Independent film distributor and pay TV channel owner SPI International has signed a content deal with Samsung Electronics to deliver TV and movies via Samsung Smart TVs. SPI International, which has content deals with companies such as Focus, Studio Canal, Pathé, Summit and others, will make content available on Samsung TVs through its Filmbox Live service app. The service complements SPI's array of linear channels, and will provide access to content from seven of its channels, offering over 2000 movies from SPI's library. Additionally, separate apps will provide access to content from three more branded channels - FightBox HD, FashionBox HD and DocuBox HD.
The Filmbox Live service is available in markets where the linear channels are distributed on a subscription basis in Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria and Spain, with Czech Republic and Slovakia to be added in July. We estimate that the core FilmBox channel reaches over 2.5m households across its Eastern European markets.
Striking content deals (particularly premium content deals) plays a vital role for CE manufacturers, being a differentiating feature and driver of usage of interactive services. Consumers are more interested in having services like BBC iPlayer, Maxdome, Lovefilm and similar content offers, rather than 'dog on skateboard' or TV Shop services.
Samsung has been doing well in securing a wide range of services in Western Europe (for more information see the report 'Access to online content: European consumer electronics companies get serious about enabling video services'). In terms of number of services available in Western Europe on its connected TVs, Samsung currently holds strong third place with Panasonic and Sony ahead. But while Sony and Panasonic concentrate on sheer number of deals - mostly non-premium pan-regional services, Samsung is concentrating on striking locally relevant premium content deals.
Central and Eastern Europe connected TV markets are up and coming - there is a relatively large number of TV households (135m to Western Europe's 172m), TV shipments remain strong and the number of TVs per household is rising. Overall broadband penetration in CEE is not at Western European levels yet, as some of the larger, less developed markets such as Ukraine and Belarus bring down the average, but some countries like Hungary, Slovenia, and Estonia are on par or have even higher broadband penetration than many Western European countries. Furthermore, with few local legal online content service providers in even these markets and with pay-TV VoD services undeveloped by Western European standards, it is in CE manufacturers' interests to secure deals sooner rather than later, strengthening their position at an early stage.