In developing countries, switching from analogue to digital is not always smooth sailing.

“People have free TV. Why should they now pay $100 for a set-top box?” asked Andrew Pons, Director of Global Sales and Marketing, Exset, during the recent GS Summit ’14 in St Petersburg.

“Who pays for it? A difficult story to tell, especially when elections come up. Managing the cost in emerging markets is difficult. Digitisation has it challenges, but we offer a digital TV starter model for operators.”

Exset, a technology company founded out of General Satellite, claims to have found the answer in providing operators means to generate additional income via the STB,
Indonesia 60% watches FTA.

The company is registered in the Netherlands, and has offices in Estonia, UK, Russia, and Asia, and offers products and project management for launch of services.

“It does take a new way of thinking in managing your platform. We can add services at no extra cost to infrastructure, services that can be sold to third parties, but are managed by the operator. This is an opportunity for operators to generate new income and new revenue streams.”

Using open standards (MHEG) the Exset DMS (Digital Monetisation System) will run on sub-$20 STBs. Examples are ad insertion, banners on EPGs, red button services, push-VOD, and connecting to smart phone with QR code.

“We advise operators to make one channel available for these new services. When people switch on the TV, the STB will automatically turn on this channel and show a welcome page, which can contain an ad, both billboard-type ads and videos are possible.”

With push-VOD, the operator can offer pay-per-view movies at, say, $0.50 per title. “In many countries piracy is still rampant and people buy illegal DVDs on the market for $1 a piece. So the operator can offer an attractive legal alternative.” At the moment a test is running with One TV in Cambodia.

Another application is to show a QR code on the screen, which can be scanned by a smartphone. “In a lot of countries a lot of people don’t have internet access, but mobile is everywhere.”

With regards to red button services, Exset is currently running tests with the Russian DTH platform Tricolor.