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Interview: Vojko Rovere, CEO of Baltcom

Vojko Rovere

Baltcom CEO, Vojko Rovere

Vojko Rovere joined Baltcom from his own consulting company, Rovere Ltd, which he founded in 2009. The company’s key project was Targo Telekom, an alternative telecommunications provider in Serbia, developed on a proprietary state-of-the-art optical fibre network, connecting Serbia to regional telecom pathways. Vojko Rovere was responsible for developing the areas of corporate strategy, investor relations, strategic finance and budgeting. The Targo Telecom project was the largest infrastructure investment in Serbia in 2010.

Since 2012 he has been the CEO of Baltcom, the largest alternative telecommunications operator in Latvia. In 2013 he led the takeover of a key competitor and managed the introduction of strategic new products and services (IPTV, OTT, electricity trading).

What are the main challenges and opportunities facing pay TV operators in the CEE region?

CEE markets, from the offer and technology side, are very advanced but far behind on the pricing for such offers. Price sensitivity and high expectations of the advanced services market pose a future threat to the ability of operators to follow market demand. The other main threat would be tremendous competition and lack of regulation to control illegal TV and IP providers (as satellite television) and illegal connection to cable TV.

How challenging is the regulatory and competitive environment in the region and do you see signs of it improving?

The main challenges in the region are the privileged position of state-owned incumbents and the shortage of legal and regulatory support to institute a fair, competitive environment. To improve this, it is necessary to establish more efficient, cross-border actions against illegal TV providers. For example, an EU-wide telecommunications policy for illegal TV providers should be put in place to penalise those behind such initiatives. What is more, such regulations  must be executed, not just stated in the law.

What should pay TV operators focus on in order of importance to retain the loyalty of their subscribers – developing advanced services, improving customer care, improving their content offerings etc – and why?

Customer care is becoming the most important part of company operations. Intensive communication with the customers and necessary respect for their needs as well measuring adequacy of the offer is the key for customer satisfaction. Flexibility and up-to date services are self-explanatory. Fast and simple is [our] main motto of the future. New advanced services need to be presented adequately, illustrating why customers need them. We don’t want to scare customers with unnecessarily complex applications. These are the fundamental reasons why companies need to communicate with the customers intensively.

How important are advanced services – VoD, DVR, multiscreen and multi room second screen interaction – to subscribers in the region and how do you see these developing?

It is important to recognise two main parts of the market. There is the very demanding advanced side, with high expectations on up to date technology solutions offering freedom and flexibility. On the other side, there are the more conservative classical consumers with engrained habits. They need to overcome their fear of demanding new technology and [gain] an understanding of advanced services.

Vojko Rovere will be speaking on Day 1 of Digital TV CEE on the 25th June. To register click here.

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