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Nordic OTT rivalry is fiercest in the world


Published: 31 August, 2012


We covered a piece in this week's Faultline which began life talking purely about the new Netgem win at YouSee TV owned by TDC in Denmark. Netgem has all that experience of developing complex software stacks for French ISPs (SFR) which require full triple play and advanced TV services. But it is hard to talk about one deal, which will lead to an OTT service, and not talk about the entire mass of competing factions going after OTT in the Nordics, a home for about 25 million high net worth European citizens.

The TDC deal follows Netgem's earlier win with Viaplay, owned by Swedish media company MTG (Modern Times Group), which became one of Europe's first operators to provide a full hybrid service combining digital terrestrial with OTT, the first pay TV operator to combine adaptive bitrate streaming technology with free-to-air digital terrestrial transmission in a single channel list with seamless channel change.

The Netgem device will facilitate things like Follow me so that subscribers can start watching on a mobile and resume on the TV, being able to use smart phones as remotes and use Network Attached Storage for content and UPnP Rendering, which means being able to set volume and picture levels among other things, centrally for every connected device.

The reason the platform has to be so advanced is due to the other platforms in the region. These include Netflix and HBO, which is launching a multi-platform video distribution service as a joint venture with Parsifal International, while Netflix is planning a launch across all four Nordic countries, Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland. Amazon's rival to Netflix, LoveFiLM is already there.

But that's not all. There are OTT start-ups, other telcos like Telenor, and broadcasters charging for catch up services. Swedish VoD player Voddler already has 1 million VoD customers offering content from all the Hollywood majors, and pioneering a new ad driven version of its service; Telenor, operating as Canal Digital, is another major pan-Nordic OTT player is whose comoYo service launched in 2011 and Norway is dominated TV2 Sumo, run by the country's largest Free To Air commercial operator TV2, which already has 90,000 paying subscribers.

We're not sure there are any more customers to win in this region, but failure to have a viable OTT offering means certain death.

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