Rostelecom Reaches 1 Million Interactive TV Residential Subscribers across Russia

Monday, July 9th, 2012 
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MOSCOW — Rostelecom OJSC (MICEX – RTS: RTKM, RTKMP; OTCQX: ROSYY), Russia’s national telecommunications operator, today announces that its Interactive TV(1) subscriber base has increased by over 40% and reached 1 million households since the beginning of the year.

Pavel Zaitsev, Vice President and Commercial Director at Rostelecom, commented: “A new platform solution has allowed us to significantly improve the functionality of our pay TV offering, which has led to substantial growth in our subscriber base. Our product has a bright future and we expect the number of our Interactive TV subscribers to increase to approximately 1.5 million by the end of the year.”

Based on a SmartLabs platform, this interactive subscription service is now available on Rostelecom’s media portal, ZABAVA.ru, as well as through a standard TV set-top box. Subscribers can start watching a film or a TV show on their TVs and continue viewing on their PCs or laptops using the ZABAVA.ru media portal. The Company is currently developing applications for Apple iOS and Android operating systems, which will enable customers to use the interactive subscription service on their tablet devices in the near future.

Based on their personal preferences, Interactive TV users can either choose one of six specially designed thematic TV packages, such as “Popular”, “Sport”, “Education”, “Music”, “Films”, and “Children”, or subscribe to as many packages as they want. The Company offers up to 180 DTV channels and 17 HD channels in the majority of the Russian regions. The basic package price starts from RUB 170 per month, which varies depending on the region and options selected by a customer.

“A user-friendly TV menu, an innovative system that recommends shows and an extensive video rental library have already contributed to a substantial increase in content viewings. This has also had a positive impact on our financial performance. Although we are still developing the product, this is already the most unique Interactive TV service currently available in the Russian TV market.” – noted Andrey Kholodny.

Andrey Kholodny, Director of the Media Products project at Rostelecom, added: “Our subscribers are going to like our carefully designed set-top box. Our video library includes new film releases and it is very easy to find your favourite show or a similar programme, record it or mark it as a favourite. The packages are conveniently designed for users, so they can watch what they like, without wasting time switching channels and searching for their desired show.”

The wide range of additional interactive services offered by Rostelecom’s Interactive TV service is a significant advantage. Users can use the record, pause and rewinding functions, use a Video-On-Demand service, as well as access a video archive. Among the additional services available is a convenient integration with social networks, which enables users to rate a film or a show they watched by simply clicking a button once and then share their opinions with friends.

The Company’s ZABAVA.ru portal has a wide selection of licensed content, including high quality videos, games, software and even karaoke. Rostelecom has multiple licence agreements with world’s largest producers and music studios, among which are Universal Studios, Warner Bros., Disney and others, which will keep the portal’s library up-to-date. Any internet user can subscribe to download books, games and music for only RUB 99 per month, giving them unlimited access to their chosen catalogue. Rostelecom’s subscribers benefit from the added convenience of being able to make purchases made through the interactive subscription service and for media content available at ZABAVA.ru. “Home Internet” and “Pay TV” tariff plan subscribers will be able to use their login details and pay for their purchases using their single account for Rostelecom services.

1. As at end of Q1 2012, the total number of Pay TV subscribers amounted to 6.0 million subscribers

Links: Rostelecom