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SES to develop platform services ‘closer to consumer’ for VOD and UHD

Wilfried Urner, who leads SES’s Media Platforms arm, told attendees at SES’s media event in Amsterdam that the company has big plans to develop the consumer-facing side of its business.

SES’s main platform activity currently is HD+ in Germany. The company developed an ecosystem and business model for its customers, which now has over two million customers. SES collects payments and distributes the takings to broadcasters. SES has recently partnered with Discovery and its Eurosport Player. SES was able to offer the channel on HD+.

SES has developed a VOD platform that could be added to HD+. The company has developed the technology with partners and could also provide VOD “to underserved “or unserved regions” of the world, he said. One of the main selling points is a fast download of the initial library via satellite to hard-drive boxes or boxes with a USB-attached recording capability. The other main feature is the ability rapidly to refresh of the VOD library.

The library refresh comprises 10Mbps daily, meaning three movies and six catch-up titles can be delivered each day during a 60 minute update. Another option for a higher price provides a download of 25Mbps, while a 50Mpbs premium service refreshes 18 movies and 30 catchup titles daily. Urner said the system was “highly flexible”.

SES Platform Services has also developed its own OVP targeting mid-sized and smaller broadcasters. SES has now added analytics, which is a key requirement for broadcaster customers. One recent feature is a client control function allowing operators to change the UI quickly.

Urner said that UHD TV growth is now outpacing worldwide channel growth. “Based on this we developed in the US the first UHD distribution solution for cable operators,” he said. The operator has 10 UHD channels in its fleet over the US. SES offers a bouquet of UHD channels to operators on this basis along with professional receivers from Harmonic.

The company plans to offer a more complete UHD platform that could be more consumer-facing. Umer said is still under discussion whether to offer this as a B2B platform or a B2B2C offering.

The company currently has 30 distribution partners including three pay TV operators that have launched a UHD package already.

Urner said SES could accelerate the process as it has done with HD+ so that the consumer pays more for UHD content.