German MVNO Freenet sets out TV ambition with Media Broadcast, Exaring acquisitions

Christoph Vilanek

Christoph Vilanek

German mobile service provider Freenet has made a significant investment in its media delivery capability by acquiring 100% control of digital-terrestrial network operator and media services provider Media Broadcast and 25% of Munich-based fibre-based media delivery platform Exaring for €295 million.

DVB-T deliver specialist Media Broadcast is currently preparing for the rollout of DVB-T2 services, set to begin in the second quarter. Freenet CEO Christoph Vilanek said the acquisition of Media Broadcast would help position the company for the introduction of subscription-based TV services.

Vilanek said that the investment in Exaring would enable the company to deliver advanced entertainment services, including UHD services, over Exaring’s fibre network which reaches 23 million German homes.

He said that the distribution of video entertainment services was moving away from set-top boxes and DVRs to the cloud, with delivery on multiple devices via apps.

Freenet claims that the deals mean that from the third quarter, the company will be the only distributor of full HD and 4K content on both fixed and mobile devices.

“The Media Broadcast group already runs a profitable B2B business via the fees of the broadcasters. By introducing paid access television services with an excellent picture quality, Freenet AG is going to use its substantial trading experience to build up the new private-customer business,” said Vilanek.

Vilanek said that the two acquisitions would enable the company to develop new revenue streams.

“The acquisition of a stake in Exaring AG and the associated marketing rights are a quantum leap for us on the way to becoming the leading digital lifestyle provider in Germany. The IP platform combines all conventional, new and future television entertainment services on an infrastructure unrivalled in Germany and at unrivalled low prices.”

Freenet grew its customer base in Geramny by 376,000 in the course of last year to end with 9.3 million customers. Group reveue grew by 2.5% to €3.118 billion, while EBITDA was up 1.3% to €284.5 million.