Liberty Global-owned Swiss operator UPC Cablecom has launched a multiscreen offer - called My Prime on the brink of Netflix’s expansion in Europe. The service is available to UPC Cablecom customers with Horizon and DigiCard premium bundles – Plus and Super - for no extra charge. Subscribers to basic packages, as well as non-UPC Cablecom users can subscribe to MyPrime for CHF9.95 (€8.24) a month. My Prime’s catalogue consists of selection of catalogue movies (incl. The Aviator, The King’s Speech, Pulp Fiction, La Vita e Bella, and Good Will Hunting) , full seasons of older TV series, kids programming, and documentaries.
The service will also feature UPC Cablecom’s commissioned original content - a 12-episode comedy series, Fässler-Kunz. The series will be available to subscribers via set-top boxes and online starting in December 2014.
MyPrime can be access through a set-top box and through OTT service Horizon GO on PC, tablet, and smartphone.
With Netflix’s impending launch in Switzerland and other European countries later this year, UPC Cablecom is making an effort to compete with the SVoD giant and prevent possible cord-cutting with a multiscreen offer for its current customers, as well as extending the option to subscribe to the service to all other users in Switzerland. The success of Netflix across the territories it has launched in, is forcing traditional ‘screen audience’ gatekeepers to diversify into the online field to protect their positions as main entertainment providers.
Most of the big pay TV operators in Europe have been employing value-add multiscreen options to help keep subscribers happy by providing free access to content online and on the go – BSkyB launched Sky Go in July 2011, Sky Deutschland launched its own version in April 2011, Mediaset Italia launched Premium Play in December 2011, Canal Plus in France launched Canal Plus on Demand in 2008. Canadian cable operators Rogers and Shaw recently launched SVoD service Shomi to compete with Netflix (a move not unlike UBC Cablecom’s efforts with MyPrime). For more on Shomi, see “Canadian cable giants Rogers and Shaw launch Netflix competitor, Shomi.”
Pay TV operators are increasingly diversifying their online presence further by launching standalone SVoD services available to users outside the traditional subscriber base, for a monthly fee.
To be truly competitive with Netflix, MyPrime will need to focus on its:
Netflix remains most competitive with other SVoD services with its TV content-focused catalogue, hand-picked catalogue movies, and very successful, high-quality original content - TV series and movies.
In order for MyPrime to succeed in battling Netflix and local SVOD players, UPC Cablecom will need to ensure that the MyPrime’s catalogue differentiates from Netflix in original local offerings and also compares with Netflix in offering a wide range of popular and current content - but at the same time it has to incentivise existing traditional subscribers not to cut the cord in pursuit of better value for video entertainment.
Having original content catered to local preferences is a very important positive factor in standing against Netflix. Netflix’s content strategy is based on lining-up a content offer that is tailored to countries’ local tastes. This is especially relevant as Netflix is planning to develop original German-language series in the future.
Netflix’s devices strategy is based on establishing widest coverage possible – Netflix is currently available on Roku, Xbox (360 and One), PlayStation 3 and 4, TiVo, Apple TV, Chromecast, Android, Windows, and iOS devices and online (PC). All MyPrime subscribers get access to the service on mobile devices and on PCs, but big screen experience via set-top-boxes is reserved for DigiCard and Horizon bundled users.
Granted that UPC Cablecom will provide wide selection of movies and TV series, and with a magnitude of UPC Cablecom’s brand and marketing support, MyPrime is likely to get a solid subscriber base, but it has to be careful not to undermine its traditional proposition.