UK pay TV broadcaster BSkyB is eyeing the launch of an in-house distribution arm as it looks to take advantage of its increased spending on original content. The News Corp-backed company is currently exploring options as to whether to acquire an existing distributor or set up a new international sales operation from scratch.A Sky source told DTVE’s sister publication TBI that such a move would help the company monetise this content, which is largely produced by UK independent producers, and would allow it to reinvest in future commissions.Sky has significantly increased its spending on British comedy and drama, with plans to spend up to £600 million (€760 million) on original content by 2014. This year, it has launched new series including fireman drama The Smoke and Charlie Brooker’s A Touch of Cloth. This move would not affect Shine International, the global sales arm of the News Corp-owned production company.
German cable operator Kabel Deutschland (KDG) has rolled its VOD service out to around 290,000 homes in Bremen, Wilhelmshaven and Wolfsburg.Households in those areas can now choose from up to 6,000 movies and TV episodes from KDG’s Select Video platform. The expanded service now reaches around 2.3 million homes.
Guillaume de PoschFree-to-air broadcasters need to “move away a bit from this advertising-funded business model into more sophisticated business model”, according to RTL Group co-CEO Guillaume de Posch.Speaking at Cable Congress in Brussels, de Posch said that the TV business is becoming more complex due to more TV channels, new online distributers like Netflix and Amazon and more devices.“We used to have broad, general entertainment channels – we need now to go nicher and nicher,” said de Posch, claiming that going niche, moving from linear to-non linear and developing new business models are three “major shifts” occurring in the TV industry.One part of RTL’s strategy that he identified was the development and investment in non-linear channels to adjust to the continuing evolution of viewing habits.De Posch said that internally, RTL had planned for around 15-20% of content consumption in three to five years to be non-linear. “Is this a disruption for us? Yes, in a way. Could it be 70%? Yes, that would be disruption and we need to hedge and get prepared for that,” said de Posch.“I would say our strongest response to non-linear television in the last two years or three years has been to heavily invest into multi-channel networks,” he added, claiming that investing in the US was a tactical move that enables RTL able to distribute web content worldwide, including back in Europe.Last November, RTL Group agreed to pay US$107 million (€85 million) to buy a controlling stake in StyleHaul – a multi-channel Youtube network dedicated to fashion, beauty and lifestyle. A year earlier, in June 2013, it invested €27 million in BroadbandTV, another leading MCN.RTL’s other investments in the digital space include its July 2014 investment in in US video advertising platform SpotXchange. RTL paid €107 million to take a 65% majority stake in the firm, claiming the deal established it as the first major broadcaster to invest in the rapidly growing market of programmatic online video advertising.De Posch said that TV firms need to look at how they can make an additional business out of targeted advertising, and how to better harness available data about customers’ profile and viewing habits.
Discovery Communications is to acquire a minority stake in a premium OTT sports service, as its push into sports content continues.RugbyPass is a digital content platform that operates across 23 Asian territories that Coliseum Sports Media launched earlier this year.Following Discovery’s investment, RugbyPass will offer its subscribers content from Discovery-owned Setanta Sports Asia.“In partnership with CSM, our investment in RugbyPass will provide sports fans with greater access to the world’s best rugby competitions, making content that they love available on more screens, when and wherever they choose to watch it,” said Arthur Bastings, president and managing director of Discovery Networks Asia Pacific.Rugby – traditionally popular in parts of Europe, Australasia and Africa – is growing in stature in Asia, with Alibaba recently closing a major content agreement with World Rugby.Discovery has become a key player in global sports content after taking control of Eurosport, buying Setanta Sports Asia in June last year, and most significantly, acquiring rights to the Olympic Games in Europe.The news comes after Discovery Networks Asia-Pacific’s executive VP and general manager – south Asia, Rahul Johr, resigned in February, with Bastings taking over his duties.