Long reads

The Euro50 Q&A: Bartek Gudowski, Viasat Satellite Services

Bartek Gudowski, as CEO of Viasat Satellite Services, part of Modern Times Group, has overseen a number of important developments over the course of this year, including the launch of 3D on the Viasat platform.

Age 32

Education MSc Electrical Engineering at the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) in Stockholm

Previous positions COO of Viasat Satellite Services; project manager at Viasat Satellite Services; Nobel Foundation; EDS Switzerland; Ericsson Medialab; Framfab; founder of a couple of internet start-up companies.

Last year’s highlights There have been two major highlights of the last year – firstly, we launched the Viaplay OTT service on Smart TV sets, set-top boxes, smartphones and tablets.  This provides a completely new way of reaching out to new subscribers outside our DTH satellite footprint. Secondly, we were the first broadcaster to launch 3DTV in the Nordics and this included everything from live 3DTV sport productions, a dedicated 3DTV channel launch and a 3DTV video-on-demand service.

Most significant industry development The whole industry has made dramatic progress with several technologies over the past year including OTT, VOD, linear TV and 3DTV. Traditional distribution monopolies are being fundamentally challenged and the industry is facing a proliferation of OTT services on multiple consumer electronic devices.

Goals for next year Search, discovery and recommendation services are obvious extensions to our existing services. User interfaces will also become faster and smoother, which will enable us to engage viewers at the next level. The interaction between consumer electronic devices will also be extended to make it possible for users to experience a single service on multiple devices.

Industry challenges and opportunities Well, one of the challenges will no doubt be to understand the trend and opportunity to further develop OTT propositions. I am absolutely certain that you can make good money in this new environment, providing that you execute in the right way. We will probably also see consolidation between different OTT related services, and it will be a challenge to maintain and enable OTT services on the next wave of revolutionary new consumer electronic devices, all of which will be internet connected.

Alternative career choice I would be an internet entrepreneur somewhere else in the media sector.

TV character most identified with Definitely Inspector Gadget! I recognize myself in his curious and goal-focused mind, as well as in his inability to leave a case unsolved and yes…OK…a little bit in his geekiness!

Most admired personality I admire entrepreneurial and brave people who dare to pursue their ideas and stick to what they believe in. One example is Dennis Tito, who is most famous for being the first space tourist. He took his professional experience in quantitative analytics at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and applied it to designing mathematical tools that analyse market risk. He founded Wilshire Associates, which today serves international customers with US$12.5 trillion of assets.

Life outside work I film documentaries about the most beautiful places on Earth. This includes cave diving, as well as aerial and landscape photography. For me, this is the ultimate way of exploring and experiencing this amazing planet, and then attempting to portray my emotions in an art form.

Tags: MTG, Sweden

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