OTTtv World Summit Q&A: Peter Fregelius, Swisscom

OTTtv World Summit speaker Peter Fregelius, head of competence team entertainment at Swisscom, talked to Digital TV Europe about his company’s entry into the OTT space. 

Why did Swisscom decide to make such an early move in the OTT space?

The reason that Swisscom made such an early move in the OTT space is the huge customer need in this area. The need to be able to watch live TV or on demand content wherever you are, at whatever time you want. Whenever Swisscom sees such a clear customer need we work as fast as possible to cover it with a new product, service and/or product feature. Our multiscreen TV offer Swisscom TV air is one example.

Should OTT services be offered as value-added service to customers, or can they be used to generate revenue in their own right?

We believe that OTT services can be offered in different ways, for example as a value-added service on existing products, as part of new offers or as a new service to generate revenue by itself. The decision between these possibilities depends on the service itself. Swisscom decided to offer its multiscreen TV offer as a value-added service for customers with a product bundle subscription but also sell the product as a separate service – and so is generating revenue with it.

Would you ever consider delivering all your video services over-the-top, ie without the need for a set-top box?

To deliver our Swisscom TV service directly to a TV screen is something that we are interested in but only when it’s possible to guarantee a high quality user experience to our customers.

What role should social media play in the development of OTT services?

This is a really good question and I’m not quiet sure if there is currently anybody who knows the ultimate answer. We know that social media is playing an active role within the recommendation area. You get recommendation from friends telling you what content they have liked or disliked. It’s the same as happens in any social interaction today. The question is how we can include it in our existing offers so that it gives value to the end customer without being too intrusive. Other possibilities like generating personal playlists and spreading them in social media forums must first be tested to see if there is a real customer need. But we are convinced that social media will play a much stronger role on smartphones and tablet devices than on the big screen at home. Smartphones and tablet devices are personal devices. The big screen in the living room is a shared device that isn’t optimal for social media services that tend to be very private. Even within a family.

How important is it to ensure a consistent experience across different devices? What are the main challenges that need to be overcome with this regard?

In our opinion it’s very important for the end user to have a homogenous user experience to find his way around the service across all devices as quickly and simply as possible. So it’s important that there are at least certain parts of our TV service accessible by any screen. We recently launched the possibility to watch your recordings from the STB at home via smartphones and tablet devices while you are on the go. The other way around, the possibility to programme a recording or to bookmark a video-on-demand on your smartphone while travelling and then watch it on the big screen in the living room when you are home again, gives the end user freedom and flexibility and generates value for them. To implement these kinds of services in a way that they are easy to use becomes quite complex IT projects. But as long as there is a value for our customers we will try to identify these use cases and to implement them.

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