freenet to launch pay TV after MEDIA BROADCAST acquisition

Thursday, March 3rd, 2016
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Getting started in the TV business – freenet AG makes two important acquisitions

By making two pivotal acquisitions, freenet AG has taken one more step on the way to becoming the leading digital lifestyle provider. The company is acquiring all shares in the MEDIA BROADCAST Group, the sole commercial provider of DVB-T2 and DAB+ in Germany. In addition, freenet AG has acquired a 25 per cent stake in EXARING AG, the Munich-based provider of a closed IP platform for innovative entertainment services. Thus equipped, freenet AG will from Q3 2016 onwards be the only supplier of Full HD and 4K content on both stationary and mobile devices.

The centre of digital life is the smartphone—especially outside of our own four walls—whereas at home, the television set remains a key platform for video entertainment. In Germany, people watch TV for an average of 226 minutes per day (AGF/GfK 2016). More than 18 minutes are added to this (Forsa 2014) for digital services such as YouTube as well as paid services such as maxdome and Netflix. With its latest acquisitions, freenet AG is entering a market which may be dominated by conventional means of consumption, but is about to undergo radical change thanks to streaming services.

MEDIA BROADCAST inspires B2B and B2C business

DVB-T is currently used in more than 7 million German TV households, out of which nearly 3 million TV households using the technology via mobile devices such as DVB-T sticks and dongles. It offers the advantage of being available free of charge and of being easier to install and use than cable or satellite reception – albeit with a limited range of channels. DVB-T2 HD will fundamentally improve this situation. After starting the first phase of DVB-T2 HD already in Q2/2016, in Q1/2017 the second-generation terrestrial over-the-air transmission will offer users the full range of channels also in Full HD, supplemented by access to on-demand services by the TV channels and others. Commercial TV channels also in HD and Full HD will be offered with an access fee, changing the market environment for this technology. “The MEDIA BROADCAST group already runs a profitable B2B business via the fees of the broadcasters. By introducing paid access television services with an excellent picture quality, freenet AG is going to use its substantial trading experience to build up the new private-customer business”, said Christoph Vilanek, CEO of freenet AG.

EXARING – the closed IP platform

By acquiring a 25 per cent stake in EXARING AG, freenet AG is securing the marketing rights to this closed IP platform for innovative entertainment services. It provides the solution for all types of video entertainment. Based on its proprietary fibre-optic network, it is technically capable of reaching 23 million households in Germany. The bandwidth enables transmissions up to 8K—and even future video innovations such as virtual reality imagery and holographics/3D content can be transmitted via the network.

“The acquisition of a stake in EXARING AG and the associated marketing rights are a quantum leap for us on the way to becoming the leading digital lifestyle provider in Germany. The IP platform combines all conventional, new and future television entertainment services on an infrastructure unrivalled in Germany and at unrivalled low prices”, said Christoph Vilanek.

Set-top box and video recorder migrate to the cloud

The age of set-top boxes, hard disks and remote controls is over. It is managed with ease using an app on your smartphone or tablet PC (iOS and, from Q3 onwards, Android) together with an internet-enabled display. The full offering encompasses linear TV, video-on-demand, cloud services, recording, streaming and PC services, as well as online gaming—all cloud-based and in HD, 4K and 8K resolutions. In the B2B sector, the IPTV solutions facilitate for example new advertising formats with real-time targeting on synchronised first and second screens which, based on their IP addresses, can be controlled locally.

The new services offered by freenet AG guarantee entertainment in brilliant picture quality while simultaneously offering video entertainment on all devices without the need for complicated cablework. Users are no longer confined to their homes in consuming the content, because all of the services run on mobile and stationary devices alike.