April VOD launch for cautious Canal Digital

November 16, 2009

EXCLUSIVE: Canal Digital will next April launch a video on demand service for its satellite subscribers in the Nordic region, cable will follow before the beginning of June, Telenor Broadcast Holding CEO Christian Albech . The new service will take advantage of new set-top boxes, a tender for which is currently underway.

It is a cautious launch for VOD services, the Telenor-owned operator having lost half a billion Kronar on the Zonavi interactive platform at the turn of the century. ďI know that a lot of people are talking about video on demand, but ask them how much money they actually get out of that because itís so difficult. Most of the movies are very old and very limited,Ē said Albech.

Already rival DTH platform Viasat is building up its on demand offer, both online and through its pioneering Progressive Download system that runs on NDS technology. ďOf course itís important to be there, but we donít necessarily have to be the first or number one in that area. But of course we realise that we have to have VOD and we canít avoid it.Ē

Albech likens the distribution of movies to that of book clubs: ďIn Norway we see 350 new titles every year, but only five of them, six or seven maybe, can be called a bestseller. To me it seems as if people are being uncritical, itís just about new services and new products, but you need a market to pay for it.Ē