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Blizoo faces challenges of filesharing and churn

Some 60% of the international traffic on Bulgarian cable operator Blizoo’s internet platform takes the form of peer-to-peer filesharing, with uploads accounting for a greater proportion of the total than downloads, according to the company’s CEO Istvan Polony.

Speaking on a panel session at Informa’s Digital TV Central and Eastern Europe conference in Budapest yesterday, Polony said that “Torrent is the CEE way of doing OTT”. He said that the company effectively had to buy international capacity to service file-sharing.

Earlier, Polony delivered a keynote at the conference in which he described churn as his “enemy number one”. Churn was a problem in the Bulgarian market for a number of reasons, including “irrational competition” from a large number of small low-cost players, cross-subsidising of pay TV services by major telco players Vivacom and M-Tel and a hold on exclusive international football content by DTH rival Bulsatcom, he said.

Polony said that Blizoo, whose network passes about 50% of Bulgarian TV homes, as well as a smaller number in neighbouring Macedonia, was combating the problem through a range of measures. These included improvements in Quality of Service on the network, improvements in customer care, improving the shops via which most customers pay for subscriptions in cash on a monthly basis, and incentivisation of management based on churn reduction. He said that the company had set a target of achieving “low double-digit churn” by 2015.

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