Russian service provider Akado aims to deliver growth from expansion into regional markets and through delivering greater personalisation of its service, Alexander Kosarev, the company’s deputy head of network operations and development, told attendees at Informa’s Digital TV CEE conference this morning.
Akado provides cable TV and internet in Belarus as well as TV and broadband in St Petersburg, Ekaterinburg and Moscow. Kosarev said that there was relatively low interest in new technologies including HD and 3D TV in Russia. Most TV viewing time was spent watching the most highly rated channels. Pay TV was therefore challenging to develop, he said.
Kosarev said there was growing interest in Smart TV in the big cities, with about 600,000 Smart TV sets being sold each month. About 80% of consumers with Smart TVs use them to connect to services. Kosarev said this provided an opportunity to deliver personalised services.
Kosarev said pay TV in Russia now reaches 38.1 million subcribers across the country generating revenues of RUB24.3billion (€590 million). However, Kosarev said most growth in pay TV for Akado was coming from attracting subscribers from rival providers. He said that Akado and other operators were also trying to provide services in bundled packages as well as developing infrastructure in the regions. Akado is planning to rollout HD, DOCSIS 3.0 and new set-tops.
He said Smart TV is not a competitor to Akado’s service currently. Akado had close contact with TV manufacturers and had introduced CI Plus last year. It is also working on deploying its services via Smart TVs, said Kosarev. “We have a big library of legal TV content and Akado wants to work only legally,” he said. He said that Smart TVs could help Akado deliver services to customers.
Kosarev said there was a strong prospect of increasing penetration, especially in the regions. Triple-play and double-play services are most common in large cities.
Akado provides 41 channels of analogue TV, 202 SD digital channels, 17 HD channels and 14 PPV channels. The company has a 54% share of the Moscow pay TV market and is the number five cable operator in Russia.