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Sky Deutschland mulls German OTT service

Sky Deutschland is mulling the possibility of replicating the Sky Now OTT offering provided by BSkyB, although it has no current plans to launch such a service, according to a channel rep.

“We are considering that – there is no question,” said Holger Ensslin, chief officer, legal regulatory and distribution Ensslin, speaking on a strategy panel at cable and satellite trade fair ANGA COM this week. Sky Deutschland currently offers standalone day passes for football matches, including in the final phase of the Champions League.

Ensslin said that Sky would take a step into the OTT world by launching a Sky Sports News app as a standalone OTT service this summer. This would be a low-cost service, he added.

Ensslin said that Sky was already an OTT operator in its own right via Sky Go. “It’s not a standalone offer but it’s a big OTT platform,” he said. “In Q1 we had 15 million requests on our platform.”

Thomas Heise, chairman of the board of German on-demand service Maxdome, speaking on the same panel, said that his service’s biggest competitor was piracy and illegal consumption of content. Nevertheless, video-on-demand was growing quickly, he added, albeit as a niche service in comparison to pay TV services.

To become mass market services, VOD providers needed to extend reach to as many devices as possible, said Heise. “That’s the first step for stronger growth. Second is the user or customer experience,” he said. “Number three is content. If we want to sell content we something of a premium character, exclusive for a limited time or specific region, but this is something that can drive growth in the future.”

Katharina Behrends, managing director, Universal Networks International Germany, said that her company engaged in initiatives such as a video game OTT to complement one of its linear shows.

However, she said Universal was not an OTT player. “We’ll not organise our own platform but if there are new players and they protect our content [we will look at that],” she said. But she said that there currently wasn’t any obvious potential entrant that would lead Universal to consider alternatives to its existing strong relationships with distribution partners.