Canal Plus Cyfrowy favours content over multi-play

Polish DTH operator Canal Plus Cyfrowy has reiterated that it has no intention of launching triple-play services. CEO Bertrand Le Guern told delegates at Informa Telecoms & Media’s Digital TV Central and Eastern Europe conference in Krakow that the operator would rather focus on providing premium services than launching multi-play packages. 

“We have no intention of going into double, triple or quad-play services,” he said. “We’re going to focus on providing the best possible premium content to our customers.” Poland has a very competitive pay-TV market, with three pay-TV DTH operators, a fourth pre-pay service and a free-to-air DTH proposition.

Le Guern said Canal Plus had a stable ARPU and was focussing on increasing its customer base. 
The operator, which has approximately 1.4 million subscribers, launched a VOD service at the end of last year and Le Guern said it was proving popular. “VOD fits with our strategy of increasing the level of choice we give our customers,” he told delegates. He said that rather than offering a large catalogue of titles and “expecting customer to search through it all to find what they want”, the operator is offering a choice of 30-40 new titles each month. He also said HD would help the operator to compete with rival operators: “In Europe, Poland has the largest number of HD channels outside the UK. We offer a range of channels which will help us to maintain high levels of ARPU in the future.” 

During the same event, Maciej Sojka, CEO of rival DTH platform ‘n’ agreed that VOD was going to be important for pay-TV customers. “VOD will almost do for TV what the internet did for newspapers,” he said. “I’m not saying scheduled TV viewing will end, but there are lots of people that want to decide what to watch when they want to watch it.”

Sojka also said that the company was working to ensure that its content is available on as many devices as possible: “We need to create a distribution platform to deliver content to any device. We’ve been working on this.” He said the biggest challenge would be persuading international content owners to allow such wide distribution for their titles but added that the operator would “be ready when they agree to it.”

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