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UK over-the-top television platform TVPlayer is to launch TVPlayer Plus, a subscription service, this summer. TVPlayer Plus will be priced from £4.99 (€7.05) per month (with no contract) and enables live streaming of 25+ premium television channels, including Lifetime, HISTORY, H2, Crime + Investigation, Gold, Alibi, Watch, Good Food, Eden, Home, Discovery Channel, TLC, ID (Investigation Discovery), Animal Planet, Discovery Turbo, British Eurosport, British Eurosport 2, National Geographic Channel, Nat Geo WILD, Sony Entertainment Television, Sony Movie Channel, Boomerang, Cartoon Network, Cartooonito and BabyTV. Additional channels are expected to be announced.
The current TVPlayer service, which offers over 55 free-to-air channels and has over 500,000 regular users, will remain free of charge, although TVPlayer Plus subscribers will benefit from an enhanced viewing experience.
TVPlayer is already available on iOS, Android, Amazon Fire TV, Mac and PC. Additional devices available at the launch of TVPlayer Plus will include selected Smart TVs, the Amazon Fire TV Stick and Google Chromecast. TVPlayer expects to announce its availability on additional Internet-connected devices later in the year, including on a prominent games console. An app for Windows Phone is also in development. UKTV channels will be limited to iOS, Android and PC.
Live video streaming is the fastest growing element of Over-The-Top (OTT) services according to the 4Q2014 FreeWheel Video Monetisation report. In addition, video ad views on first run series are up 67 per cent y-o- y, whilst viewership amongst millennials on traditional TVs, shows signs of decline, as measured by Nielsen.
TVPlayer is the first major OTT platform in the UK to combine an ad-supported basic pack with optional pay packs, with over 100 channels in total. TVPlayer expects to be a major beneficiary of the roll-out of US trends in the UK.
Adam Smith, Founder and CEO of live streaming service Simplestream, the company behind TVPlayer, noted that TVPlayer had seen significant success to date with over half a million people now watching TV over-the-top each week on its service. “Similar to what Netflix has done for movies and Spotify for music, TVPlayer Plus aims to offer a simplified viewing experience of traditional and premium television content; one which works with the devices you already have and lets you pause, modify or cancel your subscription whenever you like,” he advised.
In addition to live TV, TVPlayer Plus includes extensive catch-up functionality from selected channels allowing both subscribers and non-subscribers to view a selection of the best programmes from the previous seven days. Around 100 hours a week of catch-up will be initially available to TVPlayer Plus subscribers from Lifetime, HISTORY, H2, Crime + Investigation, Discovery Channel, TLC, ID (Investigation Discovery), Animal Planet, Discovery Turbo, British Eurosport, British Eurosport 2, National Geographic Channel, Nat Geo WILD, Sony Entertainment Television, Boomerang, Cartoon Network, Cartooonito and BabyTV. In addition, the ‘plus one’ channels will be offered. TVPlayer Plus will launch with one channel pack, with multiple genre-based channel packs to be made available later in the year.
TVPlayer is designed to replicate the traditional television viewing experience on any Internet-connected device. Utilising the latest adaptive bitrate streaming and content protection technologies, TVPlayer Plus channels can be viewed almost anywhere in the UK where a fixed, Wifi or mobile broadband connection is available, including on both 3G and 4G.
TVPlayer Plus is targeted at two distinct groups; Millennials and ‘Pay TV Holdouts’. The former has often never subscribed to a paid television service because they have not been in the position to do so. In contrast, the holdouts have consciously made the decision not to subscribe to pay-TV before. Many have children and subscribe to online services such as Netflix to supplement their core free-to-air viewing. In both cases, TVPlayer Plus aims to attract customers by offering over 100 channels on a single platform at an attractive price point.