Medientage 2013: TV takes new paths

Jörn Krieger | 18-10-2013

Distribution methods may multiply, but what still really counts is exciting content. That was the consensus at Europe's largest media conference Medientage München which this year focused on 'Mobile Life: A challenge for media, advertising and society'.

In addition to rising mobile media consumption through smartphones and tablets, over-the-top (OTT) services are playing an increasing role in the sector. One example is the multithek of transmitter network operator Media Broadcast which connects television and the Internet. While conventional TV channels enter the living room via DTT, interactive services like the catch-up portals of ARD and ZDF, online TV channels and live streams of TV channels targeting smaller audiences reach the TV screens through the Internet.

The latest additions distributed to DTT households as OTT live streams by multithek are Family TV, Putpat and Further channels will follow by the end of the year, for example from the sports segment. After its launch via DTT, a version of the multithek for satellite households will go on air on Astra (19.2° East) in mid-November.

In addition to live-streams of free-to-air channels, Media Broadcast wants to include fee-based TV and video-on-demand (VOD) offerings in its multithek in future, for example documentaries. This launch is planned for Q1 2014 with payment being handled through the viewer's mobile phone bill. For reception of the multithek, a TV set or digital receiver is required that is compliant with interactive multimedia standard HbbTV and connected to the Internet.

The future of television is explored by Eutelsat in a study that GfK compiled for the satellite operator. Conventional linear television will not lose its central role in the digital media world, but the ways to access TV content will become more diverse, according to the study. Viewers will consider it as commonplace to be able to decide when, where and how they can access programmes.

KabelKiosk, Eutelsat's direct-to-cable platform, has responded to changing user habits with its multimedia portal KabelKiosk Choice which takes interactive companion services such as the TV channels' catch-up services and VOD offerings to screens. The first cable operator has already started deploying KabelKiosk Choice to its customers, with further partners to follow soon.

The next step, planned for early 2014, is the hook-up of KabelKiosk's offerings to mobile devices. Viewers can then, for example, seamlessly continue watching a movie in the bedroom that they have started on the TV set in the living room. KabelKiosk will also expand its TV line-up with the addition of five new channels to the Family HD package by the end of the year, including Sony Entertainment Television HD and Animal Planet HD.

Sky Deutschland is also eyeing the future and is planning its first live UltraHD broadcast for 2014; this is likely to be a football match from the Bundesliga. With this test run, Sky wants to gain practical experience with the new TV format which provides a resolution four times higher than the current HDTV standard. Sky subscribers won't be able to receive the transmission at home due to a lack of suitable reception devices, but the broadcaster is considering including Sky sports bars as reception locations for the test run.

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