Starting March 2011, pay DTT operator Boxer is removing additional fees for multiroom services to its subscribers in Denmark. Customers taking the multiroom option will now need to pay only a single monthly subscription fee for the pay-DTT connection with up to two extra smart cards available per household. A one-off charge will be due for each card. Subscribers to the children's package will also be able to buy two additional smart cards only giving access to these services. Free multiroom access will however not apply to premium services from Canal Plus, which continues to levy a DKr74.5 ($13.30) per month charge for viewing on additional TV sets.
Boxer will also be increasing its subscription fees by DKr10 ($1.80) per month for its Mini, Flex 8 and Mix packages - a 6-11 per cent price hike, and by DKr20 ($3.60) - an 8.5 per cent hike - for its top-tier Max bouquet. Subscribers wishing to take multiroom services will however still need to buy additional smart cards at a one off cost of DKr299 ($53) per card.
Boxer's new strategy of providing free multiroom access to its subscribers is a necessary step towards a more competitive offer, with the platform struggling to add subscribers in a mature, heavily-cabled pay TV market. Since launching at the beginning of 2009, we estimate that Boxer has added just over 65,000 subscribers. While it is too early to comment on whether Boxer's new offer will have a noticeable impact on its subscriber additions, we believe the offer will provide a twofold advantage for the DTT operator.
- Enable its services to be more competitive when compared to its pay TV competitors in the cable industry - many of whom already offer multiroom services
- Use free multiroom to justify a price increase in services, subsequently raising ARPU
- Expanding the number of screens on which its services are available on - opening up the potential for Boxer to sell additional content packages or a la carte channels to the second or third TV sets. However, given that DTT in most markets is seen as a 'pay-light' option, ARPU uplift from sale of additional packages is likely to be marginal.
Denmark's leading pay TV operator YouSee already offers free digital TV and multiroom services to its cable subscribers - an offer which it launched in September 2009, and which has been instrumental in pushing up its digital subscriber base as well as ARPUs via the sale of additional add on content packages and services.
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