M7 finally shifts to DTH hybrid in Germany – 4 years on

M7 Group is planning a hybrid DTH OTT service in Germany, a story revealed in an interview with Broadband TV News. M7 acquired KabelKiosk from Eutelsat, a fiber delivered wholesaled white label TV service back in 2014, which at its height reached some 3.7 million homes in total.

At the time, M7 execs mentioned an interest in upgrading it to a full DTH (Direct to Home satellite) service in Germany, but it has taken almost 4 years for it to materialize.

M7 Group elsewhere has been a lover of the DTH model and supports services in Belgium, the Netherlands, Austria and the Czech Republic and Slovakia, with a variety of business models and channel offerings over satellite and has 3.2 million conventional pay TV customers, through Austriasat, TéléSAT Numérique, TV Vlaanderen and CS Link all using Eutelsat or SES satellite capacity.

KabelKiosk has acted as a channel aggregator for about a quarter of the independent cable companies in Germany, and also supports some OTT delivered services, mostly via the HbbTV red button service.

The new hybrid DTH-OTT service is to be called Diveo and will offer on-demand content, through a cloud-based PVR which will be delivered to both smartphones and tablets using Android/iOS apps, either via WiFi or mobile networks. The DTH element is really just the existing free satellite channels which are delivered from the SES Astra satellite plus these on demand options. It can either be picked up via a specialist set top or via a Samsung smart TV with a Conax CI card for decryption and says it will offer 50 HD channels (about 22 of which seem to be free) including the usual free-to-air German channels plus commercial broadcasters such as RTL, ProSiebenSat.1, Discovery and Viacom. Incredibly, the price will start at just €7.90 a month, rising as you add unbundled premium channels, which can be added and removed on a month by month basis.

The OTT element will offer live pause and restart, access to free to air catchup and a transaction VoD service in partnership with Videociety which offers around 5,000 movies which are past their exclusive rights in Europe – so about 18 months old at best. The nPVR will enable cloud-based recording and include 10 hours of storage capacity with paid for upgrades for more storage. In neighboring Switzerland, Swisscom has delivered a similar OTT service through a Nokia supplied cloud nPVR, but in Germany all DVRs usually have to contain separate copies of each program for each person, which must be triggered from the set top. However, it may be that M7 has negotiated VoD rights to much of this.

The set top will be installed in partnership with local chains of electronics stores and only be offered to homes which already have a satellite dish. The plan seems to be to work out how to move the entire M7 operation over to broadband, and gradually shift to this hybrid model into its other markers when appropriate.

Diveo will go straight up against the major cable operators – Vodafone, Unitymedia, Tele Columbus (now called Pyur) and Sky Deutschland.