UPC Hungary: 80% YouTube STB take-up

The percentage of available subscribers accessing YouTube via existing STBs in UPC Hungary has risen substantially to 80 per cent, according to Arpad Jordan, CTO, UPC Central and Eastern Europe.

Addressing delegates at the OTTtv World Summit in London, Jordan admitted that from previous experience, UPC expected something around 30 per cent to 40 per cent of take-up rate. “What we’ve seen is actually around 80 per cent within half a year actually have tried it. And out of those 80 per cent of customers, 80 per cent are returning customers,” he reported.

In terms of current and planned footprint, Jordan explained that the service was launched May 20 in 200,000 HD set-top boxes. “In coming months, we are about to launch in another 250,000 SD boxes. That completes the whole Hungarian install base,” he advised.

Hardware-wise, the cost was less than a Euro per set-top box. “The ‘less than Euro’ is a good number for me, because that means it’s really a very small addition. I think everybody’s a little bit afraid of ‘Yeah, you need to boost up the cloud’ or ‘You need to boost up a lot of hardware’ but that’s not really the case. You can be very efficient with this,” he suggested.

According to Jordan, the YouTube app was not envisioned as ‘value added’ in a traditional way as with a premium, monthly-charge service. “It was envisioned as part of the platform. This bundling exercise for cable has been extremely valuable and the pricing power within the bundle has been extremely valuable, so this application launch has helped us with that route just to create more value in our bundle and reduce churn and be really different from competition.,” he noted.

“I think the beauty of this solution is 200,000 set-top boxes all overnight. This is not like the usual OTT ramp up where you need to somehow distribute your devices or you need to deal with a very fragile or fragmented operating system or platform in general. This is a big ‘BOOM’ and now with 250,000 extra, we just have again an extra boost,” he added.

Jordan noted that what had been done in the cloud now with this newest browser, with the newest HTML5 video tag, was something the operator could never have done on the set-top box. “Of course, our intention with every new set-top box is to embrace the technology right on the set-top box and implement it there. We will probably do that with all of our new Western European platforms,” he suggested.

“But in two years time that technology will become legacy and …again we can use the ActiveVideo technology to augment that set-top box capability with help from the cloud. It’s like a cycle; it’s not a one-time success, but it’s a technology that can always augment, that can always extend the capabilities of any kind of set-top box, which will always be constrained in memory, CPU, with a little help from the cloud,” he advised.

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