Russia pay TV leader Tricolor TV plans to launch internet-connected TV services as well as making TV everywhere services available to subscribers on the go as well as those at home this year, according to CEO Alexei Kholodov.
In an interview with local title The Standard, Kholodov also said there was plenty of room for organic growth in pay TV in Russia, despite a leveling off of subscriber additions last year.
Kholodov said that about 4.5 million of the pay TV operator’s base currently has set-tops with an Ethernet port that can be connected to the web. He said that Tricolor was currently in the process of finalizing the functionality of its planned online app and would release it this year.
The company currently offers a push-video-on-demand service that was launched at the end of last year, whereby non-DVR set-tops are connected to a flash drive or external hard drive, which receives two films daily. The content expires after a week, giving subscribers a choice of 14 films at any one time.
Tricolor TV also provides an online movie VOD offering, launched last November, which Khodolov said could evolve to offer an SVOD offering as well as the current choice of transactional and advertising-supported VOD.
Kholodov said that Tricolor TV would extend the reach of its online TV services beyond the home this year. The company currently enables subscribers to view Tricolor content on smartphones and tablets over their home WiFi networks.
Addressing the overall prospects for pay TV, Kholodov said that Tricolor TV’s active base grew by 340,000 last year, slower than 2015 but still strong relative to the overall market, giving the operator a base of 8.5 million active subs.
The overall number included 1.5 million subs equipped with8 HEVC-capable boxes. Kholodov said that the operator would extend its Ultra HD offering – currently comprising three channels – later this year.
Kholodov also said he foresees tenfold growth in the number of subscrbers taking internet services from Tricolor. The operator launched a two-way satellite internet service in September last year using capacity on the Eutelsat 36C/Express-AMU1 satellite.