services, the emergence of new providers and a proliferation of no-contract options like Now TV, according to the research group.CCS Insight says that adoption of fibre broadband will also help OTT services, which will pose a serious threat to telecom operators’ ambitions in video.“Over 40% of UK households currently do not subscribe to pay TV services: this is a huge opportunity. BT has shown the way with the success of BT Sport. It’s now using its sport channels to drive up subscriptions to BT TV among its existing customers. It’s also targeting Sky TV customers who enjoy watching sports, while others like Virgin Media are positioning themselves as aggregators,” said Paolo Pescatore, director of multiplay and media at CCS Insight.“We will see similar battles in other types of programming beyond sport, fuelling further competition. We believe programmes, especially exclusive material, will be a key weapon in providers’ quest to secure customers. Those that offer a vast array of programmes will be better placed to succeed.”
Samsung has partnered with Rakuten-owned VOD service, Wuaki, to expand its TV Plus service in Europe and sell new release Ultra HD movies.The deal, which was announced at MIPTV in Cannes, will see Samsung and Wuaki team up to sell 4K, High Dynamic Range, film titles through Samung’s smart TV VOD service TV Plus. Wuaki will help to power the IP-based offering.TV Plus, which launched in Germany in January, will be rolled out to four more European countries – France, Italy, Spain, and the UK – and content will be tailored to customers in each region.“Through TV Plus, Rakuten and Samsung have been able to come together to offer consumers a wide variety of content options from an assortment of different genres and interests,” said Jacinto Roca, chief executive officer of Rakuten Wuaki.“Rakuten is excited to grow our partnership with Samsung as we continue to look for new, innovative ways for users to consume the content they desire.”Samsung Electronics’ vice-president of connective TV services, Heeman Lee, said: “We’re proud to partner with Rakuten Wuaki to expand availability of TV Plus in Europe, offering the fastest way to discover the latest 4K HDR movies and entertainment on Samsung QLED TVs.”
Proximus’s TV offeringBelgian telco Proximus added 17,000 TV customers in the second quarter to take its total to 1.533 million, up 5.2% year-on-year.Proximus added 15,000 fixed internet customers in the same period, taking its total to 1.959 million.Over the last year, the Proximus and low-cost Scarlet brands have increased their TV base by 75,000.TV revenue was up 8.8% to €96 million, compared with a 1.2% rise in fixed broadband revenue to €216 million. TV ARPU was up 3.3% to €20.80 thanks to the more extensive content offering of the Tuttimus and Familus offerings. Overall Belgian consumer revenue was up 1.7% to €727 million.Triple and quad-play homes and businesses totalled 1.41 million at the end of the quarter, 20,000 more than the preceding quarter and 5.6% up year-on-year. Triple and quad-play customers now represent 47.7% of the total base.The quarter saw the introduction of Netflix to Proximus’s high-end Tuttimus offering. The Tuttimus and Bizz All-on offerings had 255,000 customers at the end of the quarter.Underlying revenues were €1.417 billion for the quarter, down 2.9%. Underlying EBITDA was up by 0.4% to €464 million.CEO Dominique Leroy said the group would “maintain our focus on improving customer experience, through a comprehensive entertainment offer strengthened by the renewal of the Jupiler Pro League football rights and Netflix now available as TV option in Tuttimus” going forward.