Connected TV is the way forward
Published: 16.38 Europe/London, May 3, 2011 by Robert Briel

ANGA CABLE 2011 – COLOGNE. Connected TV is the way forward, we learned at the second round of the so-called ‘elephants session”, where cable’s heavyweights exchanged their views on the marriage between web and TV. It is also omnipresent at many of the show’s booths.

Speaking at the session, Wolfgang Elsäser, managing director Astra Deutschland, casually mentioned the launch of HD+ Interactive, a hybrid service to complement the satellite-delivered HD+ platform with on-demand content. No details are known about such a service, but it could be similar to what Eutelsat Kabelkiosk will be offering from the third quarter of the year. “Hybrid devices are the future, espcially for our infrastucture [satellite] it is enormous added value,” according to Elsäser.

Marc Schröder, CEO of RTL Interactive, said that the broadcaster wants “RTL everywhere” and the broadcaster’s strategy is to have its content from the free TV and pay-TV channels on as many platforms as possible, including mobile and online on RTL Now. The mass audience is still with regular broadcast, linear TV, but the world is changing, “we see mobile and online audiences growing.”

“We do not want third parties to make money with our content, with parties such as Google TV,” Schröder said. “This is what happened to print publishers. We certainly do not want a third party who makes the best of RTL or the best of ProSieben.” Another message he sent to cablers is that they should take care that their broadband product is not being used to distribute illegal content. “They have a professional infrastructure, and the platform owners have a responsibility, because illegal consumption is also growing.”

Public broadcaster ZDF is backing HbbTV in a big way. Carl-Eugen Eberle said: “In the future there will be reception of TV and access to web TV on a single device. We hope there will be one standard, that’s why we are protagonists of HbbTV. And we also do not want a separate playout for every method of distribution.”

Of course, the public broadcaster’s aim is to be available on all platforms, free of charge. HbbTV offers the opportunity to offer both VOD and additional information with programmes via the red button.