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The Digital TV CEE Q&A: Robert Berza, CME

Ahead of this month’s Digital TV CEE conference, we talk to Robert Berza, head of new media division, CME, about OTT in the region.

What are the main  characteristics of the market for broadband-delivered entertainment content in CEE and how does the region compare with Western Europe? One huge difference is the level of piracy: the way that the governments police copyright issues and how creative some of these illegal portals can be. In on of our markets, for example, there are projects that upload tons of illegal content, build premium accounts and even monetize via SMS payments, which means that they are being helped by the major telecom players. Unfortunately today we have less effective tools to use against them than we would like to have, but we are investing heavily in our efforts to change this matter. I cannot imagine it is so easy for the pirates in Germany or the UK.

What kind of OTT business models are most likely to succeed in CEE? I believe in a subscription ‘consume all you want, anywhere you want’ approach to video-on-demand. The speed of technological developments means that the devices that deliver this service will soon become a commodity, and that the technical reach of OTT’s will differ little from player to player. This means that content will again be king, and that success will favour those who have great locally relevant programming for viewers.

Who is best placed to benefit – pay TV platform operators or broadcasters – and why? Following on from my previous statement, I’d say that strong content producers are the best placed to benefit. In a world where exclusive content is the key driver for consumption it is obvious who has the advantage! In CME’s case, Voyo evolved almost naturally as part of our strategy: we operate a very competitive  content production company, Media Pro Entertainment, that delivers high quality fiction and reality & entertainment programming. It’s this local content that has helped us to become the undisputed audience share leader in all of the six markets in which we operate. If we produce content that drives large audiences on TV, building a new distribution channel at a point when the amount of time of time people spend online is growing makes perfect sense. We call this strategy ‘one content, multiple distribution’.

What are CME’s main goals for the Voyo service? Look, we know our aces: very successful local content, the best marketing tool in the form of our successful TV channels, and a well-established online portfolio. It’s a winning formula especially when you are also the one that is driving the market with a new service – in this case an attractive subscription package. With all of this in place, we aim to be the Netflix of the region.

What topics do you think will produce the most interesting debates at Digital TV CEE? I’m waiting to be surprised. But of course a Voyo case study would be a very hot topic J!

Digital TV CEE takes place at the Crown Plaza, Prague, from  June 26-28. Click here for details.

Tags: CME

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